COLUMN: Investment in innovation pays off with job dividends

— SU is also home to a Center for Excellence, which receives state funds through Empire State Development. There are five Centers of Excellence across the state. Each center is located at a university and has its specific area of focus. One in Albany focuses on nanotechnology. One in Binghamton focuses on microelectronics research and development. In Buffalo, the center focuses on drug design research, computational and three-dimensional visualization, product commercialization and workforce training. Stony Brook specializes in wireless and information technology. The one in Syracuse focuses on energy, indoor air quality, comfort, lighting, acoustics and intelligent controls.

Many businesses have benefited and created jobs thanks to these partnerships with NYSTAR and the Centers of Excellence. Ephesus Technologies, LLC., of Syracuse, is just one. They have collaborated with Electrical and Computer Engineering through Cornell's Jumpstart program, also funded by NYSTAR, to design an advanced radio frequency amplifier.

A company called Innovative Dynamics is developing a new type of silicone rubber tape that will have military applications. They too have worked with Jumpstart. Another company called MicroGen Systems LLC, of Ithaca and Cornell's University's Energy Materials Center (emc2), are working to develop self-charging batteries that use background shaking and stirring for their energy source. This is exciting invention when virtually everyone has a rechargeable device.

In December, the state announced $738 million has been awarded through round two of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The Regional Councils were put in place in 2011 to redesign the state's approach to economic development. While this is separate than NYSTAR, it deserves mentioning because it falls under our state's Economic Development Council. The Regional Council partners community, business and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans tailored to each region's strengths and resources in order create jobs and support economic growth. The Central New York region received $93.8 million for 73 projects, which include support of energy, tourism, food processing and housing and healthcare projects.

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