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UAlbany and RPI Share High-Tech Research Award
By Vinny Reda
Gov. George E. Pataki announced March 14 that the University at Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have won a national competition, along with Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) and the Georgia Institute of Technology, for re-designation as the prestigious National Interconnect Focus Center by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and top semi-conductor equipment suppliers.

This re-designation, bolstered by the state’s commitment to fund the Focus Center at $5 million annually, is a key step in the effort to attract semiconductor manufacturers and other hi-tech companies, and will result in a total $45 million investment in New York State over the next three years.

“This award makes clear that New York’s investments in academic research are paying off and making our state a national powerhouse in high-tech research and economic development,” Pataki said.

“We’ve made huge gains in our efforts to attract high-tech investment and jobs to New York, including IBM’s new $2.5 billion investment to build a chip fab plant in the Hudson Valley.” The governor said the announcement not only provides further proof of the state’s tremendous progress, but also helps to advance the goals of his $1 billion Centers of Excellence plan.

John E. Kelly III, senior vice president and technology group executive at IBM and chairman of the SIA Board of Directors, said, “This designation is a clear symbol of New York’s excellent standing in the high-technology business community, primarily as a result of the critical R&D and economic investments provided by New York State’s governor and legislative leaders. These investments, as reinforced by the recently announced Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics at UAlbany, have ensured that New York universities are nationally recognized in this critical field. We at IBM are excited about the opportunity to continue building and expanding our technical, educational, and business relationship with New York schools.”

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, “This re-designation will further enhance the Capital Region’s reputation as a center for high-technology research and economic development. New York State is fast becoming a nationwide leader in cutting-edge high-tech research. Programs such as Jobs 2000 are helping to turn that research into new jobs and a stronger economy.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “The Assembly’s investment in nano-electronics has led to national recognition of the University at Albany and the state through this prestigious industry designation. It demonstrates how nanoelectronics will lead to thousands of high-tech jobs for New York State by supporting system-on-a-chip used in energy, bio- and opto-electronics and environmental health applications.”

The university-based Focus Center initiative is jointly sponsored by the SIA, the semiconductor equipment suppliers, and DARPA. It establishes a network of the nation’s most prestigious universities to conduct visionary research to develop the nanoelectronics technologies necessary to the future of the U.S. chip industry.

UAlbany and RPI will participate as Focus Center-New York, a partnership headquartered at the Center for Environmental Sciences and Technology Management (CESTM) at UAlbany. The combined SIA, semiconductor equipment suppliers, DARPA, New York State, and industry funding for the FC-NY is predicted to be more than $45 million over the next three years.

By manipulating and shaping nanometer-size (1/100,000 the size of a single human hair) transistors, devices, and interconnects at the molecular level, nanoelectronics offers the potential to produce computer chips with unmatched speed and capacity.

Interconnects are the complex signal-carrying wirings in the computer chip and are universally recognized as the primary technology driver in chip speed and performance. The resulting computer chips will be critical in efforts such as artificial intelligence, ultra-high-speed telecommunications, smart sensors for energy and the environment, and “biochips.”

Alain E. Kaloyeros, professor of physics and executive director of the UAlbany Institute for Materials, is also the executive director of FC-NY. Timothy S. Cale, professor of chemical engineering at RPI, will direct the Rensselaer portion of FC-NY.

The SIA, semiconductor equipment suppliers, and DARPA also announced that UAlbany and RPI, as well as Cornell and Columbia, will also participate in two newly designated Focus Centers. Under these additional programs, the four New York universities are projected to receive another $3 million over the next three years to conduct complementary research in related computer chip areas of materials, structures, systems, and software.

UAlbany President Karen R. Hitchcock said, “We are very excited about the research, educational, and economic opportunities that it provides to our faculty, students, industrial partners, and New York State. Focus Center-New York is uniquely positioned to advance the state’s technological and economical stature in the high-tech world of nanoelectronics. We are grateful for the proactive leadership, bold vision, and continued commitments by Governor Pataki, Majority Leader Bruno and Speaker Silver. We look forward to working with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and all team members to make this initiative a resounding success.”

University Vice President for Research Christopher D’Elia said, “Given the excellence in the Focus Center’s past performance, this re-designation does not come as a particular surprise. Nonetheless, we are very happy to have a formal affirmation of the center’s achievement.”

Shirley A. Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said, “As the semiconductor industry faces intense technical challenges, it is very gratifying to know the value being placed on the important research being done at Rensselaer and the University at Albany. The critical investment by New York State in our research serves to catalyze this partnership, and ensures that New York will reap the economic benefits resulting from this industry’s tremendous growth.”

As part of his 2001-02 Executive Budget, Pataki has proposed an unprecedented $1 billion Hi-Tech, Biotechnology Centers of Excellence Plan that will combine the resources of New York’s private sector, as well as its outstanding colleges and universities, in a unique public and private sector partnership designed to make the state an international leader in high-tech and biotechnology.

Since 1995, New York State has fostered the growth of its high-tech and bio-tech industries by investing more than $730 million in the technology business sector and its world-class research laboratories and academic centers. In 1999, the state established the Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) to foster high technology research and development in New York. A central element of NYSTAR’s mission is the recognition that the state’s world-class public and private research institutions are powerful economic engines.

Among the major new investments in high-tech research and economic development that have been made since 1995 are the following:

  • $117 million in program funds administered by NYSTAR to promote the development and commercialization of high technology and biotechnology innovations in New York.
  • $280 million to increase the availability of venture capital for emerging businesses.
  • $80 million to support 14 Centers for Advanced Technology, which conduct leading edge research in order to develop commercial applications.
  • $27.5 million to support construction of a 300-millimeter computer wafer pilot prototyping facility at UAlbany’s Center for Environmental Sciences and Technology Management.

UAlbany, RPI Join National Network of Clean Energy Incubators
By Greta Petry
The University at Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy have been selected to join a national network of business incubators devoted to accelerating the development of energy-related start-up firms.

They have been chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to join its National Alliance of Clean Energy Business Incubators. The two institutions are seeking to leverage $1 million each in federal funding for the joint incubator program.

When CESTM II, the planned new wing of the Center for Environmental Sciences and Technology Management on Fuller Road, is completed, UAlbany’s Institute for Materials (UAIM) will expand the existing space for the incubator currently housing four energy and environmental companies. RPI will expand its business support for clean energy start-up companies in its incubator program.

“This strategic partnership between UAlbany and RPI builds upon the momentum we have achieved, thanks to the New York State Assembly’s support for the Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center (E˛TAC) over the last three years,” said Michael Fancher, director of economic outreach for UAIM. “Thanks to the proactive leadership and unwavering support of Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Paul Tonko, chair of the Energy Committee, we receive half a million dollars in base funding per year to accelerate the development of energy and environmental technologies.” The center’s mission is to accelerate the insertion of microelectronics-based technology into energy and environmental applications by developing the technology along with the markets and the businesses.

“We believe strongly in high-tech involvement,” Tonko said. The Capital Region “has a rich history in energy technology development,” and by leveraging the national incubator program, renewable energy companies here can grow, he said.

The alliance combines the technology development capabilities of UAIM and NREL with a network of seven business incubators, supported by venture capitalists and energy industry leaders, to provide business and financial services to clean energy entrepreneurs.

“Our goal is to work toward economic growth, enhanced energy reliability and security, and mitigation of energy’s impact on the environment,” said Lawrence Murphy, NREL’s manager of Enterprise Development Programs, who has been instrumental in developing the incubator alliance. “We can do that by helping companies succeed.”

As part of the alliance, UAlbany and RPI will help companies working on a broad range of clean energy technologies. These include solar, wind, geothermal, microturbine, fuel cell, power storage, power electronics, quality and energy efficiency, and alternative fuels. They and other incubators in the network will link technology companies with a network of investors, energy experts, and industry leaders who can provide mentoring, financing, and introductions to the global energy community.

Nancy Floyd, a founding partner of Nth Power, a venture capital company that is part of the network, said, “The energy technology sector is one of the better performers. Venture investment has gone from $400 million in 1999 to more than $1 billion in 2000.”

As part of deregulation of utilities, an independent environmental market is developing which includes all types of energy technologies. With the commercialization of these technologies, firms are struggling with key issues. The strategy is to develop a network of business incubators around the country that focus on unique technologies to meet the business and financial needs of these companies.

Fancher said, “They selected the best incubators in the country to participate in this. Look at where the semiconductor industry is located; it happens to be in San Jose, Calif., Austin, Texas, Boston, Mass., Atlanta, Ga., and Albany, N.Y. UAIM’s participation highlights the rising importance the nanoelectronics and microelectronics technology is playing in the energy and environmental industries.”

Alain E. Kaloyeros, executive director of UAIM, said that the dramatic increase in the research, development, and manufacturing costs of emerging computer chips has made the availability of high-quality, reliable, and cost effective power an essential ingredient in the selection of sites for locating multibillion dollar ChipFabs. He also stated that the IT-driven transformation from analog to high-speed digital telecommunications, and the Internet-driven cultural transition from voice to data-based telecommunications infrastructure, have mandated the need for portable, durable, and inexpensive energy sources. The latter are needed as a critical enabler in pervasive computing, artificial intelligence, ultra-high speed data processing, and real-time sensing devices that are directly interfaced with human organs and sensory functions. He emphasized that the coupling of the advanced research programs underway at UAIM in the area of energy with the designation as a clean energy incubator will uniquely position UAlbany to act as a world leader in the development and commercialization of energy-related technologies of the 21st century.

Bowman Elected to Board of Regents
By Greta Petry
Joseph E. Bowman, Jr., an assistant professor in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Theory and Practice and director of the Center for Urban Youth and Technology, was elected on March 13 to the state Board of Regents.

The board is responsible for setting educational policy in New York and overseeing the state Education Department.

Bowman replaces Eleanor Bartlett of Albany, who left the board to become principal of the New Covenant Charter School in Albany. Bowman earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees from UAlbany in 1972, 1974, and 1975, respectively, and a Doctor of Education from Teachers’ College, Columbia University in 1991.

“I am honored to be selected to the Board of Regents for New York state. I will take this position seriously and will continue to support the educational system, putting the needs of children across the state as my first priority,” Bowman said.

He has long been active in the Capital Region in finding ways to strengthen the high-tech training of middle and high school students from urban schools. As head of the Science Technology Entry Program (STEP), Bowman runs afterschool instruction for students at Livingston and Hackett middle schools in the use of the Web, multi-media CD-ROM technology, video production, and desk-top publishing.

At UAlbany, he has taught video production, Web page design, and a seminar in technology and education. Through the SUNY Learning Network, he has taught popular on-line courses for the master’s degree program in curriculum development and instructional technology.

Bowman, 50, was one of four regents elected by the Legislature. The others are Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez of the Bronx, Merryl Tisch of New York City, and Anthony Bottar of North Syracuse.

As they have in recent years, Republican senators protested the vote, because regents are elected by the full 211-member Legislature. Assemblymen outnumber senators by 150 to 61.

Bowman, who was once an EOP student at UAlbany, said he will be an advocate for state-funded programs for students of color like those that supported his educational success.

He is a board member of the Hamilton Hill Arts Center in Schenectady, a percussionist with the Umoja African Dancers and Drummers of Schenectady, and a member of 100 Black Men.

UAlbany’s Mumford Center Finds Segregation Persisting in New York State
By Vinny Reda
While an increasing number of citizens from minority groups moved out of New York’s cities into the suburbs over the last decade, the 2000 Census indicates that whites were no more likely to be living close to them in their new localities than they had been in the cities.

These are among the latest findings of data analysis by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research at the University at Albany, which is interpreting segregation patterns from the 2000 Census.

“The persistence of segregation in the cities and suburbs of New York State is as strong or stronger between whites and blacks as it was 10 years ago, and even stronger between whites and Hispanics, and whites and Asian-Americans,” said Distinguished Professor of Sociology John Logan, director of the Mumford Center.

Logan noted that non-Hispanic whites are “even moving out of the primary New York City suburbs of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties. In the meantime, there has been rapid minority growth in these suburbs, particularly in the Hispanic and Asian-American populations.”

Logan and his team at the Mumford Center have been tracking 2000 Census data for segregation patterns as it has been made available. His findings that blacks and whites are not integrating more despite increases in the black middle class over the last decade was featured recently in the Christian Science Monitor. In addition, USA Today featured Logan’s findings that growth in U.S. diversity has not meant a decrease in segregation.

“What we are concentrating on is relating overall ‘diversity’ to the quality of relationships among groups in this diverse system,” said Logan. “I think residential segregation is a very good indicator of that quality.”

In analyzing upstate New York, Logan noted the 5 to 10 percent decrease in population among cities overall, and the larger Hispanic and Asian-American populations in all metropolitan areas of New York. But, he said, “the segregation level here too is not changing much - even despite the suburbanization of minorities everywhere.”

In some regions, said Logan, even the movement of African-Americans to the suburbs has been slow. In the Albany-Schenectady-Troy region’s suburbs, for instance, the black population only increased from 10,000 to 12,000 since 1990, despite overall black population in the region climbing from 40,000 to 56,000.

As with a majority of the more than 145 metropolitan regions that the Mumford Center has studied from across the nation so far, Asian-Americans and Hispanics in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy region appear to be living apart from whites to a greater degree than 10 years ago.

Results from the Mumford Center study, including summaries of overall trends and the analyses for individual metropolitan regions, can be viewed through the Mumford Center’s Web site, http://www.albany.edu/mumford/census, and can be downloaded as Excell spreadsheets.

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