Grant to help launch UAlbany E-TEC complex

Emerging technologies could soon become a focus on the east side of the University at Albany campus.

Emerging technologies could soon become a focus on the east side of the University at Albany campus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved the university’s 2020 grant proposal, which will provide $35 million in seed funding that will be used to leverage the $165 million needed to construct a 225,000-square-foot Emerging Technologies and Entrepreneurship Complex. UAlbany was the last of New York’s four university centers to receive approval for the funding, following Cuomo’s OK of the University at Buffalo’s proposal in late October.

UAlbany President George Philip lauded Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher for bringing the proposal to fruition. He said the proposed research and development complex — also referred to as E-TEC — will allow UAlbany to hire more faculty and increase its research funding.

“The E-TEC research and development complex will serve as an innovation center designed to harness UAlbany’s capacity in emerging technologies by accelerating cooperative research and development, technology transfer, business development, and workforce training,” he said in a statement released Friday. “[The grant] provides a tremendous opportunity for New York state to become a national leader in converting its research capacity into sustainable economic impact.”

UAlbany officials anticipate using $42 million of capital funding already in their budget for the new center, then financing an additional $88 million. Construction of the project in what is now the parking lot by the life sciences building would begin in 2013 and be completed in 2017, according to a presentation given by the university in September.

The project would create 1,587 constructions jobs, plus 735 permanent university jobs, officials estimate. Among the permanent jobs are 187 faculty positions, 355 research workers and 193 support staff.

The new building would house the Office of Entrepreneurial and Commercialization Services, UAlbany’s Small Business Development and the University’s Technology Transfer Office. Philip previously touted it as a place where laboratory innovations could be transferred into practical applications.

The project would help the university grow its enrollment by 1,350 students over a five-year period, over the current 18,000. And it would also qualify UAlbany for federal grants that could amount to upward of $110 million.

The approved proposal was UAlbany’s response to Cuomo’s call for projects as part of the SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant. This initiative passed last year called for the state’s four university centers to develop plans that will allow each to receive $35 million in grant funding.

Stony Brook University was the first to receive Cuomo’s approval in December 2011. Binghamton University’s proposal was approved eight months later.

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