Press Release

Standing at Syracuse Center of Excellence, Gillibrand Announces Bill to Spur the Growth of New Science and Technology Jobs in Central New York

Oct 24, 2012

Syracuse, NY – After touring the Syracuse Center for Excellence, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, joined by Executive Director of Syracuse Center of Excellence Edward Bogucz, President of Ephesus Technologies Joe Casper, and Assemblyman William Magnarelli, today announced legislation to spur the growth of new science and technology jobs in Central New York and across the country. The America Innovates Act would help scientists and researchers secure valuable resources and training to turn new discoveries into marketable products, new high-tech companies, and jobs.

“New York is home to some of the world’s brightest minds and best ideas to grow our economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This common-sense legislation will help develop scientific breakthroughs into cutting edge businesses and new jobs. Providing our scientists and students with practical business skills will go a long way towards creating high-tech industries and building the next generation of innovative leaders. This is the future of our economy, and we need to make sure it starts right here in Central New York.” 

“Our region is fortunate to have so many world class research universities,” said County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  “The America Innovates Act would help turn ideas into products and very importantly provides resources that will attract private companies to participate as well. Thank you, Senator Gillibrand, for coming to Onondaga County to make this announcement.” 

Assemblyman William Magnarelli said, “I applaud the efforts of Senator Gillibrand in championing the America Innovates Act.  It is vital for the growth of the New York economy that we support technology and research commercialization funding at the federal level.  This legislation would greatly aid the efforts we have been making in state government to help our universities and researchers take scientific discoveries and turn them into marketable new products.  It’s these new discoveries and products that will create future good paying jobs in New York.”

“We applaud Senator Gillibrand for her commitment to supporting New York State’s high tech innovators – on our campuses and in our companies – and for her continuing efforts to accelerate the flow of innovations from the research lab to the market,” said Ed Bogucz, Executive Director of SyracuseCoE, “SyracuseCoE and its collaborators from all across New York State are enthusiastic about the America Innovates Act and appreciative of the Senator’s leadership.” 

Mary Ann Tyszko, Syracuse University Vice President for Strategic Business Development and Innovation, said, “University research is largely untapped.  Having an ecosystem that maximizes the ability to leverage university research to produce marketable products and companies can have the biggest single positive impact on our economy, locally and nationally.  Senator Gillibrand gets it.  The ‘America Innovates Act’ targets funds and support where it is most needed and will have the greatest long-term impact on human capital.  Funds for training, proof of concept, and commercialization are exactly what is needed to foster an innovation economy and grow jobs.” 

Joe Casper, President, Ephesus Technologies, said, “Senator Gillibrand’s support of technological research and high tech job growth through the America Innovates Act is extremely beneficial to the NY state economy.  Ephesus Technologies, and other early growth tech businesses in New York State, will benefit from the added emphasis on technological and scientific research done in the academic arena, because the graduates will be better prepared to make meaningful contributions to our products right away, and also because the economy and environment will benefit from more innovations and tech start-ups.” 

“As an innovative and growing company in Upstate New York, we appreciate the support of our U.S. Senators – support that has been critical to our growth prospects.  As our company continues to grow on the cutting edge of green technology in the HVAC industry, we value efforts to build the pool of talented, experienced engineers and manufacturing professionals in this region,” said Edward J Campagna, Vice President of Operations for NuClimate Air Quality Systems, Inc

There are often few resources available to help university and other researchers across the country translate their scientific discoveries into marketable products and companies. Many of our nation’s scientists also do not receive the training needed to launch their theoretical breakthroughs into commercial, entrepreneurial successes, causing a gap between scientific research and useful products for people, new businesses, and jobs. Critical discoveries, such as the laser beam, took years to develop into part of an everyday product like the barcode scanner. 

The America Innovates Act would spur growth of high-tech jobs in Central New York and across the nation by making capital available for innovators and by training students to turn their discoveries into products, companies, and jobs.  The bill would create an “American Innovation Bank” to help universities and other research institutions establish and grow the development and commercialization of initial discoveries, making potential products more attractive to state, local and private investment.

Under this funding stream, universities would be able to create or strengthen their “proof of concept” funds, aimed to help researchers prove that their research can be practically and concretely used.  Once proved practically, investors are much more likely interested in risking capital on the commercialization of research, thereby increasing the chances that the idea would turn into a new business or create new jobs at an existing company.

Universities and other institutions would be able to use grants to hire additional staff for specific experiments, purchase testing equipment, test products in an industrial setting, clinical development, access expert advice in business strategy and patent and regulatory laws. Funds could also be used to build business incubators or other facilities that would support researchers.

To help build the next generation of innovative leaders, this legislation would also provide business training for graduate students in science, training students in intellectual property protection, commercialization and product development. Under this bill, existing scientific student programs, such as  those offered at Syracuse University’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science and other graduate programs at SU, SUNY ESF and other SyracuseCoE partner institutions, would be expanded to allow students to advance new scientific discoveries and technologies for commercialization. Universities would also be encouraged to develop professional science masters programs and graduate degrees that will provide students with the skills they need to pursue careers in industry.

Dedicated to helping new innovative companies grow, Senator Gillibrand praised the Syracuse Center of Excellence for serving as a model for universities and research institutions to help turn basic science discoveries into products. SyracuseCoE has a long track record in research collaboration with industry and fostering the exchange of ideas across various disciplines and schools.  Together with its industry collaborations partner, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity, SyracuseCoE works to accelerate the commercialization of discovery-based innovations and provides essential training and support to start-up firms to assure intellectual property protection, engage consultants and mentors, prepare formal business plans and complete of prototypes.  Though its Commercialization Assistance Program (CAP), established by the SyracuseCoE in partnership with CenterState CEO and Empire State Development, SyracuseCoE has awarded more than $1 million to 26 upstate companies for projects that have commercialized new clean tech products and services, and created or retained more than 152 green jobs in New York State. Regional companies that have benefited from CAP grants include: OrthoSystems, Air Innovations, Ephesus Technologies, NuClimate Air Quality Systems, O’Brien & Gere, Taitem Engineering, Galson Laboratories, Rupprecht & Patashnick, Double A Willow, Isolation Sciences, Greenview Energy Management Systems, Rapid Cure Technologies, VentoTek, Widetronix Semiconductors, e2e Materials, Synex Controls, Synairco and Orthogonal. 

Syracuse Center of Excellence engages collaborators at more than 200 companies and institutions to address global challenges in clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality, and water resources. Its members conduct targeted research, demonstrate new technologies, commercialize innovations, and educate the workforce.