February 20, 2011

Research Foundation of State University Of New York Reaches 60th Anniversary

By: by Peter Taubkin, Research Foundation


Albany, NY - The Research Foundation of State University of New York today marked 60 Years of Supporting SUNY research.

Established in 1951, "to assist in developing and increasing the facilities of State University of New York to provide more extensive educational opportunities for and service to its students, faculty, staff and alumni, and to the people of the State of New York," the Research Foundation has advanced to become the largest most comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country.

"Congratulations to the Research Foundation on reaching this milestone of longevity and success," said State University of New York Chancellor and Research Foundation Board of Directors' Chair Nancy L. Zimpher. "Innovation is the foundation for the 21st century jobs New York State needs to be the economic leader it must be. The Research Foundation's role in supporting SUNY in our mission to revitalize the Empire State is more critical than ever. With the RF, we will continue to assemble the assets needed to move New York forward. With the RF and SUNY strategic goals clearly aligned, the Research Foundation serves as a key driver of the economic engine that is SUNY."

"60 years ago the Research Foundation was established to serve SUNY, and 60 years later we're doing just that," said John J. O'Connor, President and CEO of the Research Foundation and Senior Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation for SUNY. "With challenges and opportunities having increased at an exponential rate, we remain true to our mission to receive, hold and administer grants, and to finance the conduct of studies and research in any and all fields of the arts and sciences in keeping with the educational purposes of SUNY."

In 1951, the Research Foundation signed its first contract for $32,000 to support research on wood processing and paper-making at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). Today, the Research Foundation supports over $1 billion in SUNY research activity annually and is a major player in the development of entrepreneurial activity and economic development across New York State. Examples of university-indus┬Čtry-government partnerships facilitated by the Research Foundation include:

  • College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at University at Albany (CNSE) - through the creation of Fuller Road Management Corp, the Research Foundation helped facilitate the construction of CNSE's $7 billion Albany NanoTech Complex that employs over 2,500 world-class scientists, researchers, engineers, faculty and students; has more than 250 global corporate partners; and is the most advanced research enterprise of its kind at any university in the world.

"The Research Foundation has established itself as a flexible, proactive, and innovative partner that is playing a critical role in facilitating CNSE's 21st century model for public-private partnerships in the ever-expanding nanotechnology field," CNSE Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros said. "I congratulate president and CEO John J. O'Connor for directing and guiding the RF to be responsive and creative in its advocacy and support for the academic and business needs of its stakeholders, while ensuring compliance and accountability."

  • SUNYIT - In partnership with the SUNYIT Foundation, the Research Foundation formed Fort Schuyler Management Corporation (FSMC) as a private, not-for-profit corporation to facilitate the construction of a nanotechnology and semiconductor development and manufacturing facility adjacent to the SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome (SUNYIT) campus. This endeavor will expand the growth of Albany's nanotechnology and semiconductor research and development cluster to the Mohawk Valley with the support of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany.

"The Research Foundation has expanded our ability to develop and support a robust research agenda, giving us greater capacity to enrich the academic community of SUNYIT students and faculty," said Bjong Wolf Yeigh, President of SUNYIT. "The RF's expertise and guidance has made possible SUNYIT's nanotechnology partnership with CNSE, an effort that will boost regional economic development while benefiting our students and faculty."

  • CUBRC, Inc. - Formed in 1983, CUBRC was the first partnership created by the Research Foundation. Today CUBRC is home to a wide range of programs including aeronautics, chemical and bio defense and materials science. With nearly $40MM/year in expenditures, CUBRC is the only location affiliated with the State University which has a classified Department of Defense clearance.
  • Buffalo 2020 Development Corporation - Buffalo 2020 was created by the RF and the University at Buffalo Foundation to facilitate a partnership with Kaleida Health in order to develop the combined Global Vascular Institute/Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) in downtown Buffalo. The UB CTRC upper part of the 10 story building will provide a dedicated state-of-the-art facility for health science faculty to conduct clinical and translation research "bench to bedside." In addition to the CTRC, Buffalo 2020 will also develop a biosciences incubator facility to house new companies seeking to commercialize the innovations developed by UB faculty and other users of the CTRC facility.

"The experience and expertise in creating and fostering public/private partnerships brought to bear by our colleagues at the Research Foundation has allowed this unique project to come to fruition" said David L. Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Health Sciences at the University at Buffalo and President of Buffalo 2020 Development Corporation. "Their ability to provide sound advice and guidance in a collaborative fashion, coupled with their knowledge of the entire gamut of research programs across the SUNY system has been invaluable."

  • BioBAT/Downstate Technology Center, Inc (DTCI) - These two organizations were formed by the Research Foundation to support the continuing growth of the biotechnology and life sciences research and innovation programs taking place at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. DTCI is home to several early stage companies seeking to change the face of medicine by further developing and commercializing life-changing therapeutics. Upon completion, BioBAT, a partnership with the city of New York currently funded at over $40MM, will provide over 400,000 square feet of bioscience research and development space which will further expand the innovation capacity of the Borough of Brooklyn and the City and State of New York.

The Research Foundation is a centerpiece to effective public/private partnerships that create business incubators, centers of excellence, centers for advanced technology and other collaborative research ventures that populate New York's economical development regions.

And there's more to come. The RF recently announced the creation of a Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) to initiate more entrepreneurial activity across the state.

At the core of this activity and the SUNY research community are the research sponsors and the SUNY faculty and students who translate their expert research into innovation and invention. Examples of familiar SUNY discovery and invention include: nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); the supermarket bar code scanner; timelapse photography of forestry subjects; isolation of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, the first implantable heart pacemaker, and many others.

"The Research Foundation's customers are the sponsoring agencies of the research grants we receive," said Dr. John H. Marburger III, Vice President for Research and Professor of Physics at Stony Brook University. "They demand accountability and expensive and detailed regulatory compliance. The RF helps SUNY research faculty effectively serve sponsors by providing an infrastructure of support that allows researchers to dedicate their time to research."

"As the beneficiary of the Research Foundation's work on its very first contract, this milestone has particular significance at our campus," said Distinguished Professor and Director of Council on Hydrologic Systems Science at ESF and Research Foundation Board of Directors' Vice Chair, Dr. Myron J. Mitchell. "SUNY students are prime beneficiaries of the work of the Research Foundation. There is a direct link between the Research Foundation's capabilities to provide key resources to campuses and faculty and the ability for students to receive quality instruction while working side by side with faculty on sponsored program research."