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University R&D, Tech Big Winners in Competing NY Proposals

January 05, 2001

Whether it is proposal A, proposal B, or some combination of A and B, university research and development efforts in New York stand to gain an additional $40-50 million per year for the next five years. The new funding would be in addition to the $135 million injection of state funding directed toward university research excellence through the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR). While both proposals focus heavily on university research, the initiatives vary substantially.

Generating Employment through New York Science (GEN-NY-SIS, for short), targets biotechnology and was unveiled by Senator Majority Leader Joseph Bruno in the middle of December. The five-year plan calls for $225 million in new public programs and $45 million in tax credits directed toward biotechnology and life science research and commercialization. Industry and federal funding is expected to match the state's investment, which would be allocated as follows:

  • $147 million for basic research matching grants to assist universities and institutions in attracting and retaining researchers and investigators, provide funding for new laboratory construction and expansion, and state-of-the-art equipment.
  • $3 million to create a new "James D. Watson Young Investigators Program" to reward and encourage innovation by new New York-based Ph.D.'s. Each investigator could receive up to $250,000 to fund research. The program would be administered by NYSTAR.
  • $75 million for a new Life Sciences Business Development Program to assist new industry in obtaining buildings and equipment, workforce training, and working capital. Additionally, GEN-NY-SIS funds would assist in the creation of "biotech business parks." The program would be administered jointly by NYSTAR and the Empire State Development Corp.
  • $45 million in targeted tax credits including creation of special tax benefit "life science development zones," more than doubling the existing Research and Development Tax Credits to 20 percent and providing increased wage and tax credits for biotech industry employers.
  • $5 million would be divided between Empire State Development Corp and NYSTAR for administrative costs and the creation of a high-technology business staff to aid new biotech businesses through regulatory processes, as well as provide information on all forms of state assistance including tax credits and grants. Additionally, funding would be provided for activities related to publicizing New York's new commitment to biotech.

The second proposal, outlined briefly by Governor George E. Pataki in his State of the State Address on Wednesday, calls for $283 million of state funding over the next five years for the further development of three university-based Centers of Excellence (Bioinformatics in Buffalo, Photonics & Optoelectronics in Rochester, and Nanoelectronics in Albany) and the creation of two new centers of excellence, in New York City for medical research, and on Long Island for software development and information technology.

The Governor's plan was developed to provide resources to translate innovations developed through NYSTAR's current $102.5 million Strategically Targeted Academic Research investments into new products, businesses and jobs. The proposal also would support the construction of technology-related incubators.

Governor Pataki anticipates the state's $283 million investment would be leveraged 3:1 by industry and federal funding. More information on Governor Pataki's proposal can be found at: http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/year01/jan03_3_01.htm

New York