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Second round of SUNY 2020 Challenge Grants awarded

A group of central New York public colleges is among the winners of the governor's second round of the SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program.

The state's College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Upstate Medical University and Onondaga Community College in Syracuse and SUNY Oswego teamed up for the program.

They were awarded $15 million to start an institute of environmental health and medicine.According to the award notice, the institute will focus on the intersection between medicine, environment, engineering, entrepreneurship, technology and education. It will have a focus on improving health through understanding the environment's impact on health and medicine.

The regional and cross-campus collaboration for the project was important, says Upstate Medical University president Dr. David Smith.

"This is not just about one city, it really is a regional approach to this broad area of need called environment and human health and specifically its relationship to only individuals but work sites and others," Smith said.

He says they aim to award a number of patents and create new startups in the early years of the program. The institute estimates it will create 651 permanent jobs, mostly in the wireless technology field.

"I think we’re going to be able to see spin off in a variety of areas, not just on the individual’s health, work side heath, but also in collaboratives with issues such as agribusiness," he said.

The SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program was started two years ago with major grants going to the SUNY system’s flagship campuses in Buffalo, Albany, Binghamton and Stony Brook.

For the second round, four projects won $15 million dollar grants. The winners are:

  • NYS Bioenergy Learning Collaborative: SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill; SUNY College of Technology at Delhi; and SUNY College of Agriculture at Morrisville.
  • SUNY Institute of Environmental Health and Environmental Medicine: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; SUNY Upstate Medical University; SUNY Oswego; Onondaga Community College
  • SUNY Manufacturing Alliance for Research and Technology Transfer: SUNY Institute of Technology; Ulster Community College; Dutchess Community College; Rockland Community College; Orange Community College; Westchester Community College; Mohawk Valley Community College; Herkimer Community College; and Morrisville State College.
  • Retooling the Southern Tier: Alfred State; Broome Community College; Corning Community College; Jamestown Community College

Each campus will build new facilities, develop training programs, and add or expand academic programs, according to the governor's office.
Smith says the money the central New York schools won will be split evenly between the four campuses.

WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail
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