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Cornell president calls for NYS to partner with universities

David Skorton, president of Cornell, says universities and colleges could do more to foster economic growth in NYS.
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David Skorton, president of Cornell, says universities and colleges could do more to foster economic growth in NYS.

Universities are key link for economy
Cornell University president David Skorton has an editorial in the Post-Standard this weekend, in which he argues that the state's colleges are its best asset for economic growth:

As New Yorkers, we need to create an “innovation ecosystem” to improve the state’s economic environment, which our new governor has labeled as “hostile” to business. The higher education and business communities — working together — must play a large role in the process of economic growth, as recommended in 2009 by the gubernatorial Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships, which I was honored to chair. Comprising leaders of New York-based companies, academic institutions and venture investors, the task force called for lowering the barriers that separate researchers, entrepreneurs and capital to facilitate the process of moving new ideas from campus laboratories to the marketplace.

Skorton points out that New York has plenty of "raw material" - a smart workforce, R&D facilities, and Wall Street money. But that's not driving the engine the way it is in California. To remedy that, Skorton recommends more aggressive connections between universities and new businesses (though the use of incubators might not be the wisest tact, as the Innovation Trail's Emma Jacobs has reported).


Fracking on state land?

Hydrofracking could happen on state forest land, reports the Press & Sun-Bulletin. New York's "strategic plan for state forest management" includes language that would allow drilling after public hearings:


A determination on allowing high-volume hydrofracking on forest land, however, will be made after both the DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency complete their reviews of the gas stimulation technique, which involves the use of high-pressure, chemical-laced water to unlock natural gas from tight shale formations. The DEC will issue a second draft of its permitting guidelines for fracking in the beginning of June; the EPA study is expected to take at least two years before initial results are released.

Wind power

NYSERDA's small scale wind program has given out approximately $41,000 a pieceto people seeking grants to install wind power on their home or farm. The Buffalo News reports:


Jody Duggan-Lay of Pavilion in Wyoming County and her husband paid about $25,000 for the wind turbine they installed on their small farm after receiving a NYSERDA grant and a surprise federal tax credit. "It really has cut our electric bill dramatically," she said. "We pay about $40 to $60 a month. About half of it is supply costs we pay for being connected to the grid. A couple of years ago, in winter, the bill was $250 a month. Obviously, it's way down from there.

And Interlochen Public Radio reports that Michigan is also undergoing a debate about the pros and cons of siting offshore wind turbines.


State of SUNY

Binghamton University's student paper did a word count on SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher's "state of SUNY" address. Number of times the word "economy" or "economic" was used: 20. Number of times the phrase "liberal arts" was uttered: 0.


Native American engineer

An RIT student has taken home the top prize at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society competition - for the second year in a row. The Times Union has the details on Dwight Cooke:

Cooke, born in Castleton, is Native American on his father's side and Irish/German on his mother's. He belongs to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, whose reservation is near the Canadian border. There he has some three dozen relatives whom he visits a few times each year. Cooke recalls that he and his brother and sister were the only students of Native American descent at Maple Hill High School, where he played soccer and developed a keen interest in the hard sciences. "Even going through middle school and high school, I just found that science and math came pretty easy to me," he said.


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