Jul 30, 2012  |  NYC.gov

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger today announced an agreement between the City of New York and Columbia University that will lead to the creation of a new Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, to be located at Columbia’s Morningside Heights and Washington Heights campuses in New York City, and the hiring of dozens of new faculty within the university’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The announcement is the next milestone in the City’s groundbreaking Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which seeks to dramatically increase New York City’s capacity for applied sciences and engineering while strengthening and transforming the City’s economy for generations.

As part of the agreement, the City will provide $15 million in critical financial assistance to Columbia – which includes discounted energy transmission costs and partial debt forgiveness – as well as valuable lease flexibility leading to the development of the Institute. The agreement includes the creation of 44,000 square feet of new applied science and engineering space on Columbia’s campus by 2016 and the addition of 75 new faculty over the next decade and a half. The focus of the new institute will be on advances in the data sciences, attracting high-caliber faculty in specific fields of study, and expanding Columbia’s research capabilities and funding, and building upon the school’s recent successes in engineering. In addition, the institute will enhance the level of training available to the city’s next wave of talented engineers and generate nearly $4 billion of economic growth across the five boroughs over the next three decades, bringing the total economic impact of the City’s three Applied Sciences NYC projects to more than $33 billion over the same period. The Mayor and President Bollinger were joined at the announcement, which took place at Columbia’s new Northwest Corner Building in Morningside Heights, by Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Interim Dean of Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Donald Goldfarb, Columbia Computer Science professor and inaugural Director of the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering Kathy McKeown, the Institute’s Deputy Director, professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Patricia Culligan, as well as State Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Member Gale Brewer and City Council Member Robert Jackson.

“This historic partnership is newest element in the applied sciences initiative that is, by far, the largest and most far-reaching economic development effort City government has undertaken in modern memory,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “It will create tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity, and it will encourage the growth of the tech sector in New York City and solidify our leadership in the innovation economy for decades to come.”

“Through this Applied Science initiative Mayor Bloomberg has energized the conversation about the essential role of universities in our City’s economic future,” said President Bollinger. “We are proud of Columbia Engineering’s ascent among its peers over the past decade and the impact of its constant stream of innovations on our economy. We know from experience that the creativity and dynamism of this new Data Sciences Institute will be ignited by collaborations that are possible because they are part of the wide diversity of intellectual excellence that defines not just a great urban research university like Columbia, but the genius of New York City itself.”

The Columbia proposal was selected due to its impressive vision to build upon the University’s recent successes in applied science and create an even greater impact for the City by developing a multi-disciplinary institute that will use research and scholarship to help address the challenges and the opportunities presented by a data-rich society. Data science in recent years has proven itself to be an important commercially viable area of research. The new Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering will focus on five specific areas which will be crucial to New York City’s innovation economy in the 21st century, including a New Media Center, a Smart Cities Center, a Health Analytics Center, a Cybersecurity Center, and a Financial Analytics Center.

The new Columbia institute will complement the City’s many other leading institutions, including the previous Applied Sciences NYC selections of the partnership between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which will build a campus on Roosevelt Island, as well as an NYU-led consortium building the Center for Urban Science and Progress in Downtown Brooklyn. Collectively, these institutions will continue to strengthen New York City’s global competiveness – including its growing technology sector – and ensure that the City establishes itself as a global hub of science, research, innovation and world-class urban solutions for the future.

In the last decade, Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has grown rapidly in national prominence, demonstrating the most upward momentum of any top ranked school in the nation. For instance, in a ranking of the top 20 engineering schools by US News and World Report during this time period, Columbia jumped from 31st to 16th in the country. In addition, the percentage of Columbia’s engineering faculty elected to the national Academies of Engineering and Sciences ranks SEAS among the nation’s top five engineering schools. This recent growth, coupled with the creation of this new world-class institute, will continue this incredible trajectory and permanently establish the school among the nation’s top schools in these fields.

Columbia will begin the development of the first of two phases of Institute immediately, first creating 44,000 square feet of new applied sciences and engineering facilities in existing buildings by August 2016 for the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering. In addition, Columbia will hire 30 new faculty members as a part of the first phase, and ultimately expects to expand the Institute faculty to 75 by 2030. As part of phase 2, Columbia may expand the Institute’s use of the Audubon building at the University’s Medical Center in Washington Heights and at the same time create a 10,000 square foot Bio-Research incubator in the building.

In order to help offset a portion of the costs associated with this major investment by one of the nation’s premier academic research institutions, the City and NYCEDC will provide up to $15 million in benefits to Columbia, for the development of the Institute, including discounted energy transmission costs, partial debt forgiveness, as well as a lease amendment that will provide needed flexibility for the development of the Institute. The benefits are contingent upon Columbia meeting benchmarks associated with the hiring of the additional faculty and fit-out of agreed upon academic space. Columbia, for its part, will contribute at least $80 million in private investment to facilitate this project. The support from the City of New York to create additional space and hire this additional faculty will allow Columbia to begin, in full, the plans for the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering.

This agreement will provide a major boost to the City’s economy over the next several decades. According to an economic impact analysis conducted by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Columbia project is expected to generate $3.9 billion (nominal) in overall economic activity over the next three decades, including 4,223 permanent jobs and 285 construction jobs. In addition, 170 companies are expected to spin-off in the City as a result of the project during this time. Collectively, with the Cornell/Technion and NYU-led consortium projects, the City’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative will generate $33.2 billion (nominal) in overall economic activity, 48,241 permanent and construction jobs, and 945 spin-off companies by 2046, fulfilling the initiative’s goal of dramatically transforming the City’s economy for the 21st century.

“Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for growing and strengthening New York City’s applied sciences and engineering capabilities, with the addition of Columbia’s expansion the number of engineering faculty and students in New York will more than double over the next several years. That is a truly remarkable accomplishment – one that will transform the City’s economy and position New York City for outperformance in the decades and centuries to come,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “Columbia’s investment in applied sciences and engineering will also mean that Morningside Heights and Manhattanville are now poised to join neighborhoods like Flatiron, Chelsea, DUMBO, and Long Island City as emerging tech centers, which means jobs and investment in these neighborhoods.”

“When we officially launched this groundbreaking initiative in 2010, among our stated goals was to achieve a critical mass of applied science and engineering activity here in New York City,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “This newest partnership, with one of the finest academic institutions in the world, is another important step towards achieving that goal. Columbia, which has long been a leader in this field, has been investing significantly in science and engineering over the past decade. We in the Bloomberg Administration are proud to be partnered with Columbia as it continues to build, benefiting both the university and the city it has long-called home.”

“The support of Mayor Bloomberg and the City for the Data Sciences Institute ensures that Columbia Engineering will continue its growth and academic excellence, while building on our long and proud tradition of developing breakthrough innovations with the power to transform society,” said Donald Goldfarb, interim Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“From systems that will personalize news and video programming based on individual preference, to the development of low-powered sensors to detect the movement of everyday objects and thereby speed emergency response when disasters strike, the discoveries produced by the Data Sciences Institute will establish a foundation for significant contributions to society and to the marketplace,” said Professor Kathy McKeown, director of the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering.

“Congratulations to Columbia and the ultimate winner of the applied science initiative, New York City's rapidly-growing tech sector” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “Mayor Bloomberg should once again be commended for rallying New York's educational institutions around this growing industry. Columbia, already poised to expand engineering, will certainly generate the world-class engineers and programmers needed to keep New York growing far into the future.”

“This is another great step for New York City’s future. I commend Mayor Bloomberg and Columbia University President Bollinger for their vision and leadership in turning this great idea into a reality,” said Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand. “A new institute for data sciences and engineering at Columbia’s campuses will create a new research hub for science and technology, spurring job growth and attracting the next generation of talent.”

“Today’s announcement is wonderful news,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “This agreement between the City and Columbia will now provide New York City with a third world-class applied sciences campus. I thank everyone for working together and enabling New York City to truly become the high-tech capital of the world.”

“I cannot be more proud to represent a congressional district that will be housing the latest development of a top institution in our country, in the greatest city in the world,” said Congressman Charles B. Rangel. “The new Institute will not only be a boon for New York City, but also for the surrounding community and my constituents. I thank Mayor Bloomberg and President Bollinger for their effective leadership in investing in our future. I look forward to working with them to advance this job-creating initiative.”

“The strength of our city’s universities is critical to New York’s economic future,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I am thrilled Columbia University has been selected as the third winner of the City’s Applied Sciences Initiative, paving the way for it to create a new Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering and helping us attain our goal of making New York City the tech capital of the world. Efforts like these will help lead to new technological advances and discoveries, attract new companies to our city, and train the workforce of tomorrow. I would like to congratulate Columbia’s President Lee C. Bollinger, its faculty, staff, and students on this great achievement and I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Steel and Seth Pinsky for their continued dedication to growing our city's economy.”

“Today’s announcement confirms what many already know – New York City is quickly becoming a national epicenter for tech innovation,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “The new Center for Data Sciences and Engineering at Columbia University is an exciting new initiative that will support advances in the promising technologies of tomorrow, and will continue to attract the best and the brightest to the city. The City’s investment in the project is a forward-thinking use of capital resources to promote continued growth in these fields.”

“This partnership is an investment that will reap a lifetime of economic and academic rewards in our city, as well as our communities,” said Council Member Robert Jackson, Chair of the Education Committee. “It creates jobs, opportunities, and will attract and cultivate talents in engineering and sciences. I have seen firsthand Columbia’s commitment to diversifying its faculty and student body while maintaining its exemplary scholarly reputation. Mayor Bloomberg is right to recognize the university as a leader in the City's Applied Sciences initiative.”

“The announcement with Columbia University to create an applied sciences center is welcome news that will continue to push New York City in becoming a leader in the field,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. “Tech and data sciences will be a large part of the future of jobs, industry and education and we must continue to partner with universities and institutions that specialize in this cutting edge area.”

“Within a decade, our city will likely eclipse Silicon Valley as the nation’s largest concentration of diverse engineering talent and technological innovation, thanks to the vision of the Bloomberg Administration and the commitments of Columbia, Cornell, The Technion, NYU Polytechnic and the City University of New York to create a cluster of new applied sciences institutions here,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

Applied Sciences NYC was designed to capitalize on the considerable growth presently occurring within the science, technology and research fields in New York, and builds on the Bloomberg Administration’s record of creating a better diversified and more competitive economy for the future. In the technology sector, employment in New York grew by nearly 30 percent between 2005 and 2010, with total employment now at nearly 120,000. In 2009, New York surpassed Massachusetts as the number two recipient of Venture Capital tech funding. And according to recent Venture Capital data, between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012 the number of deals in New York City is up nearly 43 percent. In fact, earlier this year, the Center for an Urban Future released a comprehensive study – NY Tech City – praised the City’s enormous growth in technology, adding that between 2007 and 2011, of the seven leading technology regions in the U.S., the only one to see an increase in the number of VC deals was New York.

In July of 2011, New York City Economic Development Corporation issued the Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking a university, institution or consortium to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for City capital, access to City-owned land – at the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island, or on Governors Island – and the full support and partnership of the Bloomberg Administration. In October, the City received seven responses from 17 world-class institutions from around the globe. In December of 2011, the City created its first partnership, providing a consortium led by Cornell and the Technion with land on Roosevelt Island and $100 million in City capital to build a $2 billion, 2 million square foot tech campus. When completed, the new Roosevelt Island campus will nearly double the number of full-time, graduate engineering students enrolled in leading New York City Master’s and Ph.D. programs. In April of 2012, the City created a second partnership in the Applied Sciences NYC initiative, reaching an agreement with an NYU-led consortium which will build the Center for Urban Science and Progress in Downtown Brooklyn, which will study the critical issues facing cities in the 21st century and further increase the rapid influx of talent to New York City. Negotiations continue with other institutions who submitted Applied Sciences NYC proposals, including Carnegie Mellon University.


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