No fewer than 27 high-powered academic centers from around the globe have jumped at the chance to create an applied sciences research campus in New York City. May the best brainiacs win.
And may they bring to the five boroughs a top-tier graduate school that will become an incubator for bolstering the city as a tech powerhouse.
After a long decline in the manufacturing sector of yesteryear, New York‘s economy became overly dependent on Wall Street for prosperity. It’s been a great run, but the economic meltdown and the planetary dispersal of the financial industry have made long-term reliance on the money machine a foolhardy proposition.
The future clearly resides in technology, whether in cell phone applications or in complex data-crunching. Long the birthplace of ideas, New York must ride brainpower and electrons into the 21st century.
To nurture such growth, Mayor Bloomberg in December invited institutions of higher learning to compete for a chance to open a sciences program that would provide intellectual firepower for a growing local industry. The city would provide aid for capital projects and land, perhaps at the Brooklyn Navy Yard or Governors Island.
A stunning array of schools responded. They included Stanford, a dominant player in California‘s Silicon Valley, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Purdue in Indiana, the University of Chicago, Abo Akadmi University in Finland, Amity University and Indian Institute of Technology in India, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the University of Toronto and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
Over the summer, the city will issue a formal request for proposals, with the winner – or winners – expected to be chosen by year’s end. Super.
New York is already on something of a tech industry roll. Between October 2009 and December 2010, the city was the site of 208 tech deals worth $1.2 billion. Meaning we’ve surpassed Boston as the nation’s No. 2 high-tech capital, behind only Silicon Valley.
One down, one to go.
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