8/19/2013 10:35:00 AM

Democrat and Chronicle: Nanotech: Albany's boom industry is getting traction in WNY

Democrat and Chronicle

SUNY's research hub in Albany spurs investment upstate, including in manufacturing

ALBANY - In Buffalo, a $250 million pharmaceutical research facility is being built. Last month, a $100 million solar-energy research and manufacturing center was announced in Rochester.

And in June, construction started on a $500 million computer chip commercialization center in Utica.

All of it is the offshoot of SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany, the wildly successful research hub that has 3,000 employees and $17 billion in public and private investment.

For years, state officials have wanted to replicate the success of the nanotechnology research and manufacturing in Albany along the state Thruway. Now they’re starting to see significant progress.

“The greater Rochester region continues to transition from a community once dependent upon a few large companies to one that is more diversified and entrepreneurial,” said Ryne Raffaelle, vice president for research and associate provost at the Rochester Institute of Technology, which has been growing its nanotechnology programs in recent years.

Alain Kaloyeros, the CEO of the nanotech center, says the facilities across upstate are reaching a critical mass. He says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plans to create tax-free zones near college campuses, called Start-Up NY, will put the effort on a new trajectory.

“I predict that the governor is going to be making some very exciting announcements in terms of companies coming to New York and going into upstate areas, from Buffalo, to Rochester, to Syracuse, to Utica, that nobody thought would consider locating in New York,” said Kaloyeros, who is also a Cuomo adviser. “And it’s because of Start-Up NY.”

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