December 26, 2012
State is well-poised for nanotech challenges
By: Alain E. Kaloyeros
Source: Times Union
It is universally accepted that science, technology, engineering and
math are essential in successfully competing for jobs, as the global
economy is increasingly driven by high-tech innovation.
is nanotechnology. It is projected that 6 million people will be
employed in the nanotechnology industry by 2020, including over 2
million in the U.S. alone.
It is important to recognize New York
as a global hub for nanotechnology — so much so that the refrain among
industry is increasingly, "Why Anywhere but New York?"
auspices of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's innovation-driven economic blueprint,
wherein New York-led and managed industry-university partnerships are
used to catalyze opportunity and growth, New York is building the
modern-day equivalent of the Erie Canal: a vibrant high-tech economy
fueled by a new economic paradigm in which publicly run consortia
replace the defunct U.S. model of "if an idea is worth commercializing,
industry will find a way to fund it."
This new economic model is mandated by the realities of business competitiveness in the global innovation economy.
research and development, the complexity involved in nanoscale
innovations represents a daunting challenge. This challenge is driving a
sweeping change toward breaking down the silos — from individual
company-centric "Kremlins" to the intellectually open, innovation
Financially, the cost for future
nanotechnologies continues to rise exponentially. For one, the
investments required in the computer chip industry are predicted to
triple in less than five years. The cost of the per fabrication facility
alone is projected to rise from approximately $5 billion today to about
$10 billion to 15 billion, thus "creating elitism with very few haves
and most have nots."
Add the massive subsidies that foreign
governments are providing for the attraction of corporate "anchor
tenants." One example is what is known as "the ultimate subsidy,"
wherein China has invested $5 billion to construct a FAB with a complete
manufacturing line, and simply invited the chipmaker Semiconductor
Manufacturing International to own and run it, without incurring a
single dime in construction and outfitting.
The convergence of
these intricate technological obstacles and taxing financial constraints
are driving corporations to join in the new model of New York-led
consortia centered on state-of-the-art, "Switzerland-type" innovation
hubs. This ensures the pooling of intellectual assets and physical
resources to guarantee timely technology delivery, while allowing New
York to act as the "referee" by providing the leveled playing field for
each consortium participant to leverage its investments and protect its
The resulting benefits include thousands of
highly paid jobs, billions of dollars in private investment, and the
world's leading nanoelectronics companies — Intel, IBM, Samsung, TSMC
and GlobalFoundries — identifying New York as the best place to develop
their future technologies, within the Global 450mm Wafer Consortium
recently announced by the governor at the NanoCollege.
massive investments are spurring the development of a high tech
superhighway across the state: in the Hudson Valley, green energy jobs
at Ceres Technologies; in Utica, IT-related jobs at SUNYIT; in Syracuse,
defense jobs at Lockheed Martin; in Rochester, where CNSE is driving
green energy and defense employment; and in Buffalo, with a
nanobiomedical and pharmaceutical cluster under Governor Cuomo's $1
To support this continued growth, a
world-class workforce is essential. And New York is already ahead of the
curve. As the world's first college in nanotechnology, CNSE is
preparing students through a pioneering educational curriculum that
engages our next generations at all levels.
In five years, more
than 20,000 students from across New York have been targeted by
educational programs like NanoCareer Day, while teachers, school
administrators, and board members gather for NanoEducation Summits.
partnerships, including Albany High School, Girls Inc., and Trinity
Alliance are providing unique training opportunities, and focusing on
underrepresented social groups in STEM. And retraining programs are
giving skilled employees, such as plumbers and pipefitters, new and
While the job is far from finished, the
increasing location of high-tech jobs and companies is a sure sign New
York is "open for business."
Alain E. Kaloyeros is a senior vice
president at the University at Albany and CEO of its College of
Nanoscale Science and Engineering.