May 01, 2012

Big Job-Growth Potential Seen For Canandaigua High-Tech Center

By: Tom Tobin, Staff Writer

Source: Democrat And Chronicle

The STC Center in Canandaigua, a high-tech facility specializing in microelectronics, has received a key government designation that could bring a flood of lucrative military contracts and jobs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The Department of Defense award makes the STC Center the first nanoscale facility connected to a university — it is an arm of the State University at Albany — to be designated a “trusted foundry.” Only one company in the nation also working on nanoscale sensors, in Idaho, has the special government label.

The designation allows the Pentagon, other federal agencies and contractors and foreign allies to use the STC Center for a range of defense and intelligence applications. One project the center already works on involves sensors used by combat forces in detecting roadside bombs.

“This is as elite as it gets,” said Alain Kaloyeros, chief executive of SUNY Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. “SUNY has this. Not Stanford, not Caltech. It’s a big step forward. This classification establishes STC as the go-to center for 21st century military technologies.”

Kaloyeros said the designation also should help generate high-tech companies and jobs in the region.

State officials said the trusted foundry award could bring up to 1,000 jobs to the center and Rochester-area companies over the next three to five years.

Cuomo described the designation as evidence that efforts to make New York “the epicenter of the global nanotechnology industry” are succeeding.
Nanotechnology involves the use of materials that can be measured in nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

In March, the STC Center announced it had gained International Organization for Standardization (ISO) registration, a necessary step to be considered for the trusted foundry designation.

“This designation demonstrates the commitment the state has made to a tech-based economy,” STC director Paul Tolley said Wednesday.

The Pentagon created the foundry designation in order to properly assess American manufacturers as part of a larger effort to bring high-tech, defense-related work now being done overseas back to the United States.
Since joining forces with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the Canandaigua STC Center has become central to a larger state effort to bring more computer chip and other nanotechnology research and manufacturing to New York.

Cuomo has spoken of developing an upstate “Thruway corridor” of companies and institutions capable of high-tech work in nanoscale processes, clean energy and other cutting-edge science.

Finger Lakes Community College has developed an academic program to educate and train clean-room workers for the STC Center and related businesses.

The STC Center’s formal name is the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s Smart System Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence.