March 18, 2014

SUNY nano merger on table at meeting

By: Elizabeth Cooper

Source: Utica Observer-Dispatch

A merger between SUNYIT and Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will be under consideration Tuesday and Wednesday at a meeting of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

A draft summary of the plan, obtained by the Observer-Dispatch, says a new college called SUNY Institute for Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology, or SUNY INSET, would be created “through the merger of two equals.”

“A formal merger between SUNY CNSE and SUNYIT will create a new science, engineering, and technology research and education institution that is unique in the SUNY system with access to the most advanced, extensive and complete nanotechnology research and development infrastructure and academic nanotechnology degree portfolio of any university in the world,” the document states.

SUNYIT and CNSE already are working together on the $1.5 billion Computer Chip Commercialization Center, a public-private partnership at the SUNYIT campus that is under construction now. CNSE also is helping to market the parcel in Marcy being groomed to attract a computer chip fabrication plant.

The merger would mark the first time in decades that SUNY has created a new college.

“Chancellor (Nancy) Zimpher strongly believes that a merger between CNSE and SUNYIT will form a unique and powerful new high-tech SUNY campus, positioning affordable public higher education in New York at the pinnacle of next generation research and academic instruction,” a SUNY spokesman said. “She is recommending the plan to the Board because it sets a high bar for what a 21st century entrepreneurial college campus is capable of achieving for its students, communities, the state, and the country.”

The proposal will go before the SUNY Board of Trustees’ Academic Affairs Committee Tuesday and, if passed by the committee, the full board will vote Wednesday.

Local officials have been supportive of the plan.

“This is something that makes a lot of sense and is an opportunity to build more technical capacity from a research side and a degree granting side here in Marcy and helps support NanoUtica and Marcy nanocenter initiatives,” said Mohawk Valley EDGE economic development agency President Steve DiMeo.