Magnarelli: Assembly passes legislation to link University and Industry

March 19, 2004
For nine straight years, the governor’s policies have failed to provide New Yorkers with a compelling vision for our economic future, not to mention a cure for our present ills. In fact, had the state’s employment grown at the same rate as the nation’s between January 1995 and December 2003, New York would have created 432,900 additional jobs. That is nearly the entire population of Onondaga County.

New York is an uncontested leader when it comes to high-tech research and development, but the governor has done a poor job turning our brain power into economic power. We have one of the best-trained, best-educated workforces anywhere, with a work ethic that other areas would be hard pressed to match. Yet the current administration has failed to invest in New York’s outstanding workforce.

To capitalize on our strengths and improve the overall economy in this state, the Assembly has pushed to solidify and energize the collaborative ventures between businesses and institutions of higher education. This is something I have worked very hard to promote as Chairman of the Assembly’s Task Force on University-Industry Cooperation. With our first-class university system and dynamic businesses, the economic development resources here in New York are second to none.

I am happy to report that the Assembly has already taken up several pieces of legislation based on the Task Force objective to strengthen ties between University and Industry. As the sponsor of the following bills, I am encouraged about the progress the legislation has made through the Assembly.

In order to create a program to match federal grants awarded to New York universities for technology development in the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research, the Assembly passed (A.7987). This legislation mandates prioritizing grant applications according to criteria that impacts positively on economic development and job creation, as well as collaborative relationships between university and industry.

To harbor job growth here in New York, the Assembly approved a bill requiring research institutions and other entities applying for or receiving certain state economic development grants to first consider New York companies as primary suppliers of products or services necessary to accomplish the funded project goals (A.8408). This bill also mandates a written description from the reward recipients detailing New York’s economic growth potential as a result of their project.

To assist New York universities in marketing their available technologies, the Assembly passed legislation to coordinate an annual Statewide University Patent Fair through the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (A.1957). This patent fair will increase visibility of emerging technologies by commercializing New York university patents for licensing.

The Assembly majority has been a strong proponent of building partnerships between the public and private sector with our major universities and colleges. Unfortunately, the failures of the current administration have cost us countless opportunities to turn our economy around and to improve the lives of thousands of people. The bottom line remains the same – we need economic development policies to lead New York’s economy into the future.

We are going to continue working to convince the governor to make the right choices and partner with us to finally turn our economy around. I urge the governor and the Senate to review these important pieces of legislation and to act upon them immediately. Through critical allegiances between University and Industry, we will ensure New York plays a proper role in the 21st Century global market.