March 29, 2012

Assembly Speaker Silver, Economic Development Committee Chair Schimminger and Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes Announce State Budget Agreement Includes Designation of a Rare Earth Materials Center at the University at Buffalo

SFY 2012-13 Budget Will Provide $200,000 for UB's Newest
NYS Center for Excellence, and More Than $872,000 is
To Be Shared with UB's Bioinformatics and Life Sciences Center

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Economic Development Committee Chair Robin Schimminger and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes announced the SFY 2012-13 Budget agreement, designates the University at Buffalo as a New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics.

The budget allocates $200,000 to the University at Buffalo (UB) in support of their research into the development of synthetic materials to find alternatives to such rare earth elements as samarium, europium and gadolinium. All of these rare earth elements are critical to the manufacture of many electronic products, including smart phones, flat-screen televisions, medical equipment and electric cars.

UB's first Center of Excellence, the Bioinformatics and Life Sciences Center, and its newest, will be co-recipients of $872,333 that is also included in the budget for both centers to share.

The advanced scientific work already being conducted at UB has positioned the university to become a leader in an emerging field that has attracted national and international interest due to the monopolization of rare earth materials by the Chinese Government, which controls the production of more than 90 percent of the world's supply. The research at UB could have a major impact on retaining and attracting manufacturers that are dependent on access to a diverse supply of natural resources and raw materials.

"It is appropriate for the University at Buffalo, which is among the nation's most distinguished research universities, to receive this designation. I am confident that UB's cutting-edge research and engineering expertise in this new frontier of science will benefit our state economy, lead to the creation of new jobs and allow our businesses to be more competitive in the global economy," said Silver.

"I am elated that our hard-fought efforts in the Assembly paid off. The designation and funding allotted for the University at Buffalo's Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics will help put New York at the forefront of restoring and growing the United States' competitive advantage in advanced manufacturing. UB will now be in a position to apply for federal research grants and recruit top-notch scientists," said Schimminger, chair of the Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce & Industry Committee.

"Adding another Center of Excellence to the University at Buffalo will build on the many prominent academic, research and engineering institutions that are located in the City of Buffalo. Thanks to the Bioinformatics and Life Sciences Center, our life sciences industry has made great contributions to the medical field and our local economy, and I look forward to the same success with the Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics," said Peoples-Stokes.

"I am proud to say that the designation of the Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics at UB was advanced in the Assembly's budget proposal. This Assembly initiative won approval for inclusion in the state budget agreement based on the university's outstanding record of academic excellence and the need to make significant scientific gains in this important field to benefit our state economy," added the Speaker.

Silver noted the UB campus is also home to the Bioinformatics and Life Sciences Center, which was established in 2002 with the support of state economic development funds provided by the Assembly Majority.

For 10 years, this Center of Excellence and its state of the art research facilities has served as an anchor to the Buffalo area's renowned medical corridor, connecting a series of public and private collaborative research projects that involve such prestigious research institutions as the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.