Cuomo urges closer university-business ties

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks Wednesday during a

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks Wednesday during a meeting of the regional economic development council in the Red Room at the Capitol. (May 15, 2013) (Credit: AP)

New York State must move quickly to turn inventions from universities and research laboratories into commercial products, and hopefully jobs, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told business leaders Wednesday.

Speaking to leaders of his regional economic development councils, Cuomo emphasized the urgency of technology transfer from academia to the business world.

"Where do we lose the jobs? It's that tech transfer space," he said in Albany. "California beats us, Massachusetts beats us, Texas beats us. . . . The academics in other states think and act more entrepreneurially."


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That type of thinking is happening at local institutions, Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz said three hours later when it came time for the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council to give a progress report to the governor.

The local council was one of 10 to make presentations in the state Capitol.

Rabinowitz told the governor that researchers from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are learning business skills from executives of technology startup companies at Thought Box I, a business-incubator building in Hicksville.

Rabinowitz, the local council's co-vice chairman, and member Pat Edwards of Citigroup, were in Albany to hear details of this year's competition for state business aid. The Island was a big winner in 2011 and a runner-up last year. It has received $161.3 million for 152 projects so far.

Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy, chairman of all 10 councils, announced $760 million, much of it drawn from the budgets of state agencies, will be up for grabs this year. Five big winners will each receive $25 million in grant funds, but every region will get $10 million in state tax credits.

Businesses, developers and governments have until Sept. 24 to submit aid applications to the council for their respective region.

Rabinowitz and Edwards, in their report, said repeatedly that many Long Islanders are poor or lack good-paying jobs. Edwards said the council would "utilize the community colleges and technical schools to create career pathways for students not immediately college-bound and address a gap in the supply side of our regional workforce."

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