The path to spurring economic innovation and creativity in our region must start in our schools. Farmingdale State College is doing its part by establishing a research center focused on making sure our infrastructure and transportation are secure. The college will hire new faculty, and develop new programs and degrees in fields such as airport security.

The new Infrastructure, Transportation and Security Center is an exciting opportunity for Farmingdale and its partners, Nassau Community College and Stony Brook University. It puts them at the center of critical efforts in this age of terrorism to integrate security planning and new technology with the building and upgrading of bridges, airports and railroads. Farmingdale’s research also could spark business and industry development across the Island. This focus on the future should get attention as the center grows.

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This isn’t the first time Farmingdale State College has been at the center of fledgling Long Island research and development. Its Broad Hollow Bioscience Park, opened in 2000, was lauded as the foundation of the biotechnology industry the Island desperately wanted to build. But since its anchor tenant, OSI Pharmaceuticals, left in 2013, the park has been mostly empty, and unfortunately the biotechnology industry is still only a hope for the future, rather than an established reality.

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With $21 million from the three academic institutions as seed money and a $6.6 million contribution from the state, Farmingdale’s newest center offers great possibilities. Success there means the students and researchers of today could be the business builders and industry leaders of tomorrow. — The editorial board