07.26.11

SCHUMER PUSHES COMMERCE DEPARTMENT TO PROVIDE FIRST-EVER SEED FUNDING FOR ACCELERATE LONG ISLAND BIOTECH CLUSTER

In Response to Schumer Effort, Accelerate Long Island, a Groundbreaking Regional Innovation Cluster, Applied for a Grant through the Federal Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge Funds Would Enable Stony Brook Universitys Center for Biotechnology to Commercialize New Technologies and Prepare Students for Careers in BiotechSchumer: Resources Will Help Jumpstart Local Economy and Establish Regional Commercialization Effort Among the Big Five LI Research Institutions

 

United States Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Department of Commerce (DOC) to provide firstever seed funding for  Accelerate Long Island, a biotechnologyfocused regional innovation cluster (RIC) on Long Island, by approving a grant application the cluster submitted for the federal Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The funds, if granted, would go to the Center for Biotechnology at Stony Brook University and be used to commercialize new, cuttingedge bioscience technologies developed at Long Island research institutions and prepare qualified students and workers for productive careers in the biotech industry. In a letter to the Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, Schumer pushed for the swift approval of Accelerate Long Island's grant application, and emphasized the potential benefit that funding would bring to the region.

"Support from this grant program will provide the seed corn that allows the highpaying jobs of the future to grow throughout the Island," said Schumer. "The combined efforts of these five worldclass research institutions has the potential to unlock untold benefits to the Long Island economy."

Back in January, Schumer convened a meeting of leaders from Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and pushed them to work cooperatively together and join other Long Island institutions in a regional innovation cluster (RIC).  A RIC is broadly defined as a geographic concentration of firms, suppliers, coordinating entities, and related institutions in a particular field that arises and grows because of the mutual benefits they derive from proximity and the powerful synergies they make possible. Once they are formed, RICs can apply for federal funds as one entity, and use those funds collaboratively to create jobs and grow industries on a regional level. 

Under the leadership of the Long Island Association and Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko, a cluster called  Accelerate Long Island, with a focus in biotechnology, was developed this year.   Accelerate Long Island, a collaborative initiative between Long Island's business, academic, and government leaders, focuses the resources of the region - worldclass research and a highlyskilled workforce - to create economic development in the local bioscience industry.  For the first time in the history of Long Island, a regional innovation cluster is forming around core institutions at the forefront of biomedical research Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, North Shore LIJ Health System's Feinstein Institute, Hofstra University, and the lead applicant, Stony Brook University.  After Schumer's RIC meeting, the Senator convened a conference call with Ginger Lew, a senior economic adviser to President Obama, and Accelerate's leadership to tout the formation of the collaboration.  After that call, Schumer pushed  Accelerate's leaders to apply for the firstever Accelerator Challenge for seed funding. 

The Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, for which  Accelerate Long Islandrecently submitted an application, is an interagency effort designed to spur innovationfueled job creation and global competitiveness by awarding $33 million in grants to RICs that demonstrate the existence of highgrowth industries that support a wide range of economic and workforce development activities. The Challenge offers funding opportunities from three federal agencies, including the Commerce Department, as well as technical assistance from 13 additional agencies.

If Accelerate Long Island's grant application is approved, Stony Brook University's Center for Biotechnology could receive over $2 million, which can be used to foster the growth of the biomedical industry on Long Island. The proposed funding would go a long way in boosting local biotech startup companies and training a uniquely skilled workforce that can lead Long Island to the forefront of the health sciences industry.

A copy of Schumer's letter is below.

 

The Honorable Gary F. Locke

Secretary

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20230

 

Dear Secretary:

            I am pleased to write in support of the application submitted by New York State's Center for Advanced Technology in Medical Biotechnology (Center for Biotechnology) at Stony Brook University for funding under the  Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge Grant. Such funding will enable the Center for Biotechnology and its collaborators, in a groundbreaking new consortium known as  Accelerate Long Island, to advance commercialization within the bioscience and technology sectors.       

            As you know, I am working diligently to encourage the major research institutions in New York State to fasttrack commercialization of academic research to create jobs.   Accelerate Long Island, a collaborative initiative between Long Island's business, academic, and government leaders, proposes to focus the resources of the region - worldclass research and a highlyskilled workforce - to create economic development in the regional bioscience industry.  For the first time in the history of this region, a regional innovation cluster is forming around core institutions at the forefront of biomedical research Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, North Shore LIJ Health System's Feinstein Institute, Hofstra University, and the lead applicant, Stony Brook Unviersity.  I strongly believe this new collaboration can fulfill President Obama's goal to fasttrack job creation through commercialization of America's worldclass universities and research centers.  All four of these institutions are within 100 miles of one another and they will focus on capitalizing on the research enterprises of these preeminent institutions to foster cooperative opportunities.

The diverse scientific base of these academic institutions will facilitate the identification and maturation of promising platform biomedical diagnostics and therapeutics, the rapid physical and fiscal growth of bioscience startup companies, and the formation of a uniquely trained workforce to lead the Long Island region to the forefront of the health sciences industries.  As individual institutions, their track record speaks for itself research scientists affiliated with these institutions have been awarded 19 Nobel Prizes and have contributed to the establishment of more than fortyseven companies and dozens of lifesaving biomedical products over the last two decades.  Working as a collaborative, these institutions have unprecedented potential for advancement.

            With funding, the Center for Biotechnology and Accelerate Long Island will commercialize bioscience technologies developed at academic institutions, prepare qualified U.S. students and workers to enter careers in the bioscience industry, and provide opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs to leverage the regional bioscience industry cluster more effectively. I applaud them for its foresight, and I sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

            Thank you for your consideration. For additional information, please to do not hesitate to contact me.

 


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