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Schumer Helped Create This Program Through His CHIPS & Science Law & Fought For Months To Elevate Upstate NY, Personally Calling The Head Of The NSF Multiple Times To Showcase BU’s Ability To Spark Battery Industry Growth - Now The BU Led Project Will Receive $15M Now And Up To $160M Over The Next Decade

Thanks To Schumer, Binghamton University-Led NENY Project Is A Clear National Leader, Achieving The Triple Threat Of Winning Build Back Better Regional Challenge, Federal Tech Hubs Designation, And Now The NSF Regional Innovation Engines Competition – All Programs That Were Created By The Senator

Schumer: NSF Engines Award Will Supercharge Binghamton And Upstate NY As America’s Battery Hub

After delivering a historic $113+ million in 2022 for Binghamton to establish its battery manufacturing & innovation hub, and then securing for the Southern Tier the prestigious federal Tech Hub designation late last year, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Binghamton University-led Upstate New York Energy Storage Engine has now won the esteemed U.S. National Science Foundation’s Regional “Innovation Engines” Competition (NSF Engines), which was created by his CHIPS & Science Law. Schumer said the Binghamton-led project was one of only ten projects across the country selected for this award which will bring $15 million in federal funding immediately, with up to $160 million total over the life of the program from the NSF to supercharge growth and cutting-edge research in battery development and manufacturing in Upstate NY.

“Up to $160 million is now on its way to supercharge Upstate NY as a booming battery research hub being led by Binghamton University. Thanks to my CHIPS & Science Law, Binghamton will be the beating electric heart of federal efforts to help bring battery innovation and development back from overseas to spark growth of this critical industry vital to our nation’s national and economic security. With the prestigious NSF Engines award, the Southern Tier and Upstate NY has officially secured its place as the next loop on America’s battery belt,” said Senator Schumer. “Lightning has struck not once, not twice but three times to supercharge Binghamton and the NENY coalition as best in class to grow cutting edge research in America’s battery industry. For years I have worked to craft and lead to passage these new programs to spur economic development, create good-paying jobs, and spark scientific innovation, specifically with places like Binghamton and Upstate NY in mind. Binghamton’s battery hub is already electrifying Upstate New York’s workforce and economy, but this investment is the crown jewel that will help fuel the scientific discovery and innovation to ensure this industry is here to stay in America.”

Schumer explained that Binghamton University’s NSF Engine: Upstate New York Energy Storage Engine project was chosen to receive $15 million for the next two years, with the potential to receive a total of $160 million, to invest in battery innovation and cutting edge research over the next decade Specifically, Binghamton University’s NSF Regional Engines proposal will bolster the tech-based, industry-driven innovation hub Schumer has helped deliver record funding intended to bolster all components of the battery technology supply chain, with research done right here in the Southern Tier, with robust partnerships across Upstate New York. The proposal will capitalize on efforts already underway and synergize existing resources to launch new initiatives focused on strengthening the battery supply chain, accelerating the transfer of battery technologies from lab to market, mobilizing resources around use-inspired R&D to complement battery manufacturing initiatives, and growing cross-sector partnerships.

“With this transformative National Science Foundation grant, we are putting Binghamton and all of New York State back at the cutting edge of manufacturing and innovation,” Governor Hochul said. “The modern era of battery technology was born right here in New York, and thanks to Majority Leader Schumer, President Biden, and New York’s congressional delegation, the CHIPS and Science Act is helping to ensure that the future of batteries is built here as well.”

"Another extraordinary win for Binghamton University's New Energy New York and the entire coalition," said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. "We have all of the right academic and research collaborators on board, we are partnered with major industries as well as small businesses, and our ecosystem is diverse.  This is what the NSF Engines program is all about. Of course, we want to thank Senator Schumer for his vision, leadership, and support for Binghamton University and the entire NENY coalition."

The coalition includes entities in 27 counties in Upstate NY. With Binghamton University as the lead, the initiative brings together cross-sector partners including prestigious research universities such as Cornell University, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and Syracuse University, to power innovations in R&D, as well as New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST), Launch NY, and multiple private-sector partners to ensure effective industry-informed projects.

Since having been awarded funding, the NENY coalition has supported more than 30 high-tech startups through innovation and technology translation programs, further establishing New York State as the premier destination for battery and energy storage technology startups ranging from prototyping to scale-up to manufacturing. NENY has also developed a host of innovative programs to support the growth of the battery and energy storage manufacturing industry which have introduced or trained more than 650 people. Moreover, more than 100 student interns have been placed regionally to work in this industry and the state-of-the-art New Energy Lab at Chenango Forks recently opened as a first-of-its-kind facility in the nation, helping to prepare high school students for good-paying jobs in the energy storage industry. The New Energy Lab is powered by the federal Build Back Better Regional Challenge Award that Schumer delivered. 

“Establishing a battery and energy storage Engine here in upstate New York is a crucial step to bringing domestic production of batteries and a secure supply chain to the U.S.,” said Engine Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), Distinguished Professor at Binghamton University and Nobel Laureate recipient M. Stanley Whittingham. “It is critically important that battery innovations stemming from university and industry researchers can be developed, prototyped and manufactured in the U.S. in order ?to leap frog today's Asian technology. With Senator Schumer's continued support, we are confident we can transform our region, attract investment, create new jobs and fill those jobs with a skilled workforce."

The NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines Program, created by Schumer’s CHIPS & Science Law, falls under the newly created NSF Directorate of Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships. Schumer originally proposed the creation of this Directorate in his bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, with a focus on delivering investment in research, workforce training, and entrepreneurship in key areas like energy and battery technology. The NSF Regional Innovation Engines program catalyzes and fosters innovation ecosystems across the United States to advance critical technologies like batteries, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, advanced wireless technologies, biotechnology, and more to promote and stimulate economic growth and job creation, and to spur regional innovation. Each NSF Engine can receive up to $160 million over 10 years; actual amounts will be subject to a given NSF Engine's status and overall progress, as assessed annually, as well as pending future funding for the program.

Schumer has long fought to secure federal investment to boost Binghamton’s battery manufacturing and R&D. Most recently, Schumer secured the prestigious tech hubs designation for Binghamton University’s New Energy New York (NENY) project, which he also created in the CHIPS & Science Act, accelerating the Southern Tier’s emergence as America’s next battery tech hub. Schumer designed the program to strengthen a region’s capacity to commercialize, manufacture, and grow technology in key focus areas like batteries, and now, thanks to his efforts, Binghamton is spurring innovation and bringing the manufacturing of batteries back to America, all while supporting the economic resurgence of the Southern Tier.

One of Schumer’s first major acts as majority leader was leading the American Rescue Plan to passage, which created programs like the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Schumer personally advocated for the selection of Binghamton University’s battery hub proposal for this federal investment and in December 2021, Binghamton’s project was selected as a Phase 1 awardee out of over 500 applications from around the country to compete for a final award. In April 2022, Schumer personally visited the Southern Tier to double down on his advocacy, standing with Dr. Whittingham, to reiterate his support and urge federal leaders to select Binghamton as a final Regional Challenge awardee. 

Finally, in September 2022, Schumer secured Binghamton’s spot as a final awardee, with a $63.7 million federal investment, one of the largest grants made in the competition, which was matched by $50 million in funding from New York State, to help make the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes a national hub for battery research and manufacturing. Additionally, Schumer brought Dr. Whittingham as his guest to last year’s State of the Union to highlight Binghamton’s national leadership in battery technology.