University Council receives update on research activities
April 18, 2014Tweet
Multidisciplinary research, industry partnerships and young faculty offer exciting opportunities for growth, Division of Research administrators told members of the Binghamton University Council during an April 18 meeting.
During the past year, two Binghamton faculty members received CAREER grants from the National Science Foundation, the federal agency’s most prestigious award for early-career researchers. “This is verification that we’re hiring the best of the best,” said Bahgat Sammakia, vice president for research. “In areas where we choose to compete, we are premier.”
In addition to recent successes of Binghamton researchers, Sammakia and his colleagues highlighted challenges in the current federal environment for research funding as well as efforts related to technology transfer and economic development.
Paul Parker, associate vice president for research administration, reviewed research expenditures at Binghamton as well as the other SUNY University Centers. Every campus saw a decline in research funding in 2012-13, he said.
Parker noted that the dip was anticipated, and that Binghamton’s recent faculty hiring is likely to result in improved expenditures in the near future. Binghamton’s unusual strength in industry collaborations also helps to soften the blow of decreasing federal funding for research.
There’s an increase of more than $30 million in applications for research funding this year over last year. “That growth is because of the strategic hiring plan we have put into place at Binghamton University,” Parker said.
Per Stromhaug, assistant vice president for innovation and economic development, told council members about new plans to integrate the University’s diverse activities in economic development.
Binghamton’s campus plan for Start-Up New York, a tax-incentive program, was approved in late March. Stromhaug said the University has already received its first official application. The company, called Storm Insights, plans to relocate to the area from out of state.
This fiscal year will be a record one for Binghamton patents, Stromhaug said. The University may also pass $1 million in royalties for the first time this year. “It shows that we have faculty who do applied research and are incredibly creative in doing research that could lead to products and services in the marketplace,” he said.
Stromhaug provided an update about the Southern Tier High-Technology Incubator. Ground breaking for that project should be this fall, with the facility opening in September 2016, he said.
Also at the meeting, Brian Rose, vice president for student affairs, presented proposed revisions to the Rules of Student Conduct. The most significant changes relate to federal regulations regarding sexual misconduct on college campuses. Another change will allow students to have therapy animals in the residence halls. The council approved the changes without discussion.
President Harvey Stenger and Andrew Topal, the council’s student representative, presented campus updates to the council, offering their insights about this year’s admissions process as well as events such as Relay for Life and Research Days.
After the meeting, council members toured the new Center of Excellence building at the Innovative Technologies Complex on Murray Hill Road. The $30 million building, which will open later this year, features numerous environmentally friendly features. Binghamton’s Center of Excellence in Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging has helped its industry members create or retain more than 1,000 jobs since 1996, Sammakia noted.
Council members learned about the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center in Energy-Smart Electronic Systems, which is part of the Center of Excellence. They later visited the facility’s state-of-the-art data center, which will function as a living laboratory for researchers.