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$1.7M grant boosts Binghamton’s profile

Binghamton University President Lois B. DeFleur and state Sen. Thomas W. Libous, R-Binghamton, share a laugh Feb. 3 after DeFleur accepted an award of $1.7 million from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research.
New state funding will help Binghamton build its reputation as a national leader in electronics packaging research and leverage its existing partnerships with industry to help drive economic development in the Southern Tier.

The New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) presented Binghamton’s Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC) with a $1.7 million grant Feb. 3.

“We’re not only proud of the award we’re going to receive, we’re proudest of what it will mean for electronics packaging,” President Lois B. DeFleur said.

The funds will enable the IEEC to work more closely with the new Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) on commercializing flexible and low-cost electronics based on roll-to-roll manufacturing. The technology has applications for medical diagnostics and treatment, the military, computers and telecommunications, among other fields.

State Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, focused on the grant’s potential to boost the local economy.

“This is creating career opportunities something we have not been able to do in this valley in a long time,” Libous said.

He called the University the “bestkept economic development secret in the Southern Tier.”

Lupardo noted the grant, which comes from NYSTAR’s Center for Advanced Technology development program, was awarded through a stringent, peer-reviewed competition. “We are committed to working together to keep this valley moving forward,” she said.

Gerald Sonnenfeld, vice president for research, said the grant demonstrates the University’s building momentum as a research institution.

“It extends the reach of the IEEC and does more to capitalize on the involvement of our partners,” he said. “It’s exciting, wonderful and we’re very grateful for the support.”

Since 1993, the IEEC has worked with more than 70 firms, ranging from Lockheed Martin to General Electric. Representatives from Endicott Interconnect Technologies were among several corporate partners on hand for the presentation.

The CAMM facility at Endicott Interconnect and developments at the IEEC will allow the area to become the nation’s focus for flexible electronics packaging, said Jay McNamara, president and CEO of the company.

“This is just a tremendous, tremendous opportunity for us,” McNamara said.

Professor Bahgat Sammakia, director of the IEEC and the CAMM, said the grant will allow the CAMM to be fully integrated into the IEEC’s mission. The partnership is expected to develop essential process technologies and manufacturing know-how as well as demonstrate specific technologies and products.

“This initiative holds extraordinary promise for New York State and the nation and will aid in moving Universitydeveloped R2R processes and technologies to the workplace,” Sammakia said.

Sonnenfeld noted that it’s the excellence of Binghamton’s faculty and students that draws corporate involvement and then keeps companies involved with campus efforts.

Roger Westgate, dean of the Watson School of Engineering, said additional faculty members will be hired to support the new research initiatives. The grant, he said, expands not only research but also gives students industry exposure and internship and employment opportunities. It may also help some Watson graduates stay in the area.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of our industry partners,” Westgate said. “It does a lot for our students.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08