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NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant

Binghamton University's Smart Energy Initiative

NYSUNY 2020 plan cover

Binghamton University’s NYSUNY 2020 proposal (.pdf, 365kb)

Executive Summary

Governor Andrew Cuomo and State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher have confirmed their commitment to New York state's economic development through the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program. This landmark legislation recognizes SUNY's unique role as a catalyst for job creation as well as the special importance of the research and academic programs of the University Centers as producers of new knowledge and educators of the state's next-generation workforce. The initial phase of this program focuses on the provision of $35 million for each of the four University Centers in capital funds based on approval of each Center's long-term economic development and academic enrichment plan. In addition, the plan also provides for enhancements to operating revenues for the campuses based on additional tuition.

Binghamton University is a unique institution. It is driven by its commitment to high-quality undergraduate and graduate education and innovative research that addresses real-world challenges that affect our community and state. The University is the primary economic driver for the Southern Tier, a region that has experienced significant economic dislocation over the past two decades. Thus, investments in Binghamton University have a ripple effect on virtually everyone in the region.

Binghamton University has laid out an ambitious agenda — the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant — that enables us to leverage the University's academic excellence, cutting-edge research and economic development initiatives to jump-start a new era of powerful and productive returns to the local community and New York state. This plan is essential to both the University's and the region's successes in the knowledge-based economy of the future.

Under the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant plan, Binghamton University's economic impact will increase $77.5 million annually. This will include the creation of more than 840 new jobs in the region in five years. The University's overall annual economic impact on New York state will reach $1 billion by 2017.

The key pillars of the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant include to:

Construct a state-of-the-art Smart Energy Research and Development Facility. The new building will fuel research, teaching and entrepreneurial activity in energy-related disciplines at Binghamton University. Specific areas of research will include, for example, the development of solar energy and fuel cell technologies, energy storage methods and improved efficiencies in computer and other electronic systems. Growth in these fields reflects the strategic interests of New York state and the nation, and perhaps most important, is the ideal strategy for driving economic development in the Southern Tier. Projects in these disciplines will generate additional federal and industry research dollars, producing a self-sustaining effect on job creation. The infusion of $35 million in capital funding from the governor and SUNY will play a critical role in spurring building construction, which will serve as the physical incubator of new ideas, new jobs and new companies.

The construction component of the project will support 252 construction-related jobs annually for every year of construction. These jobs include excavation workers, steel workers, concrete workers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, HVAC workers, tilers, masons, architects, engineers, site/civil engineers, testing agencies (e.g. soil compaction testers, concrete testers, etc.), commissioning workers to ensure the building is functioning as designed (lighting levels, air conditioning, etc.), administrative-related workers, etc.

Expand our academic mission to include enrollment growth of 2,000 students. Binghamton University receives more than 32,000 freshman and transfer applications annually, but can only admit 3,200 students each year. The University will increase the number of enrolled students by 2,000 by the year 2017.

Binghamton is perfectly positioned to enter into the major phase of enrollment growth outlined in the proposal. For instance, we have several new residential halls under construction that will lead to 1,100 new beds available for student housing in the fall of 2013. We have a new Engineering and Science building that just opened this fall to accommodate faculty research. Faculty in neuroscience are moving into a state-of-the-art laboratory facility as we speak, which will precipitate a 'domino effect' of renovations throughout our science buildings to accommodate faculty research, classrooms of the future and state-of-the-art teaching laboratories.

NYSUNY 2020 will also expand classroom space and increase the diversity of teaching methods (e.g., online, hybrid lecture and small seminar-based courses).

Implicit in this targeted growth plan is an expansion of the entire academic mission of Binghamton University in a strategic fashion in order to maintain the signature quality that defines our institution. This means that growth in energy-related disciplines will be balanced with growth in the social sciences, humanities, graduate and professional schools, with a keen eye toward driving key performance indicators — including graduate-student-to-undergraduate-student ratios, faculty-to-student ratios and time-to-degree — in positive directions. Not only will the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant spur growth at Binghamton University, but it will also add significantly to the revitalization of the surrounding community.

Strengthen existing partnerships and create collaborations with industry and other organizations. Binghamton University's partnerships are a key source of economic strength and vitality in the region, particularly in the technology field of electronics system design and integration. These partnerships have resulted in one of the fastest-growing research programs of all SUNY institutions. These partnerships have a real-world benefit for students, as they are the basis of internships and fellowships that give students on-the-job training. As a result, students are fully prepared and more competitive as they enter the workforce. Industry values Binghamton's research programs and has invested in their success. In fact, about 18 percent of Binghamton's sponsored research comes from industry, outpacing the national average of just below 6 percent. Every school at Binghamton works with businesses, industry and community organizations to make them more productive, more effective and better able to meet the needs of our communities. The support we receive through the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant will enable an expansion of these partnerships through new research, new academic programs and new outreach efforts.

Make an economic and community impact. The addition of 2,000 new students into the Southern Tier will have a significant social, cultural and economic impact. New students, drawn from a variety of backgrounds, will add to the richness and diversity of the cities and towns around the University. Their involvement in community organizations will help the University forge new partnerships with cultural, artistic and community service organizations and redefine the Southern Tier as one of New York state's cultural epicenters. These students will live, work and recreate in the Southern Tier, contributing their time — and their spending — to the social vitality and economic health of the region. The area will see new development in response to a growing student population, with new housing, restaurants and entertainment venues for our students.

Ultimately for Binghamton University, the Southern Tier and all of New York state, the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant will:

Increase Binghamton's overall regional economic impact to 12 percent. The plan will result in a $77.5 million recurring increase in the University's regional economic impact and produce more than $160 million in recurring annual impact for New York state. For instance, direct University expenditures for wages, goods and services, and construction account for a $600 million economic impact on the local community.

Add more than 840 jobs in Broome and Tioga counties. To keep pace with the growth of enrollment, the plan calls for an increase in faculty and staff hiring on the Binghamton University campus, totaling 385 new jobs. In addition, 455 jobs will be created in the region for a total of 840.

Produce an additional $6 million in new property tax revenue annually. The additional students and employees will generate more property taxes on an annual basis, thereby increasing the tax base without increasing the tax burden on individual taxpayers.

Solidify the Southern Tier and New York state as a leader in green energy research and development. The Smart Energy Initiative will bring together University research and industry expertise to generate new knowledge, create new businesses, and attract entrepreneurs and investments in one of the most promising areas for economic growth.

More NYSUNY 2020 resources:
-- Inside article, Binghamton University presents its NYSUNY 2020 Plan to governor, legislative leaders
-- Binghamton University's presentation (.pdf, 2.9mb)
-- Why does this plan matter to me?
-- Inside article, Governor, chancellor announce “NYSUNY 2020” program
-- Video of presentation
-- Gov. Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 plan
-- SUNY's support for NYSUNY 2020

Join other Binghamton University advocates in supporting NYSUNY 2020. Sign up to be a part of the University's advocacy group, the Think Tank.

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Last Updated: 5/17/12