October 18, 2011

Cornell to Partner With Technion in Tech Campus Proposal

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Cornell will partner with The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in its bid to win New York City’s competition for a new applied science and engineering campus, the University announced Tuesday.

The Technion has a history of commercializing new technology and sparking start-up companies in Israel.

“The Technion is the driving force behind the miracle of Israel’s technology economy,” President David Skorton said in a statement.

The Technion will be a “programmatic partner” with Cornell, according to Provost Kent Fuchs. Cornell will own the physical campus, but “a significant part of that campus will be what we’re calling The Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute,” he said.

TCII will offer dual degrees and will be a “50-50 collaboration” between the two universities, Cornell said in a statement. The degrees “will focus on master’s students who want to commercialize and start new companies,” Fuchs said.

Faculty from both Cornell and the Technion will conduct teaching and research in TCII, he said.

The tech campus will also include programs outside TCII that will be run only by Cornell, Fuchs said. The campus will offer Cornell master’s degrees in fields such as electrical engineering and information science.

Fuchs insisted that Cornell’s partnership with the Technion was not a response to the recently-announced collaboration between Stanford — widely seen as Cornell’s chief rival in the tech campus competition — and the City College of New York.

Instead, The Technion’s history of sparking start-up technology companies made it an attractive partner for Cornell even before the Stanford-CCNY collaboration was announced, Fuchs said.

“[The Technion is] really good at commercializing technology and educating students who will go start companies,” he said. “If you compare us to Stanford, that is the one area where Stanford has a stronger track record, and so Technion adds that to our portfolio.”

Cornell is competing against more than 20 other universities for a chance to build an engineering and technology graduate school in New York City. Cornell’s proposed campus would be built on Roosevelt Island on land provided by the city. Additionally, the city is offering $100 million to the winner for infrastructure improvements.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he hopes the tech campus will allow the city to someday rival Silicon Valley.

New York City is expected to announce the winner by the end of the calendar year.

Original Author: Michael Linhorst