Golisano Institute for Sustainability Receives $5 Million in Regional Economic Award

Funding will help RIT further leadership in sustainability initiatives

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability will receive $5 million as part of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s funding award reaffirms RIT as a leading innovator in the field of sustainability and the Golisano Institute’s ability to spur private-sector growth. The funds will be used for equipment and test beds for the Golisano Institute.

“We thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the significant impact that the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT will have on the state’s economic growth,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “This funding will enable GIS to accelerate its important work in implementing sustainable product design and environmentally conscious manufacturing, making New York State companies more competitive and helping to attract new industry to the region.”

The award to RIT was part of a package of $96.2 million dollars coming to the nine-county region through the Regional Economic Development Council competition, which was recognized with the top award among the three “Best Plans.” Ten regional councils earlier this year submitted priorities for economic development, vying for a portion of $738 million in grants, loans and other awards. The Finger Lakes Council had identified the Golisano Institute for Sustainability as a regional priority for funding and one of its 10 transformative projects. All awards were announced this morning at a ceremony in Albany.

“The Golisano Institute for Sustainability offers one of the world’s leading facilities for corporations, universities and governments globally to collaborate in the development of new technology and innovative educational programs that enable sustainable design, remanufacturing and pollution prevention,” says Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability. “This investment will enable us to strengthen and expand our research partnerships and firmly establish GIS as a world-class resource for technology transfer and education in sustainable manufacturing.”

Destler, who serves as one of 35 members on the Finger Lakes Regional Council, notes that the state funding comes as RIT readies a new home for the Golisano Institute. Likened to a “living laboratory,” the expansive 84,000-square-foot building will house the Institute’s Ph.D. program in sustainability and master’s programs in sustainable systems and architecture. The facility features innovative “green” technology, state-of-the-art research labs, classrooms and conference rooms, a 65-seat auditorium and office suites.

Prior to today’s state commitment, RIT had been awarded a $13.1 million grant by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Construction Grant Program in a highly competitive national program, and $10 million in previous funding from the state of New York that was used toward construction of the new facility.

About the Golisano Institute for Sustainability

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability was established in 2007 with a $10 million gift from Paychex, Inc. founder and philanthropist B. Thomas Golisano. It houses one of the world’s first Ph.D. programs in sustainability, as well as master’s degrees in sustainable systems and sustainable architecture. The Institute conducts leading research in alternative energy, remanufacturing, nanotechnology and sustainable production. It is also home to the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute.

Partners and affiliates include Staples Inc., Caterpillar Inc., the Clinton Global Initiative, Eastman Kodak Company, General Motors Co., Xerox Corp. and Rochester Midland Corp., with program support from the Henry Luce Foundation. Visit www.rit.edu/gis for more information.