RIT receives increase in state funding for Center of Excellence

State-designated Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing works with industry to increase sustainability of manufactured products and processes

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A. Sue Weisler

The recently passed state budget includes a significant increase in state funding for Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing at Sustainability Institute Hall. The center will receive $500,000.

The recently passed state budget includes a significant increase in state funding for Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing, which was initially established last year. The center will receive $500,000 as part of the 2013–2014 New York state budget agreement reached last month between the governor and the state Legislature.

The center, housed within the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, will enable expanded research and technology transfer activity between industry and RIT. The technology created by the center will allow New York companies to compete more effectively in global markets as the environment for manufacturing competitiveness increases and the emphasis on sustainable manufacturing products and processes becomes more pervasive.

The increase in state funding for RIT’s Center of Excellence will provide a wide range of economic and environmental benefits for the Rochester area and beyond, according to local delegation members.

“The New York State Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing at the Rochester Institute of Technology represents the confluence of western New York’s economic past with its unlimited potential,” says state Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, whose district includes Henrietta. “The strategic integration of RIT’s intellectual resources with targeted New York state investment and private sector stakeholders will provide a unique economic advantage for area businesses to compete and succeed in a rapidly changing environment. RIT’s history is marked by individuals and innovations that continue to shape the world around us, and I am confident that the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing at RIT will build upon that legacy.”

“RIT and the Center for Excellence are developing the technologies that will merge economic prosperity with environmental preservation, and I am honored to be their partner in this effort,” says Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle (D-Irondequoit). “There is no question that the work being done at RIT will be key to our region’s future growth and success.”

“I applaud President Destler and the entire Rochester Institute of Technology family for once again being designated as a Center of Excellence in sustainable manufacturing,” says state Sen. Joseph Robach. “This designation is a testament to the impact RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability has had on improving our environment and our economic climate.”

One of New York state’s most innovative and ambitious high-technology initiatives is the establishment of centers of excellence at leading universities such as RIT. The centers support high-technology ventures through a collaborative approach among the state, academia, private-venture capital companies, and other private and public sector parties and are designed to encourage rapid commercialization of scientific breakthroughs and stimulate new job creation. In total, these initiatives are expected to leverage new private sector and other contributions of more than $1 billion.

“We are very appreciative and proud that our legislative delegation in Albany and the state’s elected leaders have once again recognized the significant impact that our university has had—and will continue to have—as a Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing,” says RIT President Bill Destler. “This funding and designation as a center of excellence recognizes RIT’s role as a critical economic driver in the region, and highlights the importance of sustainable manufacturing as a focus area for the state’s economic development strategy. We see tremendous opportunity for job growth in this area.”

The Golisano Institute for Sustainability was established in 2007 with a $10 million gift from Paychex Inc. founder, philanthropist B. Thomas Golisano. RIT was awarded a $13.1 million grant by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Construction Grant Program, and $10 million in funding from the state of New York that was used toward construction of the state-of-the-art facility, which was dedicated earlier this month.