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Binghamton’s IEEC gets $10 million vote of confidence from New York: Governor Pataki names BU one of 10 Centers for Advanced Technology

Binghamton University’s Integrated Electronics Engineering Center will receive about $10 million in state support over 10 years as a result of being again named a state Center for Advanced Technology earlier this month. The designation refuels the IEEC, positioning it to continue to grow its successes over the next decade, said IEEC Director Bahgat Sammakia.

“This designation is a sign that the state has a bold vision and intends to tap the rich potential of the science and technology across the disciplines,” Sammakia said. “It positions the IEEC to complement and support the efforts of regional industry and our new Small Scale Systems Packaging Center, the state’s first high-technology commercialization center, to improve the economy and create new jobs in the Southern Tier and throughout the state.”

The IEEC works with more than 60 industrial members to share important electronics packaging research and development breakthroughs, With a state investment of $7 million since 1996, the IEEC has helped to create or retain 700 advanced technology jobs in the region, creating an economic impact of more than $315 million.

The IEEC, which was established in 1991, pursues leading edge research in electronics packaging. Like all other CATs, its designation expires at determined intervals, and without redesignation by the state, the CAT program would have expired this year.

The IEEC is focused on the process of bringing a semiconductor chip, with its resident circuitry, to a form that can be integrated effectively into a larger microelectronics assembly. The range of research support and reliability testing services provided by the IEEC has attracted some of the country’s largest electronics companies, including IBM, ADI, and GE Corporate Research, as well as regional companies such as Universal Instruments, Lockheed Martin and British Airways Electronics, to the center’s membership roles.

Examples of the kind of real-world research and development support offered to companies by the IEEC include:

· Working with the IEEC’s equipment and staff, a New York State company did real time x-ray testing to determine the cause of connector assembly problems. The IEEC staff determined that the connectors were assembled incorrectly. The IEEC researchers were able to non-destructively identify the defect, which made it possible for the company to implement corrective actions in the manufacturing process to eliminate the problem.

· A company that makes dispensing equipment had a contamination problem with their circuit boards. This contamination presented a reliability concern and could eventually cause the machines to malfunction. The IEEC identified the location of the contamination and the cause, and then defined a process that eliminated the potential for contamination. The IEEC also developed a rework process that permitted the company to clean and reuse field returns.

· Working with a local company, the IEEC performed thermal, shock and vibration testing, which helped them update their mobile video recording system to one that had additional capability and improved reliability. The tests would have been very costly if done at an independent testing laboratory. The resulting improvements in the product resulted in a significant increase in sales revenue.

As part of its standing commitment to foster development of the US electronics industry, therefore, the IEEC is moving into new areas where micro- and nanotechnologies are the clear wave of the future. These areas will be driven by new development in small-scale electronics, including microelectric mechanical systems or MEMS, optical MEMS, known as MOEMS, and nanostructured materials.

The CAT program is part of an overall initiative to encourage greater technological and economic collaboration between New York State’s industries and New York’s research universities, Governor George E. Pataki said. The Governor announced that Binghamton and nine other universities in New York have been awarded newly designated Centers for Advanced Technology (CAT).

Russell W. Bessette, M.D., Executive Director of the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), said, “Under Governor Pataki’s leadership, the CAT program has become an extremely important component of the State’s high technology economic development efforts. The universities that have been awarded a highly coveted CAT designation will be key partners in helping to create a vibrant technology-based economy well into the foreseeable future.”

The CAT program, which consists of 15 research centers, has been successful to date. In a five-year period, New York’s CATs have helped create or retain more than 5,300 jobs and generated more than $1.7 billion in private sector revenues, cost-savings and capital expenditures.

As detailed in a request for proposals (RFP) issued early this year, New York is awarding 10 CAT designations to enhance universities’ ability to increase New York companies’ competitiveness by commercializing promising new technologies and create significant economic impact in New York State. The RFP was issued because 10 CATs required re-designation. The other CATs are not required to be re-designated at this time.

Based upon historical appropriations and subject to the availability of State funds, it is expected that each CAT will receive up to $1 million annually. Each CAT will be designated for up to 10 years to serve as a vehicle for transferring applied research in its technological focus from the university to industry.

“By challenging our research centers to focus their intellectual talents on the technological needs of the 21st century, we are further securing New York’s role as an international leader in high-tech and biotechnology research and economic development,” said Pataki. “These grants will support the world-class research being performed at New York’s colleges and universities and will complement our other high-tech economic development initiatives, such as our Centers of Excellence program.”

“As we move forward with Phase II of our high-technology and biotechnology job creation efforts, we are ensuring every opportunity for our young people to secure a good paying, high-tech job so they can build their future right here in New York State,” Pataki said. “With every new high-tech job we create, we can realize our goal of creating one million new jobs by the end of the decade.”

Building upon the State’s efforts to promote a thriving high-tech economy in New York, the Governor’s proposed budget provides strong support for Phase II of New York’s High-Tech/Biotech Efforts to encourage new investment and job creation in emerging high-tech and biotechnology industry in New York.

Phase II of the Governor’s plan includes: $350 million for a Higher Education Capital Matching Grants Program; a new Biotech Capital Access Program; additional support for the Centers of Excellence Program; and the establishment of a new High-Tech Council, as well as the establishment of a high-tech commercialization center at Binghamton University.

As part of the selection process for the CAT initiative, applications were judged on the basis of the center management team’s experience, the applicant’s track record in assisting industry with applied research and commercialization, the institution’s breadth of research resources, and the degree to which New York’s investment will enable the applicant’s ability to create economic impact in New York State.

The RFP sought proposals in six specific areas of technology that represent significant economic opportunity for New York State: information technology and telecommunications; life sciences, enabling sciences, and agricultural sciences; nanotechnology; semiconductors and microelectronics; photonics and imaging science systems; and energy systems. Binghamton’s IEEC focuses on semiconductors and microelectronics.

Institutions that were eligible to apply for designation as a Center for Advanced Technology included any New York State university, university-affiliated research institute, or consortia, that met specific eligibility criteria identified in the RFP.

The other academic institutions awarded newly designated CATs include:

Institution: City University of New York-City College
Center Name: CAT in Photonics Applications
Technology Focus: Photonics and imaging science systems

Institution: Columbia University
Center Name: Center for Advanced Information Management
Technology Focus: Information technology and telecommunications

Institution: Cornell University
Center Name: Center for Life Science Enterprise
Technology Focus: Life sciences, enabling sciences and agricultural sciences

Institution: Polytechnic University
Center Name: CAT in Telecommunications
Technology Focus: Information technology and telecommunications
Consortium Member(s): Columbia University

Institution: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Center Name: Future Energy Systems
Technology Focus: Energy systems
Consortium Member(s): Cornell University

Institution: Stony Brook University
Center Name: CAT in Medical Biotechnology
Technology Focus: Life sciences, enabling sciences and agricultural sciences

Institution: Syracuse University
Center Name: CASE (Computer Applications and Software Engineering) Center
Technology Focus: Information technology and telecommunications

Institution: University at Albany
Center Name: CAT in Nanomaterials and Nanoelectronics
Technology Focus: Semiconductors and microelectronics
Consortium Member(s): Einstein College of Medicine, Binghamton University, Alfred University, Stony Brook University

Institution: University of Rochester
Center Name: CAT for Electronic Imaging Systems
Technology Focus: Photonics and imaging science systems

The CAT program complements NYSTAR’s other programs to spur technology-based research and economic development in New York State; promote national and international research collaboration and innovation; better leverage the State’s research expertise and funding with investments from the federal government, foundations, businesses, venture capitalists, and others.

Governor Pataki and the Legislature have advanced several major initiatives to expand high technology and biotechnology business and job-creation opportunities in New York. The Governor’s Centers of Excellence initiative, along with Strategically Targeted Academic Research (STAR) Centers and Advanced Research Centers (ARCs), focus on critical emerging technologies that are expected to become major high-tech growth areas. Each Center is designed to complement other specialized academic centers in a seamless network of high-tech research and economic development.

For more information about the IEEC visit http://www.ieec.binghamton.edu/ieec/default.htm

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