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State names BU a “Center of Excellence” for research

The University’s Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging Center will become a state Center of Excellence, lawmakers announced Tuesday in Albany.

Although the designation is not accompanied by additional funding in this year’s state budget, the news is quite significant nonetheless, and state legislators representing the area said the designation could bring millions of dollars to the University over the next few years. Binghamton joins five other Centers of Excellence, located in Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Canandaigua and on Long Island.

The Center of Excellence program was created in 2001 to serve as a bridge between research programs, education institutions and the business community.

President Lois B. DeFleur said she expects the University can leverage the recognition as it seeks funding from the federal government and elsewhere. “Small scale systems packaging has been a research strength for more than a decade,” she said. “Now it has reached another level of innovation and collaboration.”

DeFleur said the new title will bring greater visibility to the center and enable it to move forward at a more rapid pace.

“This is great news for Binghamton University and our whole community and I applaud President DeFleur and the faculty for working with the Legislature to achieve this high honor,” said Sen. Thomas W. Libous, R-Binghamton. “Being a Center of Excellence will enable us to access more research dollars and help to create careers in the Southern Tier.”

DeFleur noted that the recognition is the result of a collaboration with Libous and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell.

“This prestigious designation acknowledges the significant contribution Binghamton University is making to the commercialization of science and technology,” Lupardo said. “The impact of becoming a Center of Excellence will have positive ramifications in our community for years to come.”
Bahgat Sammakia, director of the center and a professor of mechanical engineering, noted that the designation as a Center of Excellence is widely recognized, particularly because the nanotechnology center in Albany has been tremendously successful.

“We feel that we have the potential to create electronic products that will improve the way people live,” Sammakia said. “It will change the way people build electronics, and it has the opportunity to create a lot of jobs in New York.”

He noted that the area has a high potential for commercialization and that the center already has 16 corporate partners, including Endicott Interconnect Technologies, GE, Kodak, Corning, Philips, Lockheed Martin and IBM Corp. He expects the center to continue to seek opportunities to work with New York businesses. Research from the center will help existing firms and may lead to the creation of new companies as well.

“This is really great news, not just for the University but for the region,” DeFleur said. “This provides a lot of opportunities for our faculty and students to be involved with cutting-edge research.”

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