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NYS Task Force on Industry-Academia Relations to Eye Biomedical, Tech-Transfer Arenas

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This article has been updated to include comments from the New York State Governor's Office.

New York State Governor David Paterson yesterday issued an executive order creating a task force that will promote partnerships between industry and academia to develop the state's economy.

The Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships, established by Executive Order No. 19, will study best practices and generate recommendations on fostering business incubation, growth, and emerging technology commercialization, according to a statement from the governor's office.

Governor Paterson also announced that David Skorton, president of Cornell University, will serve as chairman of the task force; and Daniel Doktori, the governor’s director for higher education, will serve as executive director of the task force.

Skorton is also chair of the Business-Higher Education Forum, a national, independent, non-profit organization of Fortune 500 CEOs, leaders of colleges and universities, and foundation executives.

According to the full executive order, which can be seen here, the task force will consist of 14 representatives from New York State government, institutions of higher education, research laboratories, and leading companies headquartered in New York State, and will examine opportunities in areas such as energy technology, biotechnology and medicine, agriculture, and nanotechnology.

A spokesperson from the New York State Governor's Office told BTW that the office has identified task force appointees, but has not yet disclosed their identities because they are still being vetted.

The task force will submit recommendations to the governor on or before Dec. 15, 2009, on accelerating translation from basic research to commercialization, incubating new companies, promoting growing companies, and enhancing the collaborative university-industry environment in New York State.

Specifically, the task force will be charged with examining "existing economic strengths and competitive advantages of New York State industry with respect in particular to renewable energy generation and storage, biotechnology, nanotechnology, animal and human health medicine, sustainable agriculture, food and wine, and related areas," according to the order.

A spokesperson told BTW that the governor's office "expects the task force to focus significantly on biotech. It is one of the areas that has been identified for examination and thus it will definitely be a major focus."

In addition, the task force will examine "existing partnerships in New York between industry and higher education including an evaluation of such collaborations as found in the Centers of Excellence program, the Centers for Advanced Technology program and elsewhere," the order states.

The group will also study best practices in industry-higher education partnerships in the state and peer states nationally and internationally; and mechanisms and infrastructure for strengthening existing companies and fostering new companies in identified growth sectors.

Recommendations to be made by the task force are expected to identify ways to accelerate translation from basic research to commercialization and industrial applications, and develop new products, processes, and patents; as well as policies and regulatory changes necessary to enhance opportunities for effective collaboration among industry, higher education institutions, and laboratories, according to the order.

"New York State today competes in a global knowledge economy and our success will depend on how well we can generate new ideas and convert them into products and processes that change the way we live," Governor Paterson said in a statement.

"Our state is home to an enviable mix of higher education and research institutions – both public and private, upstate and downstate," Paterson added. "For decades, New York has been the financial center of the world. Now, we have the opportunity to play a similar role in the new economy where today’s ideas are tomorrow’s jobs."