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New York state bill advances creation of SU-modeled technology commercialization clinics across New York

July 30, 2010

Sara Miller
(315) 443-9038

New York state invests more than $100 million a year in university research, and New York state universities invest nearly $4 billion annually in research through government, industry and internal funding. The longstanding challenge, however, has been transforming groundbreaking research and innovation investment into commercially viable products and processes, and ultimately creating new businesses and jobs. 

To address this challenge, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation (S.6964/A.9991) this June that advances the establishment of technology commercialization clinics at universities across the state, modeled after the successful Technology Commercialization Clinic (TCC) program launched and based at Syracuse University College of Law. These new technology commercialization clinics will serve to assist universities, entrepreneurs and companies in the state in commercializing new products and services. 

The bill was sponsored jointly by Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D-120th District) and Sen. David Valesky (D-49th District). Since 2007-08, Magnarelli has secured state funding for the TCC to continue the work of promoting economic vitalization in New York. 

For the past 24 years, the TCC program at SU College of Law has provided the template for the successful transition of research from the laboratory into the marketplace by providing business and legal information and analysis to early-stage technology companies. The Syracuse TCC utilizes graduate students, supervised by faculty, to provide pro bono consulting services to businesses through a clinic-style arrangement for academic credit. Each semester, law, business and engineering graduate students enrolled in the Syracuse TCC partner with companies to analyze the technical, business and legal issues related to a new technology. 

Since its inception, the Syracuse TCC has undertaken more than 100 research projects on the commercial development of early-stage technologies on behalf of universities, federal research laboratories and technology development organizations as well as large, medium, small and start-up companies. 

"The economic boom associated with ideas created in research and development is at the commercialization and manufacturing stage," says Magnarelli. "As a state, we've allowed this to be outsourced to other states. The Technology Commercialization Clinics will give entrepreneurs an added incentive to remain in the upstate New York area and develop their businesses here." 

"New technologies and products are the foundation for job creation," says Valesky. "This legislation will aid us in transforming the investments our higher education institutions have made in research into commercially available jobs for New Yorkers."

The Syracuse TCC currently collaborates with Niagara University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Stony Brook University and Brooklyn Law School to offer a small network of TCCs that similarly advance the commercial development of new technologies in their respective regions. This TCC network provides both competitive advantages to New York state companies and a pool of technology commercialization professionals skilled in marketing early-stage technologies. 

The proposal to further expand the TCC clinics across the state was also recommended in the Governor's Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy Through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships' final report, issued in December 2009. The Task Force-composed of New York university, industry, government and venture representatives-looked at recommendations for creating an "innovation ecosystem" in New York state to convert its substantial research capacity into sustained economic impact. The development of a New York state TCC network was one of several suggestions for building an innovation ecosystem in the state. 

The SU TCC is jointly sponsored by the SU College of Law, the SU Center for Advanced Systems and Engineering (CASE) and the SU Office of the Vice President for Research.

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