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UAlbany and CNSE going separate ways

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by Lauren Mineau


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After a meeting of the SUNY board of trustees on Tuesday, votes decided to separate the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) from the University at Albany and make it an independent operation for the 2013-14 academic year.

Discussion of the split began in March and a final decision was made after delegation of an advisory board put together by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher which included members of the Board of Trustees, SUNY Administration, UAlbany, CNSE, and the Governor’s Office.

“UAlbany deserves enormous credit for incubating the growth of CNSE into the groundbreaking research and innovation center it has become,” said Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “Because of CNSE’s success, importance to SUNY and New York State, and its unique statewide economic development mission, this is a natural progression in its evolution. It is also a tremendous opportunity for UAlbany to build on its experience with CNSE and the start of a new era of reinvestment and focus for the campus. Today, we begin the thoughtful and deliberative work that is required for an undertaking of this magnitude and many details will need to be addressed as we move forward. I am confident that we are on the precipice of creating something that is new, exciting, statewide in its scope, and the first of its kind in public higher education.”

Although the instituions will be separate, CNSE currently maintains considerable autonomy within UAlbany and already has its own administrative structure and will continue to compensate UAlbany for student housing, general education courses, access to clubs, activities, dining facilities and other amenities. It is still unclear if CNSE will be a public instituion, like other SUNY school and what the cost of attendance will be for incoming and/or present students.

“This decisions signifies the beginning of a new relationship — one in which the University at Albany, CNSE and all stakeholders will partake to advance UAlbany and CNSE,” Pres. Robert Jones said in a university-wide statement on Tuesday. sunyLogo

As the transition progresses, Zimpher’s next steps will include creating a “Memorandum of Understanding” between UAlbany and CNSE, and empanelling an “Implementation Team” of experts from SUNY Administration, the Research Foundation for SUNY, CNSE, and UAlbany to address outstanding issues such as academics, shared services and governance.

Alain Kaloyeros, Senior Vice President and CEO of CNSE said about $18 billion has been invested in CNSE, including corporate funds. He said he expects to reach $500 million in sponsored grants in 2015 because of the new structure, up from $300 million this year.

In 2011, Gov. Cuomo announced that New York State entered into agreements providing for investments valued at a total of $4.4 billion from five leading international companies to create the next generation of computer chip technology at CNSE through the Global 450 Consortium.

 The split will not create any additional costs for SUNY or New York State taxpayers, according to the official statement from SUNY.


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