Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SUNY Establishes Tech Projects

Empire State Development (ESD) and the State University of New York (SUNY) Research Foundation on behalf of SUNY Plattsburgh launched the “Adirondack-Champlain Telemedicine Information Network” (ACTION) in the North Country.

Congressman Bill Owns, New York State Senator Betty Little, New York State Assemblywoman, Teresa Sayward, Assemblywoman, Janet Duprey, New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and Essex County Industrial Development Agency were key players in developing the ACTION project.

The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) a cooperative health partnership of hospitals, physicians, and military medical leadership provided technical assistance for the project. FDRHPO already operates a successful telemedical fiber optic network under the FCC Rural Health Care Pilot Program.

The $9.8 million project will develop a long-term leased 239 mile telemedicine network linking 48 medical facilities in an eight county region. ESD provided $550,000 to SUNY Research Foundation to sponsor the project.

The SUNY Research Foundation selected the Development Authority of the North Country to construct the ACTION Network. The Development Authority partnered with several local telecommunications companies including ION, Primelink, SLIC Network Communications, Tech Valley Communications, and Westelcom.

Eight hospitals and clinics are participating with typical telemedicine applications that will include telepsychiatry, telestroke, telecardiology, and teledermatology. This project will prove to be invaluable in the Adirondack Region since there are long distances between hospitals and traveling in the snowbound winter months can be difficult. In addition, it is not easy to attract healthcare specialists to the North Country region.

In another innovative project, SUNY and the Research Foundation jointly launched the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) to support innovation across the SUNY research community and to accelerate the commercialization of inventions.

A significant obstacle to the development and transfer of university technology is the lack of funding for promising discoveries after government-sponsored support ends and before licensing or venture capital support is identified and secured.

Funding at this stage is needed to bring promising technology to market. TAF offers a means to assist the SUNY community by providing research funds for select technologies so that they can be developed and commercialized.

Proposals seeking TAF funding were submitted to SUNY’s Regional IP Commercialization Hubs for initial review. Nineteen proposals were presented to the Research Foundation where they were evaluated according to TAF’s guidelines. The Research Foundation announced that five diverse proposals were selected to receive a total of $250,000 in funding for the first round of TAF awards.

The recent award funding will help researchers develop a test to identify birth defect risks, a screening test for early detection of ovarian cancer, a new microphone design to improve hearing aids, a test for cells to create novel diagnostic tools, and a method to harvest vehicle vibrations into usable energy.

SUNY has also signed a new international agreement with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in South Korea to establish SUNY Korea. The venture funded by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy will offer graduate degrees with a strong focus on research in computer science, information systems, and technology systems management. The academic program will begin March 2012 with a target enrollment of 200 students in the first year.

In addition, the SUNY Korea partnership under a Ministry of Knowledge Economy grant is providing approximately $50 million for 10 years to work with the Pohang University of Science and Technology on a program to foster premium IT professionals.