Standing at Stony Brook University’s Calverton Business Incubator, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Tim Bishop, joined by Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, and Long Island Association President Kevin Law, Accelerate Long Island Executive Director Mark Lesko, and Polynova Chief Science Officer Dr. Danny Bluestein, announced today a bipartisan bill to help translate the more than $1 billion a year of research funding secured by Long Island research institutions into successful small businesses and spur the growth of new science and technology jobs on Long Island and across New York.
New York State currently ranks second in the nation in university research funding – securing approximately $6 billion in total federal investment across research institutions each year – but only attracts 7 percent of the nation’s venture capital needed to grow successful companies. To help close this gap, Gillibrand and Bishop are pushing for passage of federal legislation called the Technology and Research Accelerating National Security and Future Economic Resiliency (TRANSFER) Act, which would create a competitive grant program for universities, colleges, federal laboratories like Brookhaven National Lab and non-profit research institutions to help scientists and researchers secure valuable business resources and training to attract private investment, bring their discoveries to the marketplace, and create new high-tech companies and jobs.
“On behalf of Stony Brook University and its four technology business incubators, I applaud Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Bishop for proposing this powerful new mechanism to accelerate federally-funded research and technology, so it can be translated into small business development and a thriving marketplace,” said President Stanley, Board Chair of Brookhaven Science Associates, which manages Brookhaven National Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy. “The TRANSFER Act will help research institutions such as Stony Brook and BNL advance technology transfer in the STEM fields such as sustainable energy, battery storage, and medicine among others, which in turn will lead to opportunities for our students and other young people to get good paying jobs so they can comfortably live and work on Long Island.”
“New York is home to some of the world’s brightest minds and best ideas to grow our economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This bipartisan legislation will help bring high-tech innovation into the marketplace, producing cutting-edge small businesses and new jobs. Equipping our scientists and students with effective business skills and access to much-needed gap funding will go a long way towards creating the next high-tech industry and a new generation of innovative leaders. This is the future of our economy, and we need to make sure it starts right here on Long Island.”
“We have some of the world’s most groundbreaking scientific and technological research being done right here on Long Island,” said Congressman Bishop. “We must do everything we can to foster that research and ensure it translates into the companies and jobs it has the potential to create. This legislation is a concrete example of how Congress can help foster an environment where innovative breakthroughs have the chance to see the marketplace. The result will be a stronger, prosperous Long Island economy.”
“Since more than half of the expected economic growth in the next decade will come from science and technology, this legislation is important to the future of Indiana’s economy,” said Senator Dan Coats (R-IN). “I am proud to work with Senator Gillibrand to make it easier for innovators to commercialize their products and get them into the marketplace. By helping federally funded research and development prove its commercial viability in the marketplace, we can open the door to the type of jobs that Indiana needs in years to come.”
“This legislation addresses the reality that every day, new ideas are realized at our universities, non-profit research institutes and national labs,” said Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27), who introduced the House version of the TRANSFER Act. “These ideas often remain just ideas because many researchers lack the resources to further their invention or concept. By investing in some of our nation’s brightest minds we can create desperately needed new jobs and small businesses. This bill will positively impact the federal taxpayers and local research institutions, including the University at Buffalo, RIT, the University of Rochester, and SUNY Geneseo.”
“I applaud Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Bishop for their commitment to fostering a high-tech economy on Long Island as their federal legislation will build on the Long Island Association’s efforts to transform the research conducted at our world-class research institutions into new products and high-paying jobs,” said Kevin S. Law, President & CEO of the Long Island Association.
“I thank Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Bishop for their leadership in advancing the growth of high-tech startup companies based upon research at Long Island’s world-class institutions,” said Mark Lesko, Executive Director of Accelerate Long Island. “The TRANSFER Act would take technologies from the bench to a high-tech startup company, providing funding for early stage commercialization efforts to achieve critical proof-of-concept milestones.”
There are often few resources available to help university researchers across the country translate their scientific discoveries into marketable products and companies. Many of our nation’s scientists also do not receive the training needed to launch their theoretical breakthroughs into commercial, entrepreneurial successes, causing a gap between scientific research and useful products for people, new businesses, and jobs. Critical discoveries, such as the laser beam, took years to develop into part of an everyday product like the barcode scanner.
The TRANSFER Act would help close this gap by providing scientists and researchers with critical resources to bring innovative ideas to the marketplace. The goal is to turn innovative discoveries into new small businesses or a partnership with existing businesses to help push the product, spurring high-tech job growth on Long Island and across the country.
Under the TRANSFER Act, five federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, would establish a competitive grant program to help universities, federal laboratories and other non-profit research institutions identify and grow the development and commercialization of initial discoveries, making potential products more attractive to state, local and private investment. Winning institutions are eligible for up to $3 million in federal funding and would be able to designate up to $100,000 for each technology development project.
This investment would allow universities to create or strengthen their “proof of concept” funds, aimed to help researchers prove that their research can be practically and concretely used, better positioning the technology for private investment critical to launching a company. Universities and institutions would also be able to use grants for important technology development activities like prototype development, testing, market research, project management, and navigating patent and regulatory laws, as well as providing expert advice in business strategy through mentoring and entrepreneurial education. Funds could also be used to license products to existing small businesses.
Since 2005, the Calverton Business Incubator at Stony Brook University has seen a growth of high-tech businesses. Dedicated to strengthening the economy of Long Island’s East End, the Incubator provides business resources and support for Long Island start-ups in technology and agriculture, including Graphene Laboratories, a leading global supplier of advanced 2D materials, and Goddard Labs, a small business developing technology to improve pathogen testing in fresh produce.
Codagenix, a biotech start-up company that develops computer-generated and synthetic viruses which drug makers could use to produce more effective vaccines, launched in 2011. Originally started from Stony Brook University Professor Eckard Wimmer’s research, the company is currently housed at Stony Brook’s Long Island High-Technology Incubator (LIHTI).
Polynova Cardiovascular, a startup medical device company that launched in 2012, originated from research at Stony Brook. The company, which will soon start operations at the LIHTI Incubator, is currently developing new technology to transform a life-saving heart valve procedure. Using state-of-the-art synthetic biomaterials, the company aims to bring safe, effective heart valves to the marketplace and eliminate the need for open heart surgery.