By GREGORY ZELLER //
Stony Brook University is bidding farewell to its longtime economic-development guru – and saying hello to a new innovation-and-commercialization protocol, starting with a union of its mighty research and economic-development offices.
University President Samuel Stanley Jr. announced Thursday that effective April 1, SBU’s Office of Economic Development will be consolidated within the university’s Office of Research – creating the new Office of Industry-Research Partnerships & Business Services and the new Office of Incubator Management & Operations, both under the auspices of SBU Vice President for Research Richard Reeder.
Assisting Reeder, particularly in matters of economic development, will be Director of Technology, Licensing and Industry Relations Peter Donnelly, who will assume the new role of associate vice president for technology partnerships.
Much more than housekeeping or semantics, the consolidation and related executive maneuvering are designed specifically to leverage Stony Brook’s considerable innovation ecosystem, which includes world-class laboratory research and a thriving system of incubators and business-development programs.
It also better aligns the university with SUNY’s strategic innovation and entrepreneurship goals, signaling “a new era in Stony Brook’s economic-development efforts,” according to Stanley, who noted Thursday that “a tighter alignment with research priorities and deeper integration with Stony Brook’s larger research and talent communities” will set the tone.
“This collaboration will expand the university’s economic-development footprint while broadening our contribution to individual, community and economic wellbeing,” the president added.
Several current Office of Research units – including the Office of Technology Licensing and Industry Relations and the Office of Grants Management – will continue to do their thing, working in conjunction with the new top offices to “provide greater leverage and effectiveness,” according to SBU.
The consolidated structure will focus primarily on “partnerships with new and existing focus areas, driven by industry, federal, SUNY and Stony Brook research priorities,” the university added.
Current focus areas include engineering-driven medicine, neural-implant technologies, cybersecurity and energy sustainability – the top industries of the new century and increasingly important socioeconomic drivers in SBU’s own back yard, Stanley noted.
“There is much potential as the economic pipeline between New York City and Long Island continues to flourish,” the president said. “And Stony Brook’s role becomes more prominent through research, discovery, technology transfer and commercialization.
“Our world-class researchers will have the integrated support needed to turn ideas into engines of transformational change.”
One ancillary idea behind the consolidation is the creation of more integration within the SBU research community. The realignment aims to clearly identify new collaborative research opportunities that draw together talent from the Stony Brook University Research and Development Park, the Renaissance School of Medicine, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and other Stony Brook facilities.
The consolidation was “made possible” by Vice President for Economic Development Yacov Shamash, according to Stanley, marking the latest feather in a cap that’s already helped create two New York Centers of Excellence – the Advanced Energy and Research Technology Center and the Center for Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology – and three Albany-sanctioned Centers for Advanced Technology.
It’s also one of Shamash’s last SBU feathers: After 18 years, the VP recently announced that he’s stepping down, with plans to hang around as an “executive advisor to the president on economic development.”
“Under Yacov’s leadership – and with the help of our legislative partners, Sen Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Sen. John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) – we have developed the Research and Development Park into a true research-and-development hub for companies and university researchers,” Stanley said. “The university is grateful for all that Yacov and his team have accomplished, and for laying a strong foundation for the next phase.”