CUNY Plans Hub for Innovation

In an important step in its advancement of science and commitment to becoming a more entrepreneurial university, CUNY will soon open a new office aimed at helping faculty researchers fast-track their discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace.

The University is finalizing a lease to house the new CUNY Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship a few blocks from the Advanced Science Research Center now under construction. Like the ASRC, the Hub will be a University-wide endeavor and will help serve one the principle missions of the new science center: to foster sophisticated science that leads to real-world applications.

The Hub will provide entrepreneurship training to faculty researchers, enabling inventors to write business plans and perform market research, initiate spin-off companies and apply for Small Business Innovation Research grants. University officials say that helping faculty create start-up companies will ultimately benefit CUNY, generating new sources of revenue, and stir economic development and employment that benefits the city and state.

At its core, the Hub will be a business incubator, offering professional mentorship as well as an array of collaborative and supportive services. Initially it will occupy space that can accommodate about 20 start-up companies. The Hub includes plans to establish a fund to attract support for companies that are originated, sponsored or incubated by CUNY.

The Hub is an outgrowth of CUNY’s “Decade of Science,” a multibillion-dollar  investment in research that is transforming the University into a major research institution. Total research grants and contracts nearly doubled—to more than $400 million—between 2000 and 2010, and the University has added almost 1,000 full-time research faculty in that time, many through “cluster hires” targeting specialized disciplines of applied science. Some of these disciplines, such as photonics and nanotechnology, will be among the ASRC’s five initiatives. The $350 million center is the capstone of the nearly $2-billion capital investment CUNY has made in construction and renovation of science facilities across the University.