IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

University at Buffalo Wants to Anchor $100M Federal Tech Hub

The university's president and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made the case for Western New York as a finalist for a $100 million grant that could lure advanced manufacturing and tech companies to the region.

University at Buffalo
(TNS) — University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi thinks UB is one reason Western New York should win one of the $100 million tech hubs planned by the federal government, he said Monday.

Tripathi says UB has the experts and research in all the tech areas that are growing right now, from artificial intelligence and data science to robotics, cybersecurity and biomedical sciences.

Tripathi joined U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at a news conference Monday to spotlight the region's status as a finalist for a federal Economic Development Administration Regional Challenge Grant of up to $100 million.

If the Buffalo-WNY Advanced Manufacturing Proposal is selected to receive a grant, UB would play a central role in building an advanced manufacturing ecosystem, Tripathi said .

"This is a plan to create infrastructure for a Western New York tech hub, infrastructure in terms of manufacturing, but also in terms of research and innovation," Tripathi said. "UB would definitely play a part in creating that infrastructure."

As one of about 50 finalists for 20-plus grants, Schumer said Buffalo-WNY is well-positioned to be a hub for advanced manufacturing and tech companies.

Schumer said he will continue to call attention to Buffalo Niagara's attributes to position the region as a prime candidate for the award, which would provide training for 1,600-plus workers in tech fields and make Western New York a hub for key industries such as vaccine production, industrial gases and precision motion control.

Besides the EDA grant, Schumer said he's also working to rally support for a bill he introduced that would create 10 $1 billion tech hubs around the country, which could include Western New York.

Schumer's U.S. Innovation and Competition Act would funnel federal investment for research and development into regions that stand to benefit most from a $1 billion infusion. He said Buffalo's manufacturing history, its tech training centers — like the Northland Workforce Training Center — SUNY-Erie Community College and innovation centers including UB "have gotten tech to pay attention to Western New York."

"Places that need the growth" and training programs to bring potential workers out of poverty and into solid jobs will have an edge in the competition for the EDA grants and the USICA funding if it passes.

"The business climate for tech is strong here," Schumer said. "If you locate a tech business in New York City or San Francisco, in six months someone will steal your employees. Here, we have a reputation for people staying with their employers."

Tripathi said he's seen UB's engineering school nearly double its enrollment in recent years, and many of those engineers would love to stay in Western New York.

"People want to stay here for the quality of life that they experience here," he said. "But there have to be jobs to keep them here."

©2022 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.