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Upstate New York Cities Team to Pursue National Tech Hub Status

The Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo regions have joined forces to apply for a federal designation as one of 20 technology hubs in a nationwide competition run by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

(TNS) — The Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo regions have joined forces to apply for a federal designation as one of 20 technology hubs in a nationwide competition run by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The winning regions would share up to $10 billion in federal aid to stimulate investment in new technologies, including artificial intelligence, quantum computing and biotech.

In their application, the three Upstate cities touted the region’s emergence as a semiconductor manufacturing and supply chain hub, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said today.

He said the state Thruway corridor from Syracuse to Buffalo could become “America’s semiconductor superhighway” with a federal investment that would build on the region’s strengths in computer chip manufacturing and microelectronics.

In October, Micron Technology agreed to invest up to $100 billion over 20 years developing a semiconductor manufacturing complex in Syracuse’s northern suburbs. It would be the largest memory chip plant in the United States.

The Micron development in the town of Clay would be the largest private investment in New York’s history, employing up to 9,000 people and creating up to 40,000 more supply-chain jobs.

Micron said it decided to expand in the United States because of its ability to tap into some of the $52 billion in federal incentives included in the CHIPS and Science Act.

The same law authorized $10 billion in federal spending as an incentive to help stimulate investment by tech companies in places outside of traditional hubs such as Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin, Texas.

The Commerce Department set an Aug. 15 deadline for cities to apply for the tech hub designation and an initial round of $500 million in federal grants.

The application submitted by Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo would establish the New York Semiconductor Manufacturing and Research Technology Innovation Corridor, or NY SMART I-Corridor.

The consortium includes more than 80 public and private institutions across the Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo regions.

Some of the biggest technology companies in Central New York, including Micron, Inficon, SRC, Saab and Lockheed Martin, are part of the group.

Higher education partners include Syracuse University, Cornell University, University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Buffalo, SUNY Oswego, SUNY-ESF and Onondaga Community College.

Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate majority leader who pushed the CHIPS and Science Act through Congress, said the legislation grew out of a bipartisan proposal he wrote with Upstate New York in mind.

He sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Tuesday touting the region’s application and its potential as a tech hub.

Schumer noted that a study by two professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked Rochester (No. 1), Syracuse (No. 3) and Buffalo (No. 15) among the nation’s cities with the greatest potential to serve as new tech hubs.

“Each city has superb academic centers, and each brings with it a unique set of assets…” Schumer said in a statement. “Together they are a killer combination that can make Upstate New York a global leader for semiconductors with a targeted federal investment from the tech hubs program.”

The Department of Commerce plans to designate at least 20 hubs in the first phase of grants this fall. The money will help cities develop a strategy for the second phase of the competition, in which 10 of the hubs are expected to receive additional funding.

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