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Stanford exploring New York City invitation

In December, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city would pursue the possibility of attracting a world-class university to create a research and graduate teaching center focused on applied science and technology. Stanford is currently in the process of creating a response to the initial request for an expression of interest.

Stanford is evaluating an invitation from the New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) to explore developing a research and graduate teaching center focused on applied science and technology in New York.

On Dec. 16, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city would pursue the possibility of attracting a world-class university to create such a center, with the aim of drawing talent and generating economic growth. Stanford is currently in the process of creating a response to the initial request for an expression of interest.

"Innovation will be the driving force of the 21st century. Stanford University can play a major role in generating the highest-impact research that will propel the vibrant and growing economies of the future," said President John Hennessy. "Stanford has served as an intellectual incubator for the emergence of the Silicon Valley and has the potential to do so again. The opportunity presented by the city of New York is one that Stanford should at least explore. The concept as laid out by New York plays to many of our strengths, particularly the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes this university."

Hennessy discussed the opportunity at the Faculty Senate meeting on Thursday.

"In his State of the Union speech, President Obama said that maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America's success," Hennessy said. "Remembering we are a university that serves this entire nation, our challenge is to create more centers of innovation for economic vibrancy. That is a challenge that Stanford is uniquely positioned to undertake."

Noting that "we are very early in our discussions," Hennessy said that other universities also are interested. Eighteen other American and international institutions joined a small team from Stanford at an information session in New York Feb. 8 and 9. They met with city officials to learn more about the project and its goals.

Hennessy said he would be working with the provost and deans to consider numerous aspects of such a complex undertaking before arriving at a decision, including financial arrangements, academic considerations, and support and engagement of faculty members. Initial discussions with small groups of faculty members have generated significant enthusiasm.

"I find it extremely exciting, even in the absence of details," Robert Simoni, professor of biology, said at the senate meeting.

An initial concept would be a center focused on information technology, with a first phase of 25 faculty, 125 doctoral students and 250 or more master's degree students. The faculty would initially come primarily from the School of Engineering and the Graduate School of Business, including experts in areas such as information technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Stanford would use advances in technology as well as its long experience in distance education to allow East Coast and West Coast locations to share courses and support cross-country research collaborations, Hennessy said.

"The time is coming for universities to be in more than one location," Hennessy told the senate. "The university that figures out how to do it, and not just the way we currently have centers in Washington, D.C., or in other countries, but to really be operating in more than one location, that day is coming. The institution that figures out how to do that, and how to make it work well, will be in a significantly advantaged position."

Hennessy discussed the concept with the Board of Trustees last week.

The NYCEDC has requested that expressions of interest be submitted by March 16. A formal request for proposal process would follow. Information on the program can be found on the NYCEDC website.

Media Contact

Lisa Lapin, University Communications: (650) 725-8396, lapin@stanford.edu