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The preliminary, proposed design for the StanfordNYC applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, as seen from Manhattan.

The preliminary, proposed design for the StanfordNYC applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, as seen from Manhattan. (Stanford University / Ennead Architects; Image by Redsquare, Inc.)

Stanford submits plans for applied sciences and engineering campus in New York City

BY LISA LAPIN

Stanford this week is submitting its proposal to partner with New York City to build StanfordNYC, a world-class applied sciences and engineering campus that is expected to attract new talent to the university and to become a new hub of technological innovation and entrepreneurship in the United States.

Stanford's response to the New York City Economic Development Corporation's request for proposals calls for the 30-year development of a $2.5 billion, 1.9 million-square-foot campus on Roosevelt Island, focusing on graduate-level teaching and research in engineering, technology and entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on transferring discoveries to the marketplace.

Should Stanford's proposal be selected by the city in December, more intensive planning would begin for the new campus that could provide opportunities for the university to expand its faculty on the East Coast and to develop new research collaborations with New York industries, and the possibility of Stanford undergraduates being able to spend one or more quarters studying in New York.

"StanfordNYC will bring Stanford’s unparalleled track record in research, innovation and entrepreneurship to New York City, the world's capital of finance, arts and culture," Stanford President John Hennessy wrote in the submission letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Stanford University / Ennead Architects; Image by Redsquare, Inc. Aerial view of the preliminary, proposed design for the StanfordNYC campus.

Aerial view of the preliminary, proposed design for the StanfordNYC campus.

In a letter sent to all Stanford faculty members on Tuesday, Hennessy said that the StanfordNYC plans were informed by a faculty committee that worked over the summer on the proposal, which was developed in a very short time frame dictated by New York City. "Because of the scale and importance of this project I would like to continue a broad, active dialog," Hennessy wrote. "If we are chosen, the real work will begin."

The New York City campus is expected to house more than 200 faculty members and more than 2,000 students when it is completed. The StanfordNYC academic program is designed to replicate the innovation-inspiring, job creating, entrepreneurial culture that has been the hallmark of Stanford's foundational relationship with Silicon Valley and has spawned thousands of companies, including Google, Cisco, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.

Stanford will commit an initial $200 million toward StanfordNYC that will include a combination of startup costs and an initial endowment to support research on the campus.

An accelerated launch of the campus is planned for 2013 in partnership with City College of New York, where Stanford would locate its academic program while the new campus is built. In addition, joint programs will be developed by CCNY and Stanford in undergraduate entrepreneurship education and to allow undergraduate students at CCNY to pursue graduate degrees at StanfordNYC. Stanford also is anticipating additional partnerships with New York-area institutions and outreach to local K-12 schools as part of a robust community engagement program.

A faculty committee worked over the summer months to design an academic program for StanfordNYC that draws from Stanford's top-ranked programs in engineering, computer science, entrepreneurship, business and technology management. One initial emphasis will be on research and education related to New York's dominant industries of finance and media. Stanford's School of Engineering and Graduate School of Business, as well as its Hasso Plattner Institute of Design and Stanford Technology Ventures Program, will be located at StanfordNYC and be seamlessly integrated with the California campus through the use of telepresence technology and online education.

"We can create a community of scholars in an entirely new environment, generating the next wave of ideas and breakthroughs. Innovation happens when you are challenged by new problems, and look at solutions from new perspectives," said Jim Plummer, dean of Stanford's School of Engineering.

Silicon Valley venture capitalists have indicated that they would follow Stanford to New York City.

"It is no accident – U.S. venture capital plus Stanford tech/business entrepreneurship has helped transform the world economy," said John Doerr and Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who sent a letter in support of the StanfordNYC proposal. "If NYC selects Stanford as its partner for the next great tech/business innovation center, it should help turbocharge an already growing center of innovation which is helping extend our country's leadership in technology."

StanfordNYC would occupy an iconic, state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable campus on 10 acres on Roosevelt Island, expected to open in 2016. Of four possible locations put forth by the city, Stanford has selected Roosevelt Island, on the East River, for its proximity to Manhattan and Queens, easy public transportation access and its existing, diverse residential community. Space for teaching, research and faculty and student housing, as well as startup company incubator space, would be constructed and integrated into a natural, park-like setting with open space. Plans call for all buildings to achieve LEED Platinum status for energy efficiency, low carbon emissions and minimal use of water and other resources.

The proposal is in response to Mayor Bloomberg's call in late July for specific plans for an applied sciences facility in New York City. The city is putting forward up to $100 million to the successful institution as well as access to city-owned land. Stanford was one of 27 institutions that responded with an expression of interest last March, and has spent the past three months since the city issued the RFP developing its detailed plans. Stanford's 600-page submission includes detailed academic, financial, design and legal documents. The proposal was approved by the Stanford University Board of Trustees at their October meeting and was reviewed and discussed in the Faculty Senate on Oct. 13.

After the proposals are submitted to the New York City Economic Development Corporation on Friday, the city has requested a quiet period for review and evaluation. The university will be prohibited from sharing further details of the proposal during this period. Stanford administrators expect to travel to New York City after Thanksgiving to discuss their proposals with city officials. The city has announced that it expects to make a decision by the end of the year.