Syracuse University Wins $500,000 Grant to Support Entrepreneurship in Energy Innovations

Syracuse University has received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to spur regional entrepreneurial activity relating to innovations in energy and environmental systems. The grant proposal was one of 42 selected nationwide to receive funding under the federal Economic Development Administration’s 2017 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

The award will support a three-year project led by the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) in partnership with CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity. The project will help start-up ventures and established companies develop innovations that monitor and control energy and environmental quality in built environments—homes, schools, offices, factories, and neighborhoods—and in related applications, such as food production, transport and preservation.

“Syracuse University is fortunate to have outstanding faculty, staff and facilities to support research and entrepreneurship in energy and environmental systems,” says Syracuse University Vice President for Research John Liu. “This award is a great opportunity for us to put the highest levels of scholarship to work on an issue of vital significance to our communities and world—and help position Central New York as a leader in energy entrepreneurship.”

The award builds on successes of a four-year initiative to catalyze the rebirth of a Central New York industry cluster in “Advanced Manufacturing in Thermal and Environmental Controls (AM-TEC).” The AM-TEC initiative, which was led by SyracuseCoE in partnership with six other organizations and institutions, engaged 66 regional manufacturers, created or retained 98 jobs and resulted in more than $4 million in increased sales.

“The new project will ensure the long-term vitality of the fledgling AM-TEC cluster by connecting innovators to customers in major markets, and developing and testing proofs-of-concept of envisioned innovations,” says Ed Bogucz, executive director of SyracuseCoE and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. Syracuse Center of Excellence, which will administer the grant in partnership with the CCEO. “We want to continue to build on our region’s historic strengths in thermal and environmental control-related manufacturing—and to encourage development of innovations promote healthier indoor environments.”

The project includes activities that are designed to support the development of 10 new ventures and 15 new products commercialized by existing companies. The project team envisions that successful results will include 50 jobs created within two years after the conclusion of the project and 200 jobs created within five years after its conclusion.

“CenterState CEO looks forward to working with SyracuseCoE on this important new initiative, which strategically targets opportunities to develop innovations in precision sensing technologies and data analytics,” says Robert Simpson, CenterState CEO’s president and CEO. “The project promises to create new linkages between multiple industry sectors in Central New York, generating new ideas and new ventures.”

The RIS program, led by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, seeks to build innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the country. This is the fourth cohort of RIS awardees under the program.