(left to right) Edward Reinfurt, Executive Director, New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR); Jerry Hultin, President, Polytechnic Institute of New York University; Senator Martin Golden, NY-22nd District, Assistant Senate Majority Whip; Katherine Isbister, Research Director of NYU-Poly’s Game Innovation Lab and Associate Professor; Michael Balagur, Architect, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP
More than 150 leaders of business, government, academia and students gathered at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) to officially launch its new Center of Innovation for Technology and Entertainment (CITE) with a panel discussion exploring innovation in the $32 billion global video games industry – a driver of technology and innovation and a growing economic sector for the state. NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin, New York State Senator Martin J. Golden (R), representing the 22nd State Senate District in Brooklyn, and Edward Reinfurt, executive director of NYSTAR, cut the ribbon for CITE, funded by a $2-million state grant.
In his remarks, Bill de Blasio, public advocate, City of New York, congratulated Senator Golden and President Hultin for having the foresight and tenacity to partner on CITE and its innovation lab, and expressed his pride as an NYU alum in the partnership that has been forged between NYU and NYU-Poly.
“Investing in initiatives like CITE that foster collaboration between academia and industry ensures that New York will remain among the leading states as a hub of innovation,” said Senator Golden.
President Hultin stated: “With CITE, NYU-Poly’s researchers, students and industry partners are well poised to contribute to the economic growth of New York. CITE will facilitate the collaborative development of ground-breaking digital gaming innovations and new media technologies with tangible commercial applications.”
New York State is home to a thriving game design and development community that includes Kaos Studios, Take-Two Interactive Software, Atari, Large Animal Games, Zynga and a chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), among others. According to a recent report from the Entertainment Software Association, the industry employs 5,474 people either directly or indirectly in the state; it contributed nearly $270 million to the state economy in 2009, and the sector has grown at an annual rate of approximately 5 percent since 2005.
CITE will showcase the invention, innovation and entrepreneurship, or i2e, philosophy that permeates NYU-Poly’s programs and curricula. The centerpiece of CITE is the Game Innovation Lab, a dynamic space dedicated to research and learning. The lab’s core activities are grounded in computer science, engineering and user experience. Participants include researchers and educators from allied disciplines as well as gaming industry partners.
The New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation’s Reinfurt lauded CITE as an important model of economic leadership at the university level that will help advance the “culture of entrepreneurship we need to create throughout the State.”
Bringing greetings from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Reinfurt quoted an excerpt from a letter from the governor which read, “The launch of the CITE Game Innovation Lab is exciting for many students who will benefit from this resource for developing new technologies based on challenges to innovation and creativity. It also represents an impressive approach to thinking outside the box, in terms of exploring products and services that have future potential. I know that it will be a place where American ingenuity will grow and flourish among tomorrow’s technological leaders, and I commend the University for continually expanding the horizons of higher education.”
Key features of CITE, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, include a dynamic media display wall, measuring more than12.5 feet wide by 5 feet high, that will provide glimpses of the work being developed inside; a high-tech “living room” where researches and students can evaluate and discuss prototypes and showcase their work; a 3,000 square foot open floor plan with a flexible technical grid to integrate teaching and research areas with projection, large shared monitors, moveable smart boards and modular furnishings; and a state-of-the-art Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)/Video Quality Lab.
NYU-Poly has a long-standing tradition of leveraging technical innovations to spur entrepreneurial activity. For 28 years, the Center for Advanced Technology in Telecommunications (CATT) at NYU-Poly has successfully fostered industry/university partnerships and education to commercialize its research. With over $1 million in annual funding from The New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and similar funding from industry for research and education, CATT has emerged as a leading research institution in wireless and wireline communication networks, digital communications, integrated and secure information technologies and multi-media applications and services.
To officially launch CITE, a panel discussion highlighted collaboration between academia and the digital gaming industry, particularly toward growing the industry in New York. NYU-Poly’s Katherine Isbister, research director of NYU-Poly’s brand new Game Innovation Lab, and an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Digital Media (Humanities and Social Science) and Computer Science and Engineering Departments, moderated the discussion with: Chris Cross, a lead designer at Kaos Studios and a 20-year veteran in the video game industry; Frank Lantz, director of the NYU Game Center and creative director of Zynga New York; and journalist Evan Narcisse, who writes about video games, comic books and pop culture for Essence, AOL, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and Crispy Gamer.
“New York City is just starting to develop its own personality as a gaming community,” said Lantz. “I can see the city growing into a world capital of game development in that same way it is for other cultural forms – art, literature, fashion.”
Among other entrepreneurial initiatives at NYU-Poly are its business incubators that provide the guidance, expertise and resources that organizations need to grow into successful ventures that expand the New York City economy and accelerate the commercialization of technology developed by faculty, students, alumni and other entrepreneurs. NYU-Poly started the Brooklyn Enterprise on Science and Technology (BEST), its first business incubator, at its downtown Brooklyn campus in 2004. In 2009, the Institute partnered with New York City and Trinity Real Estate to open a second incubator, at 160 Varick Street in Manhattan. Also in 2009, NYU-Poly started the New York City Accelerator for a Clean Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE) with $1.6 million in seed funding from the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA). NYC ACRE supports clean-technology and renewable energy startups while building the economic sector within New York City.
NYU-Poly also hosts the NYC Media Lab, a consortium with the NYC Economic Development Corporation and Columbia University which fosters research and collaboration in the sector among universities and the city’s 10,000 media companies. NYU-Poly is also a partner in the Urban Innovation Technology Center, another city initiative that connects building owners and technology companies to drive clean technology innovation and commercialization. Additionally, NYU-Poly is among the public and private partners of NYC Seed, which provides funding, mentoring and support to create the next technology companies in New York City.
About Polytechnic Institute of New York University
Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University), an affiliate of New York University, is a comprehensive school of engineering, applied sciences, technology and research, and is rooted in a 157-year tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship: i2e. The institution, founded in 1854, is the nation’s second-oldest private engineering school. In addition to its main campus in New York City at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it also offers programs at sites throughout the region and around the globe. Globally, NYU-Poly has programs in Israel, China and is an integral part of NYU's campus in Abu Dhabi.
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