Can Houston learn from and emulate Cornell's NYC tech campus?The NY Times has an article with the details on the Cornell NYC Tech university model, including close ties between commercial tech development and academia. It is an economic development project for NYC as much as an academic one, and one that Houston should consider emulating. The school is completely focused on masters degree students in the applied sciences - no undergrads or doctoral students - and is thus a perfect fit for catalyzing a tech startup scene.
But the most striking departure of all may be the relationship it sets forth between university and industry, one in which commerce and education are not just compatible, they are also all but indistinguishable. In this new framework, Cornell NYC Tech is not just a school, it is an “educational start-up,” students are “deliverables” and companies seeking access to those students or their professors can choose from a “suite of products” by which to get it.
Colleges and universities across the country — a great many of which are scrambling to find new ways to finance scientific research, as well as new ways to profit from the fruits of that research — are watching closely. In the last year, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has announced the creation of technology schools by both Columbia and New York University. And Cornell’s president, David J. Skorton, said he had been visited by representatives from other cities hopeful that the Cornell NYC Tech model might work there, too.
But for Cornell NYC Tech, that close relationship is not merely the desired outcome; it is the founding premise. “The campus was set up specifically to increase the talent pool in New York City,” Dr. Skorton said, “to positively influence the New York City economy.”
A longer and even more compelling NYT story on the pioneering Cornell NYC tech campus can be found here.
I really do wish Houston was doing something like this, and have written about something similar in the past with UH. Rice might also be able to do something similar right now with its BioScience Research Collaborative building in collaboration with the Texas Medical Center. And just as Cornell is in remote upstate New York but building a tech campus in the city, TAMU could do the same thing here. In fact, Texas A&M has ambitions to be the largest engineering school in the country, which should have great benefits for Houston. They want to grow from 11,000 to 25,000 engineering students. Maybe they'd consider a satellite campus in Houston, maybe even at the KBR site? Lots of possibilities. This would be a perfect initiative for the Mayor's office to champion if anybody wants to forward this post along...