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10-20-2011

New York State Lt. Gov. Duffy Joins Announcement of New Alliance between Clarkson University and Beacon Institute

Increased Clarkson presence in Hudson Valley a boon for economic development

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/beacon-clarkson.jpg .]

(Beacon, NY - October 20, 2011):  Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries and Clarkson University announced today they have expanded their education and operational partnership in order to advance commercialization of emerging real-time river monitoring sensor technology, new academic programs and long-term public policy solutions to protect waterways. Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries - Clarkson University will provide far-reaching environmental and economic benefits to New York State under a new name and operational structure that will establish New York as the leader in research and education for water innovation.

Charles North, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce; Brian Ruder, Chair, Beacon Institute; Tony Collins, President, Clarkson University; Lt. Governor Robert Duffy; Timothy Sugrue, President and CEO, Beacon Institute at Clarkson University; John Cronin, Beacon Institute Fellow at Clarkson University.Lt. Governor Robert Duffy joined the celebratory event that took place at Denning’s Point, part of the New York State Hudson Highlands Park located on the Hudson River in Beacon, NY.  The goals of the partnership align to the priorities in Governor Cuomo’s administration to drive economic growth and jobs through robust collaboration among private sector, university and public interests. Under a new name and operational structure, Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries - Clarkson University will establish key footholds in the Hudson Valley, Capital District and North Country regions as well as outreach beyond New York State.

In 2008, Clarkson University and a team of its researchers joined the River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON) collaboration started by Beacon Institute and IBM. Together, the partners established a first-of-its-kind real-time environmental monitoring network for rivers and estuaries that allows for continuous monitoring of physical, chemical and biological data from points in New York's Hudson, Mohawk and St. Lawrence Rivers via an integrated network of sensors, robotics, mobile monitoring and computational technology deployed in the rivers.
 
“Beacon Institute - Clarkson University and its REON system model the kind of collaboration among academic, industry and government that is at the core of Governor Cuomo’s regional economic development initiatives,” said Anthony G. Collins, President of Clarkson University and a Co-Chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. “This strategic alliance recognizes that universities must do more than create new knowledge, but also must lead in developing intellectual property, transferring technology to the marketplace and becoming a central part of the economic enterprise that values innovation, creativity and wealth for society.  New legislation enables Clarkson University to utilize existing Dormitory Authority funding to provide improved facilities for REON design, fabrication, testing and commercialization of new technology.  This will take place in Clarkson’s historic Old Main building on the University's Potsdam campus.  Advanced real-time water monitoring and reporting platforms will be launched throughout the region’s primary waterways as force multipliers in identifying the health of the watershed. We are deeply grateful to Assemblywoman Addie Russell and Senator Joe Griffo for sponsoring this legislation, and to Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Duffy for their tremendous support.” 

“The strategic plan that has guided Beacon Institute’s growth since its founding in 2000 called for a strong university partner to enhance its programs and facilities,” said Beacon Institute Chairman Brian Ruder. “With this strategic alliance, President Collins and the Clarkson University Board of Trustees under the leadership of Chair Thomas E. Holliday have demonstrated tremendous commitment to the Institute itself and to further developing REON for the environmental and economic benefit of New York State, and indeed, the world.”  The REON system and technology are designed to be replicable for rivers and estuaries worldwide. Korea and China have sent scientists and engineers to visit Beacon Institute’s research team to learn more about REON’s applications. 

“Since its founding, Beacon Institute has sought a university partner who will help advance its technological and scientific innovation mission," said Beacon Institute Founding Director John Cronin, an internationally known environmentalist and former Hudson Riverkeeper. “Our alliance with Clarkson University means great things for the State of New York, and will solidly place on the world stage our advancements in research, policy and education.” Under the new alliance, Cronin will join Clarkson’s faculty as a Beacon Institute Fellow as well as retain his relationship at Pace University, where he serves as Senior Fellow for Environmental Affairs.

Clarkson University Business School Dean Timothy Sugrue, Ph.D., a West Point graduate and successful entrepreneurial leader, will become the newly aligned Institute’s Chief Executive Officer, with responsibility for R&D oversight and commercial partnership development. The Institute will retain a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit designation, as well as its operations in Beacon and Troy.

Dr. Sugrue said, “This public-private partnership in Beacon represents the future.  The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries has developed a strong brand in environmental stewardship.  Clarkson University’s involvement will greatly enhance the Institute’s depth in science, technology and educational outreach. Together with the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, we intend to do great things for the State of New York and Dutchess County. We intend to be a willing partner to all those organizations who seek to further the joint aims of clean water, economic development and technology education. Though we have global aspirations in these areas, the center of our efforts remains here at Beacon.”

Dr. Sharon Nunes, IBM’s Vice President for Global Government and Smarter Cities Strategy, also announced at the event that IBM will invest in the development of a Green Data Center at Clarkson University.  She said, “IBM has the ability to provide the deep computing and analytics that are necessary for smarter water management. We applaud the intensified commitment to fully develop REON’s potential and stand ready to support this strategic alliance.” IBM has been a key partner in Beacon Institute’s vision by providing the cyber-infrastructure and data backbone for the massive amounts of data generated by the real-time system. The New York company is also the single largest employer of Clarkson graduates and actively engaged in Clarkson’s research enterprise.    

“I am delighted that Clarkson University's many strengths will be added to the long collaboration Pace has enjoyed with Beacon Institute,” said Pace University President Stephen J. Friedman. “Innovation, education, and public policy are inseparable in the 21st century, especially in forming the environmental future of the planet.”

“I applaud this new strategic alliance, which is a perfect win across the board for Beacon Institute, Clarkson University and New York State,” said Congressman Paul Tonko of New York’s 21st Congressional District. “With Clarkson’s research, development and commercialization strength, President Collins’ deep commitment to the Governor’s economic development priorities and John Cronin’s policy expertise, the new Institute and REON are uniquely positioned to change the face of water resources management on the planet.” 

“Beacon Institute’s partnership with Clarkson University will help further the future of environmental science through design and engineering,” said Joe Martens, Commissioner of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation. “Together, Beacon Institute and Clarkson University are pioneering best practices for innovative real-time water monitoring and management solutions that will complement DEC’s own monitoring through the Hudson River Estuary Program.”

“Beacon Institute’s Center for Environmental Innovation and Education at Denning’s Point has brought new life and energy to an historically and ecologically significant portion of the Hudson Highlands State Park,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “We look forward to our continued partnership with Beacon Institute and Clarkson University.”

“Dutchess County government has enjoyed a productive partnership with the Beacon Institute since its inception, when we crafted the winning state application (out of 21 submitted) to locate the Institute at Denning’s Point. Dutchess also provided significant county funding toward the construction of the Center for Environmental Innovation and Education, enabling the Beacon Institute to leverage other funding sources for the building’s successful completion,” said Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus.  “Today’s announcement of a new collaboration and partnership with such an exceptional institution as Clarkson University is a win for the Beacon Institute, and further exemplifies the original expectations and advantages for Dutchess County and the Hudson River Valley region.”

“I am delighted to welcome Clarkson University to Dutchess County,” said John MacEnroe, President of Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation. “Clarkson's role as New York's pre-eminent applied science research university could not be a better fit for the Beacon Institute. John Cronin, Dr. Collins and Dr. Sugrue bring vision, science and technology to one of the most vibrant regions of our state. The benefits to the Hudson Valley will be immense.”

“Beacon Institute is integral to the economic and cultural revitalization of the city,” said Steve Gold, Mayor of Beacon. “In addition to its ground-breaking river research, Beacon Institute is a good neighbor, opening the doors of its Main Street gallery to community groups and renovating the beautiful ‘green’ Center for Environmental Innovation and Education on Denning’s Point to create a new visitor center and education space for a well-loved state park. We welcome Clarkson University’s strategic alliance with Beacon Institute and look forward to expansion of REON and the continued transformation of Denning’s Point.”

About Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries - Clarkson University:
Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries - Clarkson University, with offices in Beacon and Troy, New York, is a not-for-profit environmental research organization engaging scientists, engineers, educators and policy experts in collaborative work focusing on real-time monitoring of river ecosystems. It aims to make the Hudson Valley a global center for scientific and technological innovation that advances research, education and public policy regarding rivers and estuaries. www.bire.org

About Clarkson University:
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise. www.clarkson.edu

Photo caption: (left to right) Charles North, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce; Brian Ruder, Chair, Beacon Institute; Tony Collins, President, Clarkson University; Lt. Governor Robert Duffy; Timothy Sugrue, President and CEO, Beacon Institute at Clarkson University; John Cronin, Beacon Institute Fellow at Clarkson University.

Media Contacts:

Kathleen Hickey
Chief Communications Officer
Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries - Clarkson University
845-838-1600 ext. 15
khickey@bire.org


Kelly O. Chezum
Vice President for External Relations
Clarkson University
315-268-4483
chezumk@clarkson.edu

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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