Science Friction: NYC, schools push tech

Local universities beef up engineering and tech, but Mayor Bloomberg has his own plans.

The Varick Street incubator operated by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University fairly bustles as the young businesses that rent space for $300 a month per seat cram as many bodies as they can into each cubicle. CB Insights, a technology research company, one summer shoehorned nine people into a space set up for four.

The NYU-Poly site, established in partnership with the city, is one prong in an effort by local universities to become national, if not international, technology players. They are pouring billions of dollars into engineering and applied science programs—hiring faculty, building new facilities and launching initiatives that promise to sharpen their entrepreneurial chops.

“[We are trying] to bring New York City to the point where it competes with Silicon Valley and Boston,” said Jerry Hultin, president of NYU-Poly.


NYU's long-range plans call for a new engineering facility in Brooklyn. For now, NYU-Poly is focusing on a $38 million capital improvement plan and will add to its space at MetroTech. It plans to hire as many as 30 new faculty and expand enrollment by 40%, to 6,000 students, over the next four years.

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