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Lt. Governor announces $7.75 million state grant for University Center for Advanced Ceramic Manufacturing and Education

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was the state’s messenger of good news today (Friday, Nov. 13, 2015) as she brought word from Gov. Andrew Cuomo of a $7.75 million grant to Alfred University (AU) for the construction of a new Center for Advanced Ceramic Manufacturing and Education at the New York State College of Ceramics. The award is supported by the fourth round of the governor’s NYSUNY (State University of New York) 2020 Challenge Grant Program.

“Gov. Cuomo asked me to be here. He believes that to move New York State forward, we need to invest in cutting edge technology, and no one can hold a candle to what you’re doing here,” Hochul told the assembled group in Harder Hall’s Turner Gallery. Faculty, staff, and students joined village, county, local and state representatives, and Alfred State College officials in applauding news of the funding intended to begin a new initiative of economic development in this region of Western New York.

“Ceramics are the foundation to the cutting edge technology that allows us to compete in the global market,” said Hochul. “We’re counting on you to take your place among the industry leaders, which is why we’re here to make this announcement. We are proud to make this investment.

“This will allow (students) to gain more hands-on experience. It is critically important to have a place to nurture students and give them experience, and also to start up and incubate (new businesses) and take them out into the open market,” she continued.

In closing, Hochul predicted “This is going to be the day we can say it all started. This (center) will be recognized nationally. The top scholars (in the field of advanced ceramic manufacturing) can say there is no place to go but Alfred University.”

The Lt. Governor was welcomed to Alfred by AU President Dr. Charles M. Edmondson, who noted Hochul was visiting campus for the second time in three weeks (the first to speak at an advanced manufacturing workshop). Friday’s visit, he said was “about improving the economy in this region of New York State: the greatest state in the country.”

“This is such great news. This is a tremendous opportunity. This will provide the horsepower to really help this region,” said Dr. Doreen D. Edwards, dean of the Inamori School of Engineering and interim vice president for statutory affairs, NYS College of Ceramics at AU.

“This (center) will allow us to establish new partners, to be more competitive for federal research grants, and to create and fill new jobs. This will increase the number of students completing degrees in engineering and art and design.”
Edwards noted the new Advanced Ceramic Manufacturing Center will strengthen AU’s ability to provide research and training opportunities that support the state’s ceramic and glass industry. The Center’s emphasis on creating products from advanced materials will support economic development in the region, she said.

Earlier in the week, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher joined in “applauding” news of the grant.

“NYSUNY 2020 is high-impact, ground-breaking legislation that continues to support innovation, learning, and workforce training for our students while further strengthening SUNY’s capacity to drive economic development in communities throughout New York State,” said Zimpher. “This new facility at the College of Ceramics will be an economic game-changer for the region while serving as an excellent source of applied learning and job training for our students. Congratulations to Dean Edwards and the entire Alfred Ceramics community on this much-deserved grant.”

Specifically, the Center for Advanced Ceramic Manufacturing and Education will:

  • Leverage the expertise and facilities of the University’s School of Engineering to help ceramic companies, and companies that use ceramic components, bring new products to market;
  • Strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the rural area between the Western New York and Southern Tier regions of the State;
  • Help attract new companies to the region through START-UP NY;
  • Increase the School’s ability to attract industry and federal funding for research and training in advanced manufacturing;
  • Provide students and working professionals with education and training in advanced manufacturing of ceramic materials; and
  • Increase the number of students pursuing and completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in ceramic engineering, glass, and materials science and engineering

This new facility will serve as a key component of the economic development strategy for the rural area at the intersection of the Western New York and the Southern Tier regions by serving the State’s advanced-materials companies, attracting new companies to the region, and facilitating entrepreneurship among students and faculty.

The College of Ceramics is well known for its expertise in advanced ceramics, a field that enables materials for clean energy technologies such as batteries, fuel cells, and solar panels; environmental clean-up through filters, catalysts, and catalysts supports; biomedical therapies including tissue scaffolds, bone cements, and dental implants; defense and security applications such as high-temperature electronics and sensors; and transportation through ceramic matrix composites for jet engines, for example. The Center for Advanced Ceramic Manufacturing and Education will build upon this expertise and also complement current facilities in the Western New York region.

In collaboration with partners that span industry, state agencies, and other academic institutions, the Center’s primary mission will be to get products to market as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Leveraging faculty expertise in materials’ design, processing and characterization, the Center will be well poised to provide a full range of services to new and established companies.

The Center will work hand-in-glove with the University’s Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology to expand services and grow its current client base, which now includes General Electric, Corning Incorporated, Lockheed Martin, TAM, World Kitchen, EnrG, Ceralink, Freeform Fiber, and Boston Valley Terra Cotta – to name just a few.