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Governor Cuomo Announces $22.5 Million for Rochester Data Science Consortium

Consortium Will Create More Than 180 New Jobs and Leverage at Least $285 Million in Federal and Private Funding

Wegman Family Charitable Foundation Commits Additional $10 Million, Bringing Its Total Gift to $20 Million

Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced $22.5 million in state support for the creation of the Rochester Data Science Consortium on the University of Rochester Campus. The consortium will create up to 184 new direct jobs and is expected to leverage more than $285 million in federal research funds and private investment. Harris Corporation's Space and Intelligence Systems division will be the consortium's first partner. The project also includes the construction of the brand new 60,000 square-foot building that will house the new consortium, which will be part of the University of Rochester's Goergen Institute for Data Science.

"Data science is the new tech frontier, and with this consortium, we are further strengthening the Finger Lakes' role as a leading hub for optics, imaging research and commercialization to create high-paying jobs and support the local economy," Governor Cuomo said. "Across New York, we are investing in new research and technology to cement our status as a global destination for innovation and enterprise and drive economic growth for generations to come."

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New York is investing $15 million for the new home of the Goergen Institute for Data Science at Wegmans Hall, with $12.5 million through a new Upstate Revitalization Initiative Grant and $2.5 million for the project previously awarded through multiple Regional Council capital grants. The State is also investing $7.5 million in Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding to operate the Consortium for three years.

The Rochester Data Science Consortium is a priority project and a signature initiative in the Upstate Revitalization Initiative Plan for the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. This partnership between two of the largest employers in the Finger Lakes region will give New York State a competitive advantage in this growing field.

Harris Corporation, a leading technology and innovation company that supports both government and commercial customers, is uniquely positioned to partner with the University of Rochester on this project due to existing relationships in the Intelligence and Department of Defense communities. The company is also committing tens of millions of dollars in its intellectual property to the consortium.

In 2014, The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation donated $10 million to help establish the UR's Goergen Institute for Data Science. Today, the organization is announcing another $10 Million commitment to the project. The Goergen Institute is located inside the brand new Wegmans Hall, which will also be home to the New York State Center of Excellence in Data Science.

The University of Rochester has identified data science as the centerpiece of its strategic plans. Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor show that data science jobs are among the most in-demand nationally, with positions such as data analyst and statistician expected to grow by 30 percent over the next 7 years.

To meet workforce needs, the University created undergraduate and graduate degree programs in data science and is helping to train technical specialists, managers, clinicians and others versed in the field of data science. The University of Rochester is already among the most powerful university-based supercomputing sites in North America, thanks to previous support from IBM and New York State.

The University is focusing on three initial domains of data science research; health analytics; artificial intelligence and cognitive science and the development of new data science methods, tools, and infrastructure to drive discovery in science, national security and defense, business, medicine and virtually every other field.

"Across New York, we are investing in new research and technology to cement our status as a global destination for innovation and enterprise and drive economic growth for generations to come."

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

The Rochester Data Science Consortium will build off Harris and the University's shared strengths in optics, imaging and photonics, and is expected to have an initial focus on three main areas:

  • Multi-Intelligence Correlation/Analytics and Deep Learning will evaluate advanced techniques such as deep learning to structure and label the data and data analytics to extract information, trends and correlations within the data sets.
  • Transportation Analytics will combine this information with weather, traffic and other sources to evaluate the social economic impacts on companies, regions, people, and government.
  • Connected City Analytics will look at how data sets may be used for applications in commerce, law enforcement, and urban development.

Danny Wegman, the Foundation's President and Chairman of the Board, said, "Data Science analysis is a rapidly growing field, with all sectors using more data to make better decisions. Whether it's healthcare, education, or satellite imaging, the impact will be felt in every aspect of our lives. Higher education is a critical partner in helping industry to understand and analyze the mountains of data that will be processed to discern the right decisions from the wrong ones, and the University of Rochester is in position to lead the way."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Governor Cuomo's approach to supporting locally developed economic plans that capitalize on regional strengths is paying off. This collaborative project will also provide needed workforce development training for those hoping to work in the high-demand, burgeoning field of data science."

FLREDC Co-Chairs Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy said, "The Finger Lakes region is grateful for this investment that is bound to bring with it international stature in data science. This technology represents the type of innovation that is a top priority for both the FLREDC and the Finger Lakes Forward regional economic development plan. As we see the future happening now, investing in data science education is an important component of this project to put our emerging workforce on the right track."

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, "The Rochester Data Science Consortium is bringing together our community's key stakeholders within the data science ecosystem to further propel our ability to deliver innovative solutions for both private industry and public service sectors. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for his unwavering commitment to our community and I thank the University of Rochester and Harris Corporation for defining and executing the vision that has made today's announcement possible."

Senator Joe Robach said, "Today's announcement of the creation of the Rochester Data Science Consortium is exciting news for Rochester and Monroe County. By creating up to 184 new jobs, the University of Rochester and its first consortium partner, Harris Corporation, are once again showing their commitment to future of our community. The investment of $20 million by New York State allows the consortium to focus on innovative technology while moving our region forward."

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said, "The global economy is moving towards data science jobs, and the Rochester economy is positioned to play a major role. I commend all of our government and community partners- especially the University of Rochester, Harris Corporation, Danny Wegman and the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation- for leading the way to invest millions of new dollars and create more than 180 new jobs."

Senator Rich Funke said, "I'm proud to see this partnership between the University of Rochester and Harris Corporation take place. For the last two years my colleagues and I in the Senate supported this proposal," said Funke. "The Rochester Data Science Consortium will provide state-of-the-art solutions to Big Data challenges. It will establish technical leadership, train our future workforce, and develop tomorrow's technology that will grow our workforce and economy. Thank you to the University of Rochester and Harris Corporation for their partnership and to Gov. Cuomo for recognizing its importance. Also, thank you to The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation for recognizing the potential growth for our community and state while contributing $10 million to this initiative."

Assemblyman Harry Bronson said, "Today's announcement is encouraging news for local hardworking families. This investment in our region will not only create new jobs in the construction and data science fields, it will position Rochester to continue building a reputation as a cutting edge, 21st century economy."

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, "I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for continuing to fight for Upstate New York and Rochester. Through innovative partnerships like the Rochester Data Science Consortium, we are helping our residents access jobs while building safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities."

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "Monroe County is proud to welcome this new job-creating partnership between two of our most innovative local employers, the University of Rochester and Harris Corporation. This unique Consortium will help accelerate our existing efforts to attract jobs in growing sectors and demonstrate to employers far and wide that Monroe County is open for business."

For additional information on the Goergen Institute for Data Science click here.

For additional information on the Harris Corporation click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.