Binghamton University named tech hub by federal government
Binghamton University’s New Energy New York project has received a federal designation as a tech hub for its work in researching the battery and energy storage industries.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the designation Monday. Schumer said the federal designation is an important step in bringing back tech manufacturing jobs to the Southern Tier.
“When IBM shrunk its presence in Endicott, it was a devastating blow to the community. But now, for the first time, we're seeing that whole trend reverse,” Schumer said. “Because what's happening here can be every bit as big and as important and as job-producing as IBM was in its heyday.”
The designation is part of Schumer’s CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to reduce reliance on foreign manufacturing and expand domestic technology in semiconductor chips and batteries.
Schumer said the designation will allow the university to expand workforce training and further innovation in the battery industry. He said it will also bring investment.
“Companies that are interested in different aspects of lithium-ion battery research and other kinds of battery research are going to say, ‘Woah, Binghamton’s the only tech hub the federal government designated for this area, we’d better take a look,'” Schumer said.
The designation also allows the university to compete for over $75 million in federal funding. This comes after the university secured $100 million in funding last year for workforce development and battery research.
Binghamton is one of 31 communities and regions nationwide to be named tech hubs. Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo also received tech hub designations.
President Joe Biden also referenced the Tech Hub designations to upstate New York in a speech he gave Tuesday.
“We’re creating good jobs in communities all across the country, including places where for decades factories have been shut down, hollowed out when jobs moved overseas,” Biden said.
Nobel Prize-winning chemist and Binghamton University Professor Stanley Whittingham, who invented the first rechargeable lithium metal battery, said the designation could lead to Binghamton becoming a national hub for the energy storage industry.
“As I've told everybody on campus, I don't care about the money for this one. It’s the designation as a hub that will attract people to the region, get industry involved, get more faculty involved, get more workers involved,” Whittingham said.