On Sept. 15, State University of New York Chancellor, Dr. John B. King announced his authorization of a $450,000 grant to the SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF). The TAF is a fund organized by SUNY that invests in promising innovations developed by SUNY staff.
This grant gives funding to nine ongoing research projects by SUNY faculty that address issues such as sustainability and serious illness. This year’s grants go specifically to technologies involving the removal of harmful chemicals from drinking water, sequestering carbon dioxide, and the treatment of cancer and kidney disease. The new grant, the most recent in a long line of grants authorized by King since the start of his administration in 2016, highlights the dedicated work that SUNY researchers and professors are doing to address issues that could affect the future of SUNY students.
One of the lesser known aspects of the SUNY system, especially by students, is the research and development of new technologies done by SUNY faculty. The SUNY Research Foundation, which encourages staff to pursue new and meaningful research and teaching strategies, is the largest connected university research foundation in the entire nation. Since 2011, the foundation has, through its investments with the TAF, given over $3 million to help SUNY faculty continue to pursue new innovations and bring successful inventions to market. Many of these investments have already paid off. Since the fund’s formation, over 65 projects developed on SUNY campuses, have used the foundation’s assistance while moving towards commercial viability.
The projects have received over $16 million in partnership funding, primarily from private investors and government agencies and has led to the creation of 18 start-up companies. These projects aim to provide solutions to problems that directly affect the future of SUNY students. Just last year, Dr. Bandaru Ramarao-TAF- awardee-revolutionized bioplastics by developing a biotechnology that can create fully biodegradable bioplastics from cheap agro-industrial waste. According to Ramarao, “The TAF award has positioned us to create products from a fully biodegradable single-use coffee cup to the small clear window in a box of pasta.” The TAF award will allow Ramarao and his team to build a successful prototype of their bioplastic. This technology is one of many groundbreaking technologies that TAF awardees have put out just this past year. Other awardees focused on issues relating to RNA, cyber safety, T-cells and much more.
While SUNY New Paltz itself did not receive any funding through this grant, it is important to recognize the work of our collective SUNY family and bring to light an aspect of the SUNY system that many students may not be familiar with.