Cornell University: Education and green tech offer Southern Tier renewal opportunities

Once a major industrial hub, central New York State’s manufacturing infrastructure has been woefully silent in recent decades. The area’s renewal may be on its way in the form of next-generation clean energy products, which is the aim of the Southern Tier Soft Landing Program, a new collaboration among the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, the Center for International Business Advancement (CIBA), and Binghamton University.

Speakers outlined plans and prospects for this development at CIBA’s seventh Global Trade and Investment Forum, “The Southern Tier and the World: Recharging Sustainable Economic Growth with New Battery Technologies,” held April 7 at Binghamton University’s Innovative Technologies Complex. The event served as an informal launch for the Southern Tier Soft Landing Program, and CIBA founding director Elena A. Iankova described the program’s purpose: to promote international business partnerships that boost economic growth and job creation in New York’s Southern Tier by connecting the region’s research institutions and businesses on green technology and workforce development. Iankova is also a visiting senior lecturer in international business at the SC Johnson College who served as a senior lecturer and research scholar at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management (2002-18).

A three-year, $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will fund Soft Landing, creating high-paying jobs in upstate New York by bringing 45 foreign green tech businesses to the region and guiding them through the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator while student teams engage with the entrepreneurs on specific challenges.

Andrew Karolyi, Charles Field Knight Dean of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and chair of the CIBA Advisory Board, introduced Global Trade and Investment Forum keynote speaker M. Stanley Whittingham, Binghamton University chemistry professor and Nobel laureate honored for his development of lithium-ion batteries.