SUNY Poly wins NSF grant for semiconductor and nanotechnology education center

SUNY Poly was selected to receive $2.25 million in NSF funding for expansion of NEATEC.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly; Albany, NY) was selected to receive $2.25 million in federal funding by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the continuation and significant expansion of the Northeast Advanced Technology Education Center (NEATEC). Based at SUNY Poly and led by professor of nanoscale science Robert Geer, NEATEC will develop and implement credit-bearing high-tech education and training programs over the next three years in support of the region's advanced semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem. This funding will also support advanced technological education programs serving underserved and underrepresented populations, especially in Central New York, to help meet the workforce needs of the region's high-tech industries.

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"This grant is a wonderful reflection on the hands-on, innovation-centered learning experiences that are the hallmark of SUNY Poly. It will provide critical educational opportunities enabling individuals from many backgrounds to pursue employment in advanced technology-based corporations across New York State and the northeast U.S.," said SUNY Poly provost William Durgin. "And, by specifically reaching out to veterans, at-risk youth, and refugees, this growing program will make a powerful impact on many of our underserved communities."

The NSF funding awarded to SUNY Poly will lead to an expansion of NEATEC's academic program development, centered at SUNY Poly's Albany and Utica campuses, and will include the creation of a number of "stackable" credit-bearing technology-focused academic certificate programs for a wide range of industries related to semiconductors including power electronics, integrated photonics, silicon photovoltaics, and advanced LED lighting technology. It will likewise support expanded experiential learning opportunities with industrial partners and expanded community college and technical high-school partnerships, including critical academic developmental partnerships with Mohawk Valley Community College, Onondaga Community College, and Fulton-Montgomery Community College, as well as Fairfield University in Connecticut, among others.

As part of the funding, the NEATEC Technology Training Center (NTTC) will be established in Albany as a region-wide NSF Advanced Technological Education 'user' facility to train community college faculty in the delivery of NEATEC-developed curricula. This will include 'hands-on' educational components incorporating advanced mechatronics systems, an advanced vacuum and plasma-processing teaching toolset, and an integrated photonics test and quality control evaluation system.

In addition, and complementing the technology education programs, corporate partnerships will provide educational opportunities to those in the program and include anchor industry collaborators SolarCity, Soraa, AIM Photonics, United Technologies Research Center, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), GlobalFoundries, Tokyo Electron, and General Electric. Key partnerships have also been formed with veteran, community support, and high school education organizations.

Demand for technical skills has increased across the region, and NEATEC is focused on preparing the required workforce for the estimated 500 technician and engineer jobs that are expected as SolarCity ramps up its new PV gigafactory in Buffalo, NY. Another 400 technicians and engineers are estimated to be needed by Soraa for their LED lighting manufacturing site in Syracuse, NY. In addition, hundreds of technicians are estimated to be needed to support the manufacturing of more robust silicon carbide-based power electronics through the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium (NY-PEMC) and expand the U.S. government's AIM Photonics consortium.

SOURCE: Suny Polytechnic Institute;

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