More than a decade in the making, UAlbany’s ETEC building has opened on a 12-acre expanse next to the Uptown Campus. The mammoth 246,000- square-foot facility is being hailed by President Havidán Rodríguez as an “epicenter” for tackling some of society’s most urgent challenges: climate change, weather emergencies, environmental threats and national and global security issues.
In addition to co-locating several of the University’s fastest growing programs and signature research strengths, ETEC is also home to an ecosystem aimed at fostering economic development and catalyzing innovative entrepreneurship for tech start-ups.
Step inside and explore ETEC.
In 2011, the Office of the Governor and SUNY System announced the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program designed to spur economic growth across the state and to strengthen New York’s public universities and colleges. First round funding of $35M was awarded to each of the four SUNY research centers (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook.)
UAlbany’s “E-TEC” (originally a hyphenated acronym for Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex) was born.
“This game-changing facility not only embodies the University’s nationally leading academic and research assets, it also represents our commitment to address some of the greatest challenges facing humankind and the planet.”
Anchored on the first floor of ETEC is the UAlbany Innovation Center, the University’s incubator for early stage, emerging technology companies, particularly those aligned with the University’s research strengths in climate and environmental science, biomedical and biotechnology, forensic sciences and cyber security, and advanced data analytics. Current clients include TruWeather Solutions, the developers of a micro-weather forecast platform specifically built for drone pilots.
The entrepreneurial hub also helps other qualified businesses, individuals and students move their visions to the marketplace through a multitude of entrepreneurship programs, including the Small Business Development Center, the Office for Innovation Development and Commercialization (OIDC) and the Blackstone Launchpad.
“This building is an innovation-driver. Being able to showcase the research coming out of here is the biggest and most important part of what we do.”
The modern, energy-efficient building is expected to receive its LEED Platinum certification (the highest level of sustainability achievement issued by the U.S. Green Building Council). With a nearly 70% reduction in energy costs, when including the solar array for power, ETEC achieves SUNY’s net zero carbon ready goal for new buildings.
One of the most memorable features of the building is the Science-on-a-Sphere, a 6-foot diameter globe suspended in mid-air as dynamic images of live satellite feeds tracking weather, real-time global cyber-attacks and other data-driven visuals are projected onto it. The sphere presents the types of complex real-world challenges that the academic endeavors housed within ETEC are working collaboratively to solve.
Leading the way in tackling climate change and weather-related research are the nationally renowned Department of Atmospheric & Environmental Science (DAES) and the preeminent Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) which comprise one of UAlbany’s signature research clusters operating within ETEC. With partners like the National Weather Service, a Center of Excellence in Weather and Climate Analytics, and the NYS Mesonet (the nation’s most advanced weather detection system), DAES and ASRC form one of the most prominent coalitions of climate and weather experts in the country.
”ETEC will undoubtedly give rise to innovative interdisciplinary research collaborations, attract outstanding students, faculty, researchers and staff, as well as help elevate UAlbany’s reputation through hosting national conferences and workshops. It’s a really cool and exciting building!”
UAlbany’s first-in-the nation College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) leverages its ETEC location across the street from the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Office of Emergency Management and the New York State Police. This proximity offers unique applied learning and research opportunities for faculty and students and enables CEHC to work closely with those agencies to help keep New York safe and resilient.
“Here our students have a unique front row seat to witness how policies and decisions are made to help keep New York safer, more prepared and more resilient.”
Special features: ETEC boasts an outfitted makerspace with 3-D printing, an Ops Command Center for emergency scenarios, and an interdisciplinary ecosystem of research labs including the Center for Advanced Red Teaming (CART).
The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) has a presence within ETEC through two distinctive academic programs: the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (the first to offer a combined degree in electrical and computer engineering within SUNY) and the Department of Environmental and Sustainable Engineering (the first-in-the-nation engineering program emphasizing the environment and sustainability.)
“Having state-of-the-art offices and labs in ETEC enables and promotes close collaborations between ESE faculty, staff and students with other colleagues in other units, like ASRC, DAES, and CEHC.”