Over the last two decades, a broad partnership of public, academic, and industry leaders in the Albany, New York, region have built “Tech Valley,” a cluster of the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing operations in the world and one of the nation’s preeminent centers of nanotechnology R&D.1 Developed around the nucleus of significant state and private sector investments in nanotechnology research facilities, Tech Valley has already drawn major semiconductor firms and organizations to the New York’s Capital District.2 The impact of this cluster on regional economic development and employment has attracted widespread attention. Forbes magazine has ranked the region as having one of the nation’s highest concentrations of high value jobs.3
As a part of its study of state and regional growth strategies, the National Academies STEP Board convened a conference in Troy, New York to learn more about how New York’s Capital District is renewing its economy. The conference brought together the leading academic institutions and the state’s business and political leaders, along with high-level U.S. government officials and others positioned to help drive innovation, business formation, and growth. These participants brought their own unique perspectives on the
1Members of the cluster include SUNY-Albany of the State University of New York, and one of its campuses, the new College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE); IBM, the initial industry member to engage in the Albany region; the SEmiconductor MAnufacturing TECHnology consortium, of SEMATECH, formed in 1987 as a public-private partnership to strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry; GlobalFoundries, one of the world’s largest and newest semiconductor production facilities; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the country’s oldest technological research institute.
2“New York’s Capital District, also known as the Capital Region, is a region in upstate New York that generally refers to the four counties surrounding Albany, the capital of the state: Albany County, Schenectady County, Rensselaer County, and Saratoga County. Often the other counties of the Albany-Schenectady-Amsterdam Combined Statistical Area and Greene County are included, especially for economic and demographic compilations and regional planning.” Source: Wikipedia.
3See Forbes, “The Best Cities for Jobs,” May 2, 2011. The Brookings Institution has also recognized the region as having the highest concentration of clean-tech jobs in the nation. See Mark Muro, Jonathan Rothwell, and Devashree Saha, “Sizing the Clean Economy, National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment,” Washington DC: The Brookings Institution, 2011.