Governor David Paterson’s Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy Through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships is beginning to forge an agenda.
While events and activities of the task force remain unpublished, sources familiar with the work of the Task Force lead by Cornell University President Daniel Skorton suggest the group will primarily focus on identifying new funding streams for partnerships, rather than recommending new government expenditures. While such recommendations are not prohibited to the task force, the group is operating under the realization of current and growing state budget deficits.
Three conceptual themes are emerging within the task force.
First, the task force is looking at a limited number of “micro-ideas” for partnership. These micro-ideas are concerned with specific projects, with very specific geographical considerations, organizations involved and known costs. The task force expects to point out currently engaged projects and offer pointed recommendations for improving those projects.
A second theme identified by the task force are “macro-ideas,” meaning those concerns related to the environment through which higher education-industry partnerships can organically evolve. Early indications are that task force members are being confronted with the need for greater seed funding and liquidity of venture capital needed to launch new businesses.
Finally, the task force is concerned with what it calls “strategic ideas.” By this task force members seem to mean a “micro” approach applied to a regional “macro” environment. Under this rubric, the task force is gathering information about particular industry clusters that are under-developed in competing states, yet in which New York could exploit some pre-existing advantage.
The final report of the task force is expected to reach the Governor by December 15 of this year. To meet that aggressive deadline the task force will need to announce dates for its public hearings very soon.