University of Rochester

Research Center Adds $65 Million to New York State Economy

September 27, 2001

The local and state economies have benefited $65 million from the work of a group of local scientists and researchers, says a report from the Center for Electronic Imaging Systems (CEIS) at the University of Rochester. The report shows that the added jobs, increased revenues, and outright savings on research, which were fostered by CEIS, quintupled last year's economic impact.

"We're very pleased with the effect the center is having," says Eby Friedman, director of CEIS and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University. "These numbers show we're getting a better bang for the research buck. We're helping to bring innovative technology in electronic imaging to the state's businesses, and ultimately to the state's economy."

The mission of CEIS is to benefit the state's economy by matching the researchers at the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology with New York State and Rochester region businesses. Some of the smaller companies might not be able to afford hiring full-time scientists. The center looks for a good fit between the work a researcher is doing in the lab and work that is needed by local companies, and helps facilitate a sharing of knowledge and resources. The businesses benefit by receiving cutting-edge research, while the scientists benefit by having additional funding to carry out their research.

The center estimates that it brought about $65 million in economic impact this year, up dramatically from last year's $13 million. The major portion of this year's impact consists of approximately $53 million of increased revenues and 32 new high-tech jobs in several local companies generated by the center's involvement.

The largest CEIS success story is that of David Williams, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University. Williams adapted the special optics that astronomers use to remove the distortion of the Earth's atmosphere on starlight, to remove the distortions present in the human eye. His research yielded a method of improving human eyesight beyond anything currently available. CEIS facilitated Williams connection to Bausch & Lomb, Inc., which is currently working to develop and market the new technology.

Dozens of other researchers and companies are working together to improve both products and cutting-edge research. Among them is electrical and computer engineer Mark Bocko of the University who works with the Buffalo company, PCB Piezotronics. His research into gravity wave detectors was transformed into ultra sensitive detectors. PCB Piezotronics was able to implement those detectors in the testing of automobiles in order to measure stresses and shocks that normal detectors can't sense.

Other areas where CEIS benefited the economy are the marketing plans and business plans for local companies developed by graduate students at the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration.

CEIS is supported and funded by the New York State Office of Science, Technology, and Academic Research (NYSTAR).