Google Inc. is donating space in its New York headquarters to be used as the temporary home of the city's new applied sciences campus — the first of what the school officials say will be many collaborations with the private sector as they work to break down traditional barriers between the business world and academia.
Google CEO Larry Page announced the plan alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg and officials from CornellNYC Tech, saying the company will put aside 22,000 square feet of office space for the new program, starting this July and continuing through 2017 — unless the school's permanent home on Roosevelt Island is completed earlier. The school will have the option of taking over an additional 36,000 square feet as it grows.
Page, who estimated the value of the space as over $10 million, said he believed it is vital to train more people in an industry hungry for more technology talent.
"When we put the best most innovative minds to work today, we end up with the best possible tomorrow. The problem is, only a small number of minds are working in our field today," Page said, saying that he believed that doubling the number of technology innovators "could roughly double human progress."
Cornell President David Skorton said administrators of the new campus — a collaboration between his school and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology — would be careful to watch for conflicts of interest and maintain integrity, but were "jumping in with both feet" to engage more directly with the private sector.
"It's about converting the relationship between academia and business into a true collaboration," he said. Each student at the school will have both an academic advisor and an industry mentor.
Bloomberg has said he hopes that graduates of the program will launch ventures here and help transform New York City into a technology hub to rival and even surpass California's Silicon Valley.
Cornell and Technion are expected to spend more than $2 billion to build a permanent home for the school with 2.1 million square feet of facility space on Roosevelt Island. In return, the city is giving the institution free access to the land and infrastructure improvements worth an estimated $100 million. Plans for the school grew out of a contest held by the city that drew seven proposals from institutions and consortiums.
One of the proposals — from an international coalition led by New York University — also won city approval. A campus with a focus on technology innovations to help the world's cities is set to begin operating in a temporary home in Brooklyn next year.