(MIKE PEDERSEN / THE STATESMAN)
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s START-UP NY initiative has facilitated the building of the Innovation and Discovery center at the Research and Development Park. (MIKE PEDERSEN / THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook University received a $60 million appropriation from the 2014 New York State budget to build the Innovation and Discovery Center as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s START-UP NY initiative.

As an appropriation, the fund will go specifically toward building the center at the Research and Development Park. The university’s plan is for the center to have 200,000 gross square feet of lab and office space for startup companies, according to an SBU press release.

A team in Economic Development conceived the idea for the center, Vice President for Economic Development and Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Yacov Shamash said.

“We have had incubators for the past thirty years on campus and so this is the next step to help retain some of those companies when they graduate from the incubator,” Shamash said. “Rather than losing them to out-of-state, they can essentially move into this facility that will help tremendously in retention of companies that go through our incubators.”

Space in the school’s five incubator facilities will be freed-up for more startup opportunities once the construction is complete, according to the release.

The goal of START-UP NY is to give businesses incentives such as tax breaks to relocate, start up or expand in New York State through affiliation with public and private universities and colleges, according to the initiative’s website.

Shamash said he recently briefed President Samuel L. Stanley on what types of businesses Stony Brook will accept.

“We are restricted on Long Island to only take in high-tech companies,” Shamash said. About a third of the companies accepted will deal biotechnology and medical devices. Another third will be in the area of software and IT, while others will be in the energy sector.

“These all fit in very well with what we do here at Stony Brook,” Shamash said. As part of START-UP NY, the companies accepted must support the school’s academic mission.

In terms of what these companies at the Innovation and Discovery Center will bring to Stony Brook, Shamash said the school has the final say in those chosen and that the companies will have to be beneficial to faculty and students.

“We will want companies that benefit the campus, whether it’s doing joint research projects, whether it’s recruiting students to work as interns, those kinds of relationships are very, very important,” Shamash said.

“Of course, keep in mind if we are able to help grow the economy, then clearly that’s in our best interest since we are a state school and it’s important for us to help the state of New York,” he added.

A website where businesses can apply will go live within the next week or so, but “over a hundred companies” have contacted Stony Brook with interest in START-UP NY. Stony Brook could not accept any applications until its own was approved, which happened approximately two weeks ago, Shamash said.

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