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NEWSDAY     August 21, 2018 

The Point

Stony Brook invests in LI’s future

Long Island business and political leaders often like to talk and debate about how to keep young people here, how to build the Island’s tech sector, and how to attract new companies.

But in a corner of Stony Brook University’s campus, it’s more than talk.

In a visit to the university’s Research and Development Park on Tuesday, The Point found a potential model for how Long Island can turn research into economic development and grow start-ups into full-fledged companies that employ graduating students, and give them reasons to stay. There, small companies use office and research space to focus on energy and education, on biotechnology and health care software. Altogether, the university’s incubators employ about 400 people, and many are Stony Brook graduates.

While incubators are not new to Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk have always had difficulty answering this question: What happens to those companies once they’re ready to leave the nest? Too often, the answer has been for those companies to leave Long Island.

Soon, Stony Brook plans to have a better answer, in the 60,000-square-foot Innovation and Discovery Center scheduled to open next year.

Stony Brook Vice President of Economic Development Yacov Shamash calls it the “Mezzanine,” because it’ll be a home to mid-stage companies that have grown too big for the university’s Long Island High Technology Incubator or its Center of Excellence in Wireless & Information Technology. Shamash says the new building likely will be full upon opening — because there already are companies ready to move.

Shamash has big plans. After all, what comes after the Mezzanine? Shamash gestures to the 245-acre research park, only 10 acres of which is in use, and notes that the companies he’s nurturing eventually could become large enough to develop their own large-scale facilities on site, making the park “an engine of growth for Long Island.”

“The potential is here,” Shamash said. “The potential is really here.”

Randi F. Marshall

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