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Feds bring $3M to Griffiss for ‘smart’ lab (VIDEO)

Nicole A. Hawley
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 2/10/23

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, visited the Innovare Advancement Center at Griffiss Business and Technology Park Friday to announce $3 million in federal funding for Griffiss Institute. Video in story.

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Feds bring $3M to Griffiss for ‘smart’ lab (VIDEO)


ROME — Highlighting her continued commitment to helping guide Rome and Central New York's ascension as a cutting-edge technology hub, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, visited the Innovare Advancement Center at Griffiss Business and Technology Park Friday to announce $3 million in federal funding for Griffiss Institute.

Gilibrand was joined by Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado, Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo, Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-53, Rome, Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, Marcy, Griffiss Institute CEO Heather Hage and Dr. Michael Hayduk, deputy director of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate.

Gillibrand first toured Innovare, 592 Hangar Road, before taking to the podium to announce the funding, secured in the 2023 federal budget. The $3 million was awarded to the institute, in collaboration with the Central New York Defense Alliance, non-profit partners with AFRL, to build an "Internet of Things" (loT) collaborative lab.

Known as a "Smart-X loT" Living Lab, the lab will be an open environment where vendors and developers can integrate, test, experiment and demonstrate their smart technology capabilities.

Gillibrand said she last visited the lab back in 2021 and was amazed by what has developed there over the last 16 months. She said the new Living Lab would help demonstrate smart technology that would improve the environment, promote sustainability and improve everyone's quality of life.

The senator said the new labs would help stimulate job growth in the Mohawk Valley, adding that the lab will also help give students, like those attending the announcement from Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES, to be exposed to tomorrow's leading STEAM careers.

"For years I have fought for this community and industry as part of my steadfast commitment to making New York a worldwide leader in technological innovation, and I am thrilled to bring $3 million home to Rome," said Gillibrand. “This federal investment in the Smart-X laboratory will give the community at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park the resources needed to continue their groundbreaking work in information science research and advanced technology and attract great jobs to the Mohawk Valley."

She continued, "I am thrilled to be standing here in Rome to deliver this funding – it’s been a long road, but I will always work to make sure the innovators at the Griffiss Institute and CNY Defense Alliance have the federal dollars needed to keep New York at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. Now we're one step closer to achieving that goal."

(See Gillibrand speaking in this video.)

Delgado, who was visiting Rome for the first time as lieutenant governor and met with Izzo earlier in the day, said the $3 million federal investment helps continue to ensure that New York remains a leader when it comes to technology innovation.

"We are supporting cutting edge science and technology breakthroughs, all while bringing good-paying jobs to Central New York," Delgado said. "This investment is helping to create a bright future for our state."

(See Delgado speaking in this video.)

Izzo said she was sure Gillibrand and Delgado were "blown away" by what they saw happening while touring Griffiss Institute Friday, and were equally impressed with the personnel both at Griffiss Lab and Innovare. The mayor noted the significant state funding that made the Skydome at Innovare possible, which was the site of Friday’s announcement.

As for the federal funding received for the Living Lab, "the city will be directly involved in the project, and we're very proud of that," Izzo said.

GI CEO Hage said the funding and development of the Living Lab was a step forward in making Griffiss Lab a national leader in developing trusted technology.

"The Griffiss Institute is grateful to Senator Gillibrand and our Congressional delegation for this federal investment to expand our region's capacity for autonomous systems innovation," Hage said. "We look forward to expanding access to Innovare Advancement Center's testbeds, where we welcome diverse innovators to converge on the challenge to deliver trustworthy technologies to the American economy."

Hayduk thanked those in attendance for their continued support is the mission to invest in the development of future technologies for the Air Force and Space Force.

In a written statement, M.C. Chruscicki, Central New York Defense Alliance executive director, thanked Gillibrand, along with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, for being strong advocates for the Defense Alliance mission and for securing 2023 funds to initiate the development of the Smart-X loT Living Lab, which will "connect the community to the Innovare Advancement Center and Skydome, a one-of-a-kind UAS indoor flying facility."

In a statement Schumer added, "I am proud to deliver this $3 million with Senator Gillibrand to bolster the groundbreaking discoveries being made in the Smart-X Laboratory. Now more than ever this infusion of funding will ensure that the world-class innovators at the Griffiss Institute have the resources they need to ensure that our nation stays ahead of our international competitors – including China – and brings these industries back to America.”  

In the FY2023 spending package, Sen. Gillibrand also secured $4.2 million to upgrade communications infrastructure at Rome Lab. Additionally, Senators Gillibrand and Schumer brought home $293,248,000 in federal funding for Rome Lab in the 2022 federal spending package. In 2021, Gillibrand and Schumer played a role in having Rome Lab designated as the Quantum Information Science Research Center for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.


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