FuzeHub Earns $1 Million NSF Engines Development Award for Upstate Makes: A Materials Innovation Engine for Manufacturing Sustainability

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July 9, 2024

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John Mackowiak
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Thanks to determined efforts of Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Governor Hochul and Empire State Development, NSF awards major funding to help FuzeHub launch Upstate Makes initiative

ESD awards $200,000 matching grant to FuzeHub to expand the impact of NSF’s $1 million

Upstate Makes — New York’s Advanced Materials Alliance — brings together statewide R&D partners to accelerate materials innovation, cultivate sustained economic growth


ALBANY, N.Y. – FuzeHub, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting New York State manufacturers and technology companies, has been awarded $1million from the National Science Foundation through its Regional Innovation Engines Development Awards. With the infusion of federal funding, FuzeHub will lead Upstate Makes, a collaborative initiative to build New York’s advanced materials ecosystem and foster innovation-fueled economic growth.

“Upstate Makes will have the opportunity to demonstrate our region’s emergence as an internationally renowned advanced materials ecosystem. With a special focus on driving materials innovation in semiconductor manufacturing, it will add to the unique strength of Upstate New York’s vibrant and growing microelectronics sector,” said FuzeHub Executive Director Elena Garuc. “FuzeHub is grateful to Senate Majority Leader Schumer for his vision for American innovation and for relentlessly advocating for Upstate Makes. We also extend our gratitude to Governor Hochul and Empire State Development for their commitment to advanced manufacturing and their partnership in building New York’s innovation ecosystem.”

The Upstate Makes initiative led to the creation of the New York Advanced Materials Alliance, which brings together several industry, research, workforce development, commercialization, and community partners to serve as the driving force behind FuzeHub’s ecosystem-building efforts. Working together, these partners will focus on cultivating materials innovation for semiconductor and microelectronics manufacturing, which has become a massive regional strength for Upstate New York. The region is home to multiple state-of-the-art fabs, a strong concentration of industry employment, major patent activity and world-class shared R&D facilities.

The NSF Engines Development Awards were created by the federal CHIPS & Science Act that was authored and championed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. Senator Schumer has consistently and successfully advocated for FuzeHub to be awarded critical funding through the NSF, as part of his broader efforts to strengthen manufacturing and create jobs in New York State and nationwide.

“Thanks to the Chips & Science Law I championed, $1 million in federal funding is heading to spark growth for FuzeHub’s efforts to drive innovation and bolster our booming manufacturing ecosystem, including in semiconductors. I have been a relentless advocate to ensure FuzeHub gets the federal support it needs to thrive and build out the Capital Region and all of Upstate NY’s high-tech economy, and today we are taking another step forward to spur innovation on materials innovation that is important to semiconductor manufacturing, positioning Upstate NY and the Capital Region as #1 in chips manufacturing and other critical industries,” said Senator Schumer. “This funding from the Regional Innovation Engines Development Awards program that I created in the CHIPS and Science Law will supercharge research centers across Upstate NY to help strengthen American manufacturing.”

Empire State Development has awarded $200,000 to FuzeHub to deepen the impact of NSF’s $1 million for Upstate Makes. The strategic grant funding builds on the momentum generated through Governor Kathy Hochul’s Green CHIPS Program, which has sparked economic development and attracted global enterprises to invest and build in New York State. FuzeHub is supported by ESD’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR), which oversees and funds New York’s innovation infrastructure, a vast network of statewide resources.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Through sustained, strategic investment and forward-thinking policymaking, New York State has emerged as a leader in driving innovation and fueling economic growth through emerging technologies. At the heart of this critical work are partners like FuzeHub and the New York Advanced Materials Alliance, which are leading technological change that will strengthen communities across the state. Governor Hochul and Empire State Development remain firmly committed to fueling innovation statewide and supporting the Upstate Makes initiative.”

The NSF funding, along with ESD’s matching grant, will enable FuzeHub to help nurture and mature Upstate New York’s materials innovation ecosystem — which will strengthen the Upstate Makes proposal when it recompetes to become a future NSF Regional Innovation Engine and receive up to $160 million.

In the weeks and months to come, FuzeHub will mobilize its core R&D partners, reconvene and expand the wider consortium of collaborators, conduct materials technology road-mapping, collaboratively explore new and more sustainable materials, and reinvigorate its strategies to build the ecosystem and shape Upstate New York into a materials innovation engine. As the initiative gains momentum, Upstate Makes will emphasize four key pillars:

  • Use-inspired R&D: Invest in and cultivate groundbreaking research that develops new materials or improves material inputs to become more sustainable for microelectronics production.
  • Industry: Build a network of resources that helps manufacturing companies adopt new materials, overcome innovation challenges and become more competitive.
  • Innovation: Enhance Upstate New York’s innovation capabilities and accelerate the discovery and commercialization of new materials for microelectronics, leveraging historically excluded talent and untapped ideas.
  • Workforce: Identify and address key workforce needs, such as developing greater numbers of manufacturing operators and technicians and strengthening the pipeline of materials scientists and engineers, starting with introductions to advanced materials for K-12 students.

The diverse range of partners contributing to Upstate Makes includes the Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT) at Alfred University, the Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) at Clarkson University, the Center for Materials Research at Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Center of Excellence in Advanced and Sustainable Manufacturing (COE-ASM) and the Additive Manufacturing and Multifunctional Printing (AMPrint) Center at Rochester Institute of Technology, S3IP at Binghamton University, the REMADE Institute, the University at Buffalo Department of Materials Design and Innovation (MDI), the Center for Advanced Technology in Nanoelectronics at University at Albany and over 50 additional partners focused on R&D, industry development and workforce.

“These NSF Engines Development Awards lay the foundation for emerging hubs of innovation and potential future NSF Engines,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “These awardees are part of the fabric of NSF’s vision to create opportunities everywhere and enable innovation anywhere. They will build robust regional partnerships rooted in scientific and technological innovation in every part of our nation. Through these planning awards, NSF is seeding the future for in-place innovation in communities and to grow their regional economies through research and partnerships. This will unleash ideas, talent, pathways and resources to create vibrant innovation ecosystems all across our nation.”

To learn more about Upstate Makes, visit upstatemakes.org


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