Historic Partnership Creates NYU-Led Center for Urban Science and Progress


An historic agreement was recently announced by New York City, the MTA, and a consortium of world-class academic institutions and private technology companies—led by NYU and NYU-Poly—that will create an applied science center dedicated to the study of cities and urban technology challenges. The NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) will be located in Downtown Brooklyn.

CUSP will focus on the research and development of technologies for the critical challenges facing existing cities—as well as future cities—including infrastructure, tech integration, energy efficiency, transportation congestion, public safety, and public health. The consortium will also include academic institutions such as the City University of New York, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toronto, the University of Warwick, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, as well as leading companies IBM and CISCO, and will grant academic degrees in engineering and/or sciences.

In concert with the announcement, NYU named Steven Koonin—a theoretical physicist who has served as undersecretary of energy for science and as provost of the California Institute of Technology—as CUSP’s inaugural director.

The announcement is the next milestone in the city’s groundbreaking Applied Sciences NYC initiative, and the NYU proposal was selected due to its vision to provide solutions for the world’s growing cities in the 21st century. CUSP will establish itself as a world leader in this field of study, along with Cornell and Columbia, which have also won grants from the city to fund major engineering and applied sciences facilities. Collectively, these institutions will further strengthen New York City’s global competiveness—including its growing technology sector—and ensure that the city establishes itself as a global hub of science, research, innovation, and world-class urban solutions for the future.

“Being ‘in and of the city’ is part of NYU’s DNA; at no point has that been truer than today,” says President John Sexton. “New York has always been part of the educational experience at NYU; with CUSP, New York will also be a living laboratory, a source of research, a test-bed for new ideas, and the economic beneficiary of our researchers’ discoveries.”

As part of the agreement with the city, NYU has identified 370 Jay Street, a city-owned office building in Downtown Brooklyn that is currently partially occupied by the MTA and NYPD, as its preferred location for CUSP.

The building’s redevelopment would result in a leading, state-of-the-art academic center and economic engine that will benefit Downtown Brooklyn and the entire city for generations, with a projected completion date of 2017. CUSP will immediately begin operations by leasing and renovating 60,000 square feet in Downtown Brooklyn for Phase 1 of its program, which will accept its first class in September of 2013.

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