Bloomberg Hopes New School Will Make NYC a Tech Capital

In an effort to stimulate both the economic and educational environment of his city, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced an official Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new, cutting-edge engineering campus within New York's boundaries. Already many institutions around the world have expressed interest. What does Bloomberg hope to accomplish?

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Major Incentives, Major Payoff

In a rather unique move, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has blocked out several tracts of land within New York City specifically for a university presence. He's asked schools to submit proposals for a new institution, and in addition to nearly free space has offered up to $100 million in financial contributions to sweeten the deal.

Bloomberg's goal is to attract a top-flight school to his city, one that has a focus on engineering and applied science. In his words, he wants New York to become competitive with Silicon Valley, which would lead the city to generating numerous jobs in the technological and manufacturing sectors. All in all, The New York Times reports that such an institution could lead to as much as 30,000 new jobs and six billion dollars in increased revenue.

A World of Opportunity

So it is that schools around the globe have an open invitation to submit proposals for what they'd do with the areas of land marked out by Bloomberg for this project - or, if they'd prefer, another part of the city. When Bloomberg first sought to gauge interest in a new school in December of last year, 27 institutions in total responded positively. Some offered joint submissions, leading to 18 different leads from schools as spread apart as upstate New York, Switzerland and South Korea.

Marquee names from the world of higher education such as Stanford and Cornell were among those who expressed interest. Yet despite their already having prestigious institutions elsewhere, administrators have made it known that their prospective presence in New York won't be a satellite campus, but rather, as Stanford president John Hennessy puts it, 'a center of innovation.' As a possible peek into the future, Stanford stated that they'd use the space for a one billion dollar institution that houses 2,200 graduate students and 100 professors.

What's Next?

Despite Mayor Bloomberg's generous offer, the president of New York's Economic Development Corporation told The Times that academic institutions will have a better chance of entering a winning bid if they ask for less city money. Still, that $100 million figure indicates the seriousness with which the Mayor and all of New York approach this project. Interested institutions must submit their proposals by October 28, and it's thought a winner will be chosen by the end of the year. Although the final school likely won't be completed before Mayor Bloomberg exits his office, perhaps he'll leave behind a legacy of jumpstarting technological innovation in New York.

Read about how New York's libraries are working on innovations of their own.

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