With $15M from the city, Columbia will build data science institute, expand facilities

Columbia University will build a new center for data sciences and engineering with $15 million in help from the city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Columbia University President Lee Bollinger announced today. The new institute, which will be located at Columbia’s Morningside Heights and Washington Heights campuses, will be funded in part by the city’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative, which also brought CornellNYC Tech, the new Roosevelt Island project, to fruition.

In two phases, Columbia will expand its Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to accommodate new facilities and an additional 75 faculty members, the statement said. By 2016 Columbia plans to have built 44,000 additional square feet of facilities and to complete a 10,000-square-foot “bio-research incubator,” at the university’s medical center in Washington Heights by 2030.

As part of the agreement between the city and Columbia, the city will provide $15 million in direct funding, debt forgiveness and lowered energy costs to the university, according to a statement released by the mayor’s office.

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“This historic partnership is newest element in the applied sciences initiative that is, by far, the largest and most far-reaching economic development effort city government has undertaken in modern memory,” Mayor Bloomberg said in the statement. “It will create tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.”

The project is expected to generate $3.9 billion in overall economic activity over the next three decades, including 4,223 permanent jobs and 285 construction jobs, according to an analysis by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. — Guelda Voien