With less than two weeks until the deadline for the RFP, universities are ready to pull out the show-stoppers. Cornell just threw the process (and Betabeat!) for a loop by announcing that it would be partnering with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in its bid.
Early on, Technion was rumored to be a favorite–along with Cornell and Stanford. Although it all depends on what’s proposed, the prospect of two frontrunners combining their efforts has to set the playing field off-kilter. Suri Kasirer, Cornell’s power lobbyist, and BerlinRosen, its PR firm hired especially for the occasion of the chance to build on city-owned land, certainly know how to make an announcement.
This news comes a week after CUNY’s City College let it slip that it would be partnering with Stanford on the Palo Alto mothership’s bid–lending some hometown flavor. However, that collaboration is only on joint programming, as Standford’s Lisa Lapin made clear to Betabeat over the phone last week. “Our applied science campus proposal is just a Stanford proposal. We’re partnering with them on programs, but they’re not a partner in the proposal itself,” she said. “We’re not financing the project with anyone else. We’re not building it with anyone else.”
Cornell’s partnership with Technion on the other, which also calls for building on Roosevelt Island, seems to be more 50/50, at least according to the press release:
“The key attributes of the partnership between Cornell and the Technion underscore the distinctive and practical dimensions of the proposed NYC Tech Campus and its specific focus on strategies to spur innovation and commercialization. An integral part of the campus will be the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (TCII), a 50-50 collaboration between the two universities to form a graduate program that will focus on commercialization of immediate relevance to the city’s economic growth. Second, the campus’ academic hubs will provide an interdisciplinary environment to better prepare students for careers in tech companies, large and small, where the problems to be solved involve using technical knowhow and also expertise in other domains at the heart of the city’s key industries. Finally, for their degrees, students will be required to take courses that prepare them to be entrepreneurs and early stage investors, fueling the rapid expansion of the tech ecosystem in New York.”
Yesterday, Cornell’s PR firm also sent around a link from Scott Belsky, a Cornell alum and CEO of Behance, who tries to make the case that a win for Stanford would be a win for the West Coast:
“It’s widely known that Stanford’s all-powerful alumni network has ‘first dibs’ on tech talent, and this often means a quick migration of recent graduates to Silicon Valley (not Alley). Anecdotally, nearly all of my smart friends from Stanford leveraged their alumni network for jobs and, as a result, most of them stayed on the west coast. Even if Stanford students took a year or two studying in NYC, they would still tap their alumni network for jobs. And when they do, they’ll head back west to their home turf.
In contrast, Cornell is New York, through and through. Cornell’s alumni base is heavily skewed to the East Coast, and especially New York City.”
Your move, Bradley Tusk.