Silicon Alley U

Last, But Not Least, of the Tech Campus Proposals: Columbia Takes Manhattanville!

columbia1 Last, But Not Least, of the Tech Campus Proposals: Columbia Takes Manhattanville!

Northwest Corner Science and Engineering Building opened Dec. 2010, last site of Columbia's core Morningside Heights campus

Columbia narrowly snuck details about its tech campus proposal out yesterday before today’s deadline for RFPs. After which all contenders must remain silent. To make up for the procrastination, however, the university threw a quote from The Atlantic into the last slide of its executive summary. Something about human progress, social innovation yadda yadda economic growth?

Stanford and Cornell, who is partnering with Israel’s Technion, have both shown the world their specs, which take the city up on its offer to build an engineering mecca on Roosevelt Island. But like NYU, Columbia is opting for a different location, one that it’s already developing: Manhattanville.

Columbia, which has run out of real estate in Morningside Heights, has already made its Manhattanville-leanings known. But the plan released yesterday gives more details about its proposal: the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering.

Unlike universities from outside New York seeking to build stand-alone research centers on city-owned land on Roosevelt Island, Columbia’s plan will leverage the major commitment it has already made to long-term academic and economic growth in Upper Manhattan. The proposed Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering will focus on five key areas that are essential to an increasingly data-rich society: new media, smart cities, health analytics, cybersecurity and financial analytics.

Along with its native street cred, the university is hyping the multi-disciplinary approach, pointing out that the Institute would be next to the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, currently under construction, which will house Columbia’s Mind Brain Behavior neuroscience initiative. (Some tantalizing potential synergy there–spinning out startups with a better understanding of the human mind?)

Betabeat was getting spoiled with all the dope renderings competing schools were pumping out to the press. Sadly, the image above is of a building that Columbia has already constructed. But the photo and specs below give you some idea of what it might look like.

columbia 2 Last, But Not Least, of the Tech Campus Proposals: Columbia Takes Manhattanville!

Above: construction on the Jerome L. Greene Science Center between 129th and 130th St. Below: Renderings of the Institute's proposed three buildings with the Science Center in blue.

While the selection committee takes over from here (they’ve promised to name a winner–or winners!–by the end of the year), sit back and congratulate yourself on being a genius, New York City.

“Experience shows that engineering and applied science thrives as part of a multidisciplinary university community that includes everything from cutting-edge research in the basic sciences and humanities to the entrepreneurship of a business school,” says President Lee C. Bollinger. “That kind of dynamic intellectual mix that defines not just Columbia, but the genius of New York itself.”

You were feeling pretty smart today, weren’t you?

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