Mayor Bloomberg, who himself holds a B.S. in electrical engineering, hopes to galvanize the city’s growing technology sector with an influx of doctoral-level research in the applied sciences. In December 2010, the mayor’s office and the NYC Economic Development Corporation issued a Request for Expressions of Interest from academic institutions who might consider developing an applied science and engineering campus in New York. In order to attract attention, the deal was sweetened with not just a promise of capital investment, but the one thing hardest to come by for an urban campus: wide open space.
Universities responding to the RFEI were asked to indicate an interest either in a privately-owned site they identified themselves or in one of four city-controlled sites that would be “potentially offered on favorable terms”: the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island, sites on Governor’s Island, or the Farm Colony on Staten Island. By March, eighteen institutions had thrown their hats into the ring, from local schools with engineering programs like Cooper Union to foreign universities in countries stretching from Finland to India.
The city is currently reviewing the responses, and on July 19 the mayor announced a formal Request for Proposals. If all goes according to plan, a winning campus plan could be selected by the end of 2011.