It’s pretty easy to dream big when you have an amazing view of the New York skyline. And students of Cornell University’s program dedicated to technology have plenty of inspiration at its brand-new campus.
Located on Roosevelt Island in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, the new Cornell Tech campus is a place where graduate students, researchers and faculty live, study and collaborate. It features an academic building, a residential high-rise and a building called The Bridge that includes lab and makerspace areas as well as office spaces leased by established companies.
At The Bridge, these companies in residence will work with teams of Cornell students to develop and prototype new products and technologies to bring to market. Cornell Tech also allows students to pursue their own startups, with five to six companies spinning out of the institution every year since its founding in 2011.
This is a big deal for New York. When we think of hubs across America, we view Silicon Valley as the tech capital. But the Big Apple has always been a place where people of all backgrounds have converged and developed new ideas across nearly every industry, from fashion to finance to advertising. As tech increasingly shapes those industries and others, the so-called tech sector is growing its footprint in New York. The new Cornell Tech campus aims to serve as a focal point where academia, governments, nonprofits and companies can develop tech solutions together.
“If you go to almost any angel investor, VC, startup accelerator, they’re telling those founders, ‘Get to know your customers. Get out there with you customers. Find your passionate early users,’” says Cornell Tech Founding Dean and Vice Provost Dan Huttenlocher, who also serves on the board of directors for Amazon, Corning and the MacArthur Foundation. “In New York, you can get to your passionate early users riding up and down the subway. You don’t have to sit in traffic for seven hours going from one suburb to another in Silicon Valley.”
Cornell Tech formed in 2011 when Cornell University and the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology won the City of New York’s Applied Sciences competition to create a graduate campus. The two universities have partnered to offer two programs based on health tech and connective media.
For the past five years, the Cornell Tech campus was located in Google’s New York City building. This fall, 30 faculty members and 300 full-time graduate students occupy the first phase of the Roosevelt Island campus. Additional phases of development and growth are slated through the year 2043.
In advance of the Sept. 13 dedication ceremony, Cornell Tech opened its doors for a media tour to reveal its plans for the new facilities. Click through to see how the space supports collaboration and innovation among members of this new community.