A Groundbreaking Event for Women in Science

December 8, 2005 at 12:00 pm
Senator Joe Bruno, Sage President Jeanne Neff, and other leaders break ground at the site of INVEST at Sage on Dec. 8, 2005.

State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, Jeanne H. Neff, President of the Sage Colleges, and representatives from Evident Technologies, Inc. broke ground today on the $5 million Incubator for New Ventures in Emerging Sciences and Technologies - INVEST at Sage. The INVEST incubator is the first of its kind nationally to be located at a women's college.

In June, Senator Bruno announced $2.5 million in funding to create INVEST at Sage with Evident Technologies as the founding partner and first tenant. The $2.5 million from Senator Bruno will be coupled with $2.5 million in private funding for the facility, which will help technology companies grow and expand while advancing Sage's programs in science and technology.

"Today's groundbreaking is great news and represents a major accomplishment toward our efforts to transform the Capital Region into a 21st Century global leader in nanotechnology," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. "INVEST at Sage is a major investment that will attract businesses that utilize these emerging technologies to develop cutting-edge products, create new jobs, and generate economic growth throughout Tech Valley. It shows what can be achieved when the public, private sector and the academic community work together."

Retrofit & Renovate

The top three floors of John Paine Hall, a building at the center of the historic Russell Sage campus, will be renovated for use by Evident and its successor businesses. The upgraded facilities will be located immediately adjacent to Sage's Science Hall and include occupant-ready laboratory facilities for Evident in John Paine and two updated chemistry labs for Sage. A glass-walled bridge construction will connect the two buildings.

Architect's rendering of glass atrium connecting Science Hall
and John Paine Hall, home of INVEST at Sage.

INVEST will help to fill the growing regional need for incubator space, a model that has proven to be successful in promoting cross-fertilization of ideas and new technologies among businesses and universities. The initial partnership with Evident will support the company's next stage of growth; when Evident needs a larger facility, the INVEST incubator will be ready to accept new tenants.

Economic Stimulus: Educational Importance

Evident Technologies, headquartered in Troy, is a pioneer and world leader in the development of quantum dots -semiconductor nanomaterials engineered to enable the creation of advanced products for numerous markets including life sciences, solid state lighting, energy, security, telecommunications and emergent nanotechnology markets. Evident anticipates the company will add 32 jobs in its first year of operation in the incubator, including 15 new lab technicians. That number of jobs is expected to double over the course of the three years Evident plans to remain in the incubator.

As an emerging company that has been successful in business as well as scientific development, Evident can help Sage understand the needs of future start-up companies that will occupy the incubator space, prepare to meet those needs, and can offer interns, students and faculty the perspective of an experienced five year old company.

Three Russell Sage College women are already employed at Evident or serving as interns. Kayla Leach (RSC '05) was the first Sage student to intern at Evident. Before her internship was over, she was offered a full time job in technical inside sales for Evident's Life Science products. Darcie Palmer, a senior biochemistry major and Nicole Surace, a senior chemistry major are both interns at Evident.

Honors & Accolades

Evident recently received the nano-industry's top honor--Frost & Sullivan's 2005 Technology Innovation Award for development of T2-MP EviTags (tm). EviTags are quantum dot-based fluorescent labels that enable myriad and novel life science applications, from clinical diagnostics to cell microscopy to bio-threat detection.

President Neff has been named to the Tech Valley "Hot 10" list, released Dec. 2 by the Albany-County Regional Chamber of Commerce, as an agent for transformational change in higher education and as a leader in the economic development of Tech Valley.

"The incubation of a business requires the technology, of course, but is also dependent on capabilities to market and sell products and raise money to support the growth of the business," said Neff. "INVEST at Sage is more than laboratory space, it is a place where all the disciplines come together to study the inner workings of a science and technology-focused enterprise. This is consistent with Sage's long tradition of learning for application in the real world."

Evident is a role model for progressive business practices. Sage appreciates Evident's commitment to education, as well as its "open-source mindedness"--the willingness to freely share scientific information. Such a collaborative approach fuels scientific innovation and discovery. For example, The Evident Nanotechnology Web(tm) Program is a no-charge, unique offering, developed to support higher education institutions with research opportunities in the nanosciences.

"Evident's growing success is built upon individual innovation, a strong management team and partnering with best-in-class research institutions, universities and companies," said Clinton Ballinger, Ph.D., CEO of Evident. "This multidisciplinary approach, which made us a leader in the development and manufacturing of quantum dot nanomaterial systems, can provide Sage students and professors with hands-on ways to link science and business and accelerate the development of start-up companies."

Evident has strong intersections with Russell Sage College programs in chemistry, biochemistry and forensic science, and with the College's innovative business major that develops strong management skills in a context of social responsibility.

Important Pipeline Programs for Women in Science
In addition to enhancing science education at Russell Sage College, which is consistently ranked one of the top 10 comprehensive colleges in the Northeast by U.S.News & World Report, the INVEST incubator will have links to Russell Sage's successful GEMS program - Girls Excited about Engineering, Math, and Computer Science - for middle and high school girls, aimed at increasing the number of girls and women studying and entering technical careers in engineering, mathematics, and science.

Another attractive option for young women with talent in science, math, and engineering is the Early College at Russell Sage, one of only two such programs in the U.S. for young women ready for college after their junior year of high school or the equivalent in home schooling.