Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the application period is now open for the third round of the New York Fund for Innovation in Research and Scientific Talent, or NYFIRST. The $15 million medical school capital-funding program encourages the recruitment and retention of exceptional life science researchers through grants to support establishing or upgrading laboratories, and by providing working capital to cover costs for staff and specialized equipment. Governor Cuomo also announced that the first cohort of grant recipients, awarded in 2018, is projected to create more than 100 jobs within the program’s first three years.
“Life sciences is a fast-growing industry that is important not only to our economy, but to our very own personal health,” Governor Cuomo said. “Continuing to attract the best and brightest in this field to New York is critical. We’re proud to support the effort to find solutions to pressing medical challenges and help save lives.”
NYFIRST recruits and retains life science professionals focused on translational research, which builds on basic scientific research to find new ways to diagnose and treat medical conditions. According to the Associated Medical Schools of New York, NYFIRST Round 1 grant recipients are projected to create more than 100 jobs in the program’s first three years, with an average salary of nearly $66,000. AMSNY also estimates that approximately $17.5 million in total institutional matching funds will be committed; and a return on investment for every State dollar of $6.50 in economic activity through institutional capital investments and additional grant funding brought to New York.
To encourage the recruitment of world-class translational researchers to medical schools in New York State, NYFIRST makes a maximum grant of $1 million available to eligible institutional applicants to modernize, renovate and upgrade laboratory facilities, to purchase specialized laboratory equipment and to support research staff. Program grant awards are made through a competitive grant solicitation until funds are fully committed. Grantees are required to provide $2 in matching funds for every $1 of NYFIRST program assistance.
Scientific talent recruited or retained must demonstrate a history of translational research and be actively pursuing research on an innovative solution for an unmet clinical need. The researcher is also required to demonstrate a clear path to commercialization with the potential for significant life sciences economic development benefits in New York State, such as increased patent applications and patentable discoveries; increased recruitment/retention of medical school faculty focused on translational research; or an increase in the number of life sciences jobs created or retained.
Applications and guidelines for the third cohort are now available at https://esd.ny.gov/ny-first-program.
The first cohort of NYFIRST recipients included three institutions: Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, also in New York City, and the University of Rochester, in Rochester. For the second cohort, five institutions were recommended to receive NYFIRST grants; grant agreements with these institutions are being finalized.
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “ESD is strongly committed to building a robust life science industry in New York State. NYFIRST will continue to attract nation-leading researchers whose innovative research offers the potential to create jobs and expand this vital industry for New York’s future.”
Associated Medical Schools of New York President and CEO Jo Wiederhorn said, “Thanks to Governor Cuomo and ESD, we have a very successful economic development program that is not only a source of high-paying jobs, but also improves the health of New York State’s communities. NYFIRST has shown an ROI of $6.50 in additional investment for every State dollar invested. This is due to the recruitment of top scientists who bring with them millions of new research dollars and push the discovery of new treatments and therapies that are good for New York residents’ health and well-being. We are thrilled to see a new round of grants announced for this program.”
New York State’s $620 Million Life Science Initiative
In the FY 2018 budget, New York State enacted a $620 million initiative to spur the growth of a world-class life sciences research cluster in New York, as well as expand the state’s ability to commercialize this research and grow the economy.
This multi-faceted initiative includes $100 million to expand the Excelsior Jobs Program Tax Credit to the life sciences industry, $100 million for a life sciences research and development refundable tax credit program, and $320 million in other forms of investment including state capital grants to support the development of wet-lab and innovation space, operating support and investment capital for early stage life sciences companies that leverages an additional match of at least $100 million from private sector.
The life sciences sector encompasses the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies, and includes organizations and institutions that devote the majority of their efforts to the various stages of research, development, technology transfer and commercialization. Every day, firms in this sector are developing new medical and pharmaceutical breakthroughs that have the potential to save lives, whether through new therapies or the early detection of diseases like autism and cancer. These firms are also making significant advancements in the realms of agriculture and environmental biotechnologies, helping create a cleaner and more sustainable future.
By strengthening incentives, investing in the facilities, and improving access to talent and expertise, New York will significantly increase its share of industry-funded research and development, support the commercialization of existing academic research, and usher in the next generation of advanced technologies. Beyond the advancements in science, this initiative will position New York as a magnet for emerging manufacturing based enterprises, bolstering regional economies and creating thousands of jobs.