In Wake of Banking Crisis, City Looks to Tech Industry

Leaders from dozens of universities around the world converge on New York this week to show their interest in establishing a new high tech research campus in the city, an idea born out of the financial crisis.

New York's Economic Development Corporation officials, alarmed by the loss of 17,000 banking jobs in the six months after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, started a series of meetings looking for game changers: industries that could thrive here, even if the banking sector was struggling.

They zeroed in on scientific research and technology. Now, the city is preparing to offer cash incentives and real estate to a partner who will develop a top-notch research center.

"If these universities either expand here in New York or bring a new institution to New York it gives them the opportunity to plug in with everything that's happening in the New York scene," said Seth Pinsky, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Pinsky said Internet businesses like Google are already growing their presence in the five boroughs, but the city could add more jobs in the long run if it had another academic center for research and development.

Only one of the invited institutions is making its interest public: The Indian Institute of Technology, whose dean for international relations told the Times of India, "The proposal is at a rather nascent stage, but we are considering it very seriously."

Governors Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yard are two possible locations the universities will be scoping out on Wednesday.

The city hopes to find a partner by next year.