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Duncan Brown (center right), Syracuse University VP of research, and Joe Curtatone, president of the Somerville, Massachusetts–based Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC), shake hands upon signing their collaboration agreement. Also pictured at left, is Alistair Pim of NECEC, and at far right, is Jay Golden, director of Syracuse University’s Dynamic Sustainability Lab. (Photo credit: Syracuse University News)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University and the Northeast Clean Energy Council (NECEC) recently signed an agreement forming a collaborative partnership between the two organizations.

The pact seeks to raise the “visibility and impact of emerging research” on clean-climate technologies; “increase engagement” in the region for governments and businesses looking to meet their net-zero carbon transitions through clean-energy policies and innovations; and create career-building experiential opportunities for students.

Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, NECEC represents more than 300 member companies involved in climate technology throughout New York State and New England.

The joint Syracuse University-NECEC initiative offers a “unique opportunity” to leverage the engagement expertise of NECEC in policy and innovation for clean energy and climate with the “research strengths” of the university, an R-1 (top-tier) international research institution, Syracuse University said.

As part of the agreement, Syracuse University will host an operating office for NECEC at the Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) at 727 E. Washington St. in Syracuse.

Student researchers from the Dynamic Sustainability Lab will staff the facility. Dynamic Sustainability Lab is a research unit in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, which is set to open in the spring semester, per the Syracuse University announcement.

“Through partnerships with strategic leaders such as NECEC, we aim to harness the research and creative activities of our faculty and students for the benefit of our community, our nation and our planet as we face pressing climate and sustainability challenges,” Duncan Brown, Syracuse’s VP for research, said. “Our partnership with NECEC will provide unique opportunities for Syracuse University students from many different academic programs to work together with climate and energy experts and innovators on real-world and impactful projects that will better prepare them for successful careers after graduation.”

Besides his role as VP for research, Brown is also the Charles Brightman Endowed Professor of Physics, the school noted.

NECEC President Joe Curtatone said the “stage has been set” for students to enter new climate-conscious professions, due to $369 billion in federal investment from the Inflation Reduction Act and important action by New York State “and beyond on converting to a clean-energy grid.”

“Decarbonization is a whole-of-society effort that must reach every home on every street in every neighborhood before we can deem it a success,” Curtatone said. “That’s going to mean generations of new jobs as we break our fossil-fuel dependency and embrace localized-energy production, clean-energy consumption and sustainable industrial practices. It is essential to have top-flight institutions like Syracuse not just preparing students to succeed in the climate economy, but in leading efforts for a rapid and opportunity-laden transition to a decarbonized world.”


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