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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement last week in Lake Placid that the state was investing $35 million to create a partnership between Clarkson University and the fabled Trudeau Institute of Saranac Lake is welcome news for the entire north country.

Clarkson and Trudeau have each earned worldwide recognition for their ability to bring researchers and businesses together to solve incredibly complex challenges. Trudeau has devoted more than a century to studying means for treating the root causes of fatal diseases.

Founded to study tuberculosis, which killed thousands of people every year, their researchers based in Saranac Lake made the central Adirondacks extremely well known as a destination for people suffering from the condition. The institute’s founder, Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, helped establish what today is the American Lung Association.

The institute has 80 employees engaged in eight research teams to develop vaccines for pandemic influenzas, study the human immune system, and seek cures for cancer and autoimmune disorders.

The state grant will perpetuate the institute as it joins Clarkson, which has distinguished itself as a leader in fine particle research. The relationship will aid the scientists at Trudeau to collaborate with the fertile minds of Clarkson’s professors to improve the efficacy of medicine and vaccines. Already the two institutions have worked together on research projects, and faculty members at Clarkson have served as members of scientific advisory boards at Trudeau.

The institute has faced challenging times for the last few years as its financial support base withered. It depended upon federal research dollars, but those funds are not nearly as readily available today. In fact, the institute has had to reduce employment by 50 positions in the last four years.

Despite these recent setbacks, its scientific work remains widely recognized for its quality. The collaboration between the state and the two institutions provides an opportunity for the Central Adirondacks and the north country to become a center of medical scientific research with enormous assets to convert that work into usable products to ease the medical conditions of millions of people. The plan is another example of the governor’s Start Up New York initiative to leverage New York public and private university intellectual capital to become the springboard to economic prosperity for New Yorkers.

Throughout his leadership at the university, Clarkson President Anthony G. Collins has been encouraging development of a knowledge-based economy depending upon researchers to found new business ventures in the north country. He describes this new partnership as an effort that evolved “from looking at a crisis to a fantastic opportunity for both institutions. It’s a big win for everyone.”

Mr. Collins anticipates that the merger of technology and medical research is on the cusp of a major growth spurt. The Clarkson/Trudeau venture is one of the first such relationships in the nation.

Mr. Collins believes that the arrangement provides opportunity for the north country to be at the forefront of innovation driven by the merger of technology and medicine. This opportunity for Clarkson, for Trudeau, for Saranac Lake and for the entire north country is enormous and exciting as we attract researchers who are fixated on better medicine and a healthier population creating what just may be the foundation of renewed economic vitality across the region.

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