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‘Upon review,’ some of SUNY Poly’s secret partners aren’t secret

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‘Upon review,’ some of SUNY Poly’s secret partners aren’t secret

In May 2017, after we asked about the specifics behind the self-advertised claim that it has “over 300 corporate partners,” SUNY Polytechnic Institute spokesman Steve Ference provided The Alt a list of the school’s 304 “active” partnerships. We’ve included it at the bottom of this story.

Some entities (IBM, GlobalFoundries) we recognized. Others (TreeBu, “Disco”) we did not. But what surprised us most was that 49 of the entries in the list simply said, “CONFIDENTIAL.”

“Each ‘confidential’ partner has an agreement that precludes dissemination of the organization’s name,” Ference said.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s secrecy, of course, is somewhat storied. Consider this paragraph from a 2015 Albany Business Review profile of Alain Kaloyeros, the school’s now-former president:

Kaloyeros’ strategy tightly entwines private business and public interests. Companies that may have little to do with the mission of the college or nanotech research are drawn there as tenants, sometimes finding themselves behind the intense security apparatus controlling the campus. The grounds are not open like any other college campus in the country. Deals begin with strict pledges of confidentiality (business leaders involved with SUNY Poly projects are well aware of the value placed on secrecy and rarely talk about their participation).

But while we had heard of state agencies withholding certain sensitive or proprietary data shared with them by contractors, we had not heard of them withholding contractors’ names. (As deployed by SUNY, the term “partner,” which includes sponsors of research, has a broader catchment area than “contractor.”)

We asked Peter Taubkin, a spokesman for SUNY Research Foundation, which administers grants for the university system and enters into research-related agreements on campuses’ behalf, whether the foundation was a party to any active agreements of this type.

Taubkin did not say yes or no, but suggested it was possible. The foundation “may agree to refrain from disclosing the identity of an entity with which it is entering a contract,” he wrote. “However, such a commitment would be made only at the request of the other party, and only to the extent the entity can demonstrate that the disclosure would harm its competitive advantage.”

We submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to SUNY Poly, seeking copies of the 49 agreements that supposedly contained this curious provision. FOIL, though not without exemptions, trumps dubious assertions of confidentiality, which we suspected might be the case here. (We also submitted a similar request to the research foundation, which it refused to fulfill, saying it had “no means to conduct a search…to isolate agreements” executed on SUNY Poly’s behalf containing the provision.)

Nearly two months later, SUNY Poly’s records access officer told us that we needed to send our request to SUNY Research Foundation. We obliged.

Fast forward to Monday, when we received an email, with 14 attachments, from SUNY Research Foundation spokesman and records access officer Peter Taubkin.

“Attached are agreements identified to date,” Taubkin wrote. “Upon review they do not preclude the dissemination of the partner’s name.”

We asked if this meant he would be producing more agreements in the future, perhaps as many as 35, but Taubkin did not respond. We circled back to Ference, the SUNY Poly spokesman, asking why he had said these partnerships were secret when at least some of them are not—again, no response.

All but one of the agreements provided by Taubkin—you can view them all here—are non-disclosure agreements, which he told us last summer “are commonplace in the conduct of almost any business, and with research in particular.” None of the partners involved in any of the 14 formerly secret agreements, among them GE and several smaller manufacturers, strike us as particularly unusual or unexpected.

The confidentiality claim and its curt, months-later rescission seems perhaps the clearest example yet of SUNY Poly’s congenital secrecy. Whether or not SUNY Poly actually has any confidential partnerships—Bob Megna, who runs the school’s affiliated nonprofits, literally told the Times Union last year, “I don’t know what deals Kaloyeros cut with people”—it seems noteworthy that a public university could mistakenly mark about a dozen (or more?) deals as such.

If you know anything about SUNY Poly’s maybe-secret partners, please get in touch (luke@thealt.com).

SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s “Active” Partnerships, on or around 5/9/17

  1. IBM Corporation
  2. CONFIDENTIAL
  3. MICROrganic Technologies
  4. Translucent Incorporated
  5. Brewer Science
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  7. My Music Machines
  8. Spire Corporation
  9. Binghamton University
  10. Florida State University
  11. Allan Hancock CC
  12. CONFIDENTIAL
  13. NY Wired (Metrix Learning)
  14. Tumalow
  15. Pliant Energy Systems
  16. VOLTA Reserve Power
  17. Benet Laboratories
  18. Ecoark
  19. Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation
  20. Tau Science
  21. Disco
  22. Columbia University
  23. Southwest Research Institute
  24. CONFIDENTIAL
  25. Hocus Locus, LLC
  26. Infinity Precision Systems
  27. Union College
  28. Lehigh University
  29. Albany Nutraceuticals LLC
  30. Trinity Alliance
  31. Ficontec
  32. Boston University
  33. Johns Manville
  34. Nanometrics Incorporated
  35. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
  36. CONFIDENTIAL
  37. CONFIDENTIAL
  38. Electrospun Nanotechnologies
  39. CONFIDENTIAL
  40. National Institute on Deafness & Other Comm Disorders
  41. Research Foundation of City University of New York
  42. Northwestern University
  43. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  44. Rochester Gas and Electric, (RG&E)
  45. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  46. EWA Government Systems Incorporated
  47. PerkinElmer
  48. Precision Optical Transceivers
  49. CONFIDENTIAL
  50. CONFIDENTIAL
  51. Georgia Institute of Technology
  52. Glauconix
  53. US Department of Defense
  54. National Science Foundation
  55. CONFIDENTIAL
  56. UC Santa Barbara
  57. Boston College
  58. University of Colorado – Boulder
  59. Angstrom Sun Technologies
  60. Stanford University
  61. Raytheon Company
  62. National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research
  63. Solar Raceway
  64. CONFIDENTIAL
  65. CONFIDENTIAL
  66. CONFIDENTIAL
  67. Edwards Vacuum
  68. Mustang Vacuum Systems
  69. CONFIDENTIAL
  70. BrightSpot Automation
  71. CONFIDENTIAL
  72. Materials Diagnostic
  73. Vanderbilt University
  74. Jade Therapeutics Incorporated
  75. Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL)
  76. Eonix LLC
  77. NanoLabs Technologies
  78. SAVD Solar Incorporated
  79. Guided Interventions Incorporated
  80. CONFIDENTIAL
  81. Harris Corporation
  82. US Department of Energy
  83. UC Berkeley
  84. Avivid Water Technology
  85. University of North Texas
  86. Electric Power Research Institute
  87. Suniva
  88. ALBA Solutions
  89. Harvard University
  90. California Institute of Technology
  91. CONFIDENTIAL
  92. Lotus Leaf Coatings
  93. ApECOR
  94. JW Danforth
  95. University of Virginia
  96. Aris Wind
  97. CONFIDENTIAL
  98. National Grid
  99. Stony Brook University
  100. Esgee Technologies Inc.
  101. TEL Technology Center
  102. National Institute Occupational Safety & Health
  103. Atotech
  104. Titan Nanotech
  105. Michigan Technological University
  106. University of Wisconsin
  107. Advanced Nano Products (ANP)
  108. CONFIDENTIAL
  109. Optimation
  110. Lumisyn
  111. Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  112. Solid Cell
  113. Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Incorporated
  114. National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)
  115. National Cancer Institute
  116. SCI Engineered Materials, Inc.
  117. IQE
  118. Fraunhofer Institute for Non-Destructive Testing (IZFP)
  119. Stevens Institute of Technology
  120. Solopower Systems
  121. Sonoscan
  122. Albany Valve & Fitting
  123. Tessolar Incorporated
  124. CS Clean Systems
  125. Ultrasonic Technologies, Inc.
  126. Harriman Research & Technology Development Corporation
  127. M+W U.S. Incorporated
  128. Cornell University
  129. UC San Diego
  130. Convertech, Inc.
  131. Samtec
  132. National Institutes of Health
  133. Magnolia Optical Technologies Incorporated
  134. CONFIDENTIAL
  135. Akrion Systems
  136. Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  137. LumiSolair
  138. Zapp Precision Strip
  139. EYP Architects & Engineers
  140. Intrinsiq Materials Incorporated
  141. CONFIDENTIAL
  142. CONFIDENTIAL
  143. Windstream
  144. CONFIDENTIAL
  145. Brown University
  146. Nuclea Biotechnologies Incorporated
  147. CONFIDENTIAL
  148. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  149. Camline
  150. NIABRAZE Corporation
  151. Samsung Electronics Co LTD
  152. PhoeniX Software
  153. US Department of the Navy
  154. CONFIDENTIAL
  155. Global Solar Energy Incorporated
  156. NYPA (New York Power Authority)
  157. Inpria Corporation
  158. CONFIDENTIAL
  159. CH2M Hill
  160. National Human Genome Research Institute
  161. TreeBu
  162. Hitachi Chemical
  163. MPOWERD
  164. Hudson Valley Community College
  165. Micron Technology Inc
  166. Wright State University
  167. CONFIDENTIAL
  168. Ceres Technologies
  169. Empower Equity
  170. 5N Plus
  171. Inficon
  172. SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  173. Tech Valley High School
  174. Animate Energy
  175. California CC Chancellor’s Office
  176. Semiconductor Research Corporation
  177. CONFIDENTIAL
  178. City School District of Albany
  179. IntegraLED
  180. CONFIDENTIAL
  181. GlobalFoundries
  182. Infinera
  183. CONFIDENTIAL
  184. Penn State University
  185. ARCC Energy Group
  186. Empire Biotechnologies
  187. CONFIDENTIAL
  188. Process Research Products
  189. Applied Materials
  190. Commercehub
  191. Advanced Tool
  192. Mano Nanotechnologies
  193. SunTrac Solar
  194. Lam Research Incorporated
  195. Colnatec
  196. Schlumpf USA
  197. University of Arizona
  198. University of Texas at Arlington
  199. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL)
  200. MiaSole
  201. University of Texas at Austin
  202. CONFIDENTIAL
  203. CONFIDENTIAL
  204. Cadence
  205. Syracuse University
  206. Tecta Solar
  207. Integrated Data Driven Solutions (i2D Solutions)
  208. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
  209. MicroXact Incorporated
  210. Vistex Composites
  211. Nanoelectronics Research Corporation (NERC)
  212. General Controls Systems
  213. Yale University
  214. NASA
  215. CONFIDENTIAL
  216. CONFIDENTIAL
  217. Alfred University
  218. Quinsigamond CC
  219. Energy Storage Solutions
  220. University of Delaware
  221. CONFIDENTIAL
  222. MTECH Laboratories
  223. Goodlight
  224. Central Glass Company LTD
  225. NanoMDX
  226. Space Pharma R&D Israel
  227. CONFIDENTIAL
  228. Boeing Company
  229. Analog Photonics LLC
  230. CONFIDENTIAL
  231. Valutek
  232. CONFIDENTIAL
  233. CONFIDENTIAL
  234. CONFIDENTIAL
  235. CONFIDENTIAL
  236. Magnolia Solar
  237. CONFIDENTIAL
  238. Marktech Optoelectronics
  239. ENrG Inc.
  240. Veeco Instruments, Inc.
  241. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  242. Pearl Laboratories
  243. Ohio State University
  244. Polaritek
  245. Draper Laboratory
  246. Tega Therapeutics
  247. CONFIDENTIAL
  248. Indium Corporation of America
  249. Coil Pro Machinery
  250. University of Rochester
  251. Safflyn Green Industries
  252. General Electric (GRC)
  253. Plant PV Incorporated
  254. Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  255. Ventura College
  256. Norsk Titanium
  257. IBM Research
  258. CONFIDENTIAL
  259. Brookhaven Science Associates LLC
  260. Sandia National Laboratories
  261. CONFIDENTIAL
  262. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  263. University of Central Florida
  264. Rochester Institute of Technology
  265. Purdue University
  266. ITN Energy Services
  267. Energy Materials
  268. US Department of Commerce, EDA
  269. Resource Management Technology Systems Incorporated
  270. CHA
  271. Kokusai
  272. University of Maryland
  273. Siena College
  274. DPS
  275. University of Florida
  276. Drexel University
  277. Albany Medical College
  278. Plansee Group
  279. North Carolina State University
  280. UC Davis
  281. CONFIDENTIAL
  282. Addilat
  283. Polytechnic Institute of NYU
  284. SUMCO Corporation
  285. Zinter Handling
  286. Newport Corporation
  287. Clarkson University
  288. NYS OGS ITS
  289. ASML
  290. Sinton Instruments
  291. University of Missouri Columbia
  292. Air Liquide
  293. Swagelok
  294. CONFIDENTIAL
  295. United Technologies
  296. Optimal Solutions
  297. US Department of the Air Force
  298. SEMATECH
  299. VersufleX Technologies
  300. ECG Consulting Group
  301. CONFIDENTIAL
  302. SEFCU
  303. Santa Barbara CC
  304. CONFIDENTIAL

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