Columbia University and IBM Connect to Prepare Students With Resources and Skills for the Growing Green Job Market

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NEW YORK - 21 Apr 2010: An increasing number of businesses, communities and governments around the world are undertaking transformation projects to make aging infrastructures such as buildings, electricity grids and transportation systems more sustainable. To ensure students have the right skills to take on these challenges, the Center for Technology, Innovation and Community Engagement (CTICE), part of Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), and IBM (NYSE:IBM) are launching a new joint initiative to provide technology resources to college students that will prepare them for the emerging green economy.

The Smarter Cities Skills Initiative opens IBM's global resources to Columbia faculty and students, including access to 40 IBM Innovation Centers worldwide and IBM Research expertise. The initiative builds upon Columbia’s existing academic programs and research efforts on sustainability issues, spanning diverse disciplines including business, law and engineering. The new initiative is designed to help students find new ways to make infrastructures more sustainable. 

Under the new initiative, Columbia faculty and students now have no-charge access to:

 Additionally, Columbia faculty and students can have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with IBM Research scientists on projects related to the future of smarter cities and sustainability. 

“Smart urban infrastructures are key to long term environmental and economic sustainability," said Rich Lechner, vice president, IBM Energy and Environment. "IBM and Columbia share a common goal to ensure the next generation of entrepreneurs have access to the skills they need to accelerate sustainability projects and to be competitive when they enter the workforce.”

In recognition of Earth Day 2010, the initiative will be announced tomorrow at Columbia to faculty, students, venture capitalists, policy analysts, and industry leaders at the first annual Smarter Students for a Smarter Planet forum. More than 150 schools around the world are expected to participate via webcast. The forum will explore the skills necessary to prepare students for green jobs, and help academia and industry jumpstart global collaboration toward a green economy.

“Providing students the skills and education to solve complex urban challenges is a priority for Columbia,” said Jack McGourty, senior associate dean of Columbia Engineering School. “Working on these challenges in collaboration with IBM researchers and business specialists offers students the rare opportunity to acquire real-world knowledge that we hope will benefit them—and society—for years to come."

Through a number of research initiatives, academic programs and through its own environmental stewardship efforts, Columbia University is committed to advancing the sustainability of local, national and global communities. Cutting-edge research by Columbia scientists and engineers is helping develop a smarter electrical grid, improve energy efficiency and make the New York City community more resilient to increasing energy demands. Many of Columbia’s students and faculty are working closely with the local city government to help achieve PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s roadmap for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making the city more sustainable by 2030.

Note to Editors:  Broadcast quality and streaming video are available at

About the Fu Foundation School of Engineering
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University was founded in 1864 and is among the oldest in the nation, with 164 faculty members in nine departments, 1,400 undergraduate students, and 1,800 graduate students. Its programs support the School’s mission to educate socially-responsible engineering and applied science leaders whose work results in the betterment of the human condition, locally, nationally, and globally. The School’s major interdisciplinary research efforts include CyberBioPhysical Systems™, where the biological, physical, and digital worlds intersect, and where innovative solutions will be found for today and tomorrow’s most intractable problems in health, sustainability, and infrastructure, both physical and digital. For more information, visit

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