Karen Backus is Principal and Co-Founder of U3 Advisors, a nationally-recognized real estate consulting and strategy firm. Among the highlights of her nearly 40-year career in commercial real estate, Karen served as lead project manager to Cornell University for the planning and development of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, as well as to Columbia University during the planning phase of its Manhattanville campus, Karen is currently advising the Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services and the University of Toronto, among others. Prior to merging her firm to create U3 Advisors in 2014, Karen launched K. Backus & Associates in 1998, developing a unique and successful real estate consulting practice focused on serving universities and nonprofits. She also worked at Forest City Ratner Companies for two years and the NYC Economic Development Corporation for a decade. Karen serves as Vice Chair for the Urban Land Institute's University Development & Innovation Council.
Tue Apr 09 2:30 PM — 3:30 PM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time New York Hilton Midtown - Level 2, Nassau Suite
It has been almost 12 years since New York City launched the Applied Sciences NYC initiative, a once-in-a-generation investment in higher education with the aim of ensuring NYC remains one of the world's premier economic hubs for the future. The initiative involved the creation of three new campuses across the city—the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute on Roosevelt Island, the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress in Downtown Brooklyn, and the Columbia University Data Science Institute in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. The city offered over 12 acres of city-owned land at Roosevelt Island, a seed investment of $100 million of city capital, and the full support of the administration. The cost to the city was significant, but the impact was expected to be enormous ($33 billion overall economic impact, 1,000 spin-off companies, and 48,000+ jobs over three decades). How successful has this initiative been thus far and will it be worth the investment? What were the lessons learned? How can other cities leverage their higher education institutions to create a strong commercialization pipeline, from academia to industry, to create more jobs?