In his first year in office, University President Peter Salovey has made efforts to ensure that town-gown relations extend beyond New Haven alone.
Over the course of the year, Salovey and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy have met a number of times to discuss collaboration between the University and the state. Salovey has met with Malloy, along with New Haven Mayor Toni Harp ARC ’78, to encourage economic development in the city and the surrounding region. In the academic sphere, Salovey has encouraged faculty from both Yale and the public University of Connecticut to work together.
“There’s a lot of alignment of interest between Yale, the mayor and the governor. It’s a good moment,” Salovey said. “We’re figuring out where the common ground is.”
Cooperation between Yale and Connecticut has emerged, in part, from a goal Salovey articulated when he took office last year: encouraging entrepreneurship. Connecticut Innovations, an organization that provides financing and support for upstart Connecticut companies, partnered with Yale last fall to create a $2.5 million Yale Entrepreneurship Institute Innovation Fund to support YEI projects. The money will provide up to $100,000 to selected companies to support their growth.
Malloy — whose office could not be reached for comment this week — has a vested interest in keeping upstart companies in New Haven, as they provide tax revenue and keep residents in the state.
The CI partnership does just that, said University Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander ’65. He added that the partnership also creates jobs in the city of New Haven.
Salovey said Yale can work with nearby colleges and universities — such as the University of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University and Gateway Community College — to build a strong regional workforce.
“Perhaps we can experiment with some regional partnerships that will develop jobs for people in our communities,” Harp suggested.
Maintaining a functioning transportation infrastructure is another way of helping to keep residents in New Haven and Connecticut, city officials and University administrators said. Both Salovey and Malloy have thrown their support behind improving service on the Metro-North railroad.
“I still dream someday of a train that takes less than an hour [to get to New York],” Salovey said.
Alexander said that though the University is playing no formal role in efforts to improve Metro-North, Yale would like to see the state increase service between New Haven and New York. In early February, Malloy announced a $10 million investment into augmenting the electrical capacity on Metro-North’s New Haven line.
Recently, collaborations between Yale and the University of Connecticut have begun to take shape as well. Salovey said he has met multiple times with both Malloy and UConn President Susan Herbst. High-performance computing and research on biomedical devices are particularly promising areas for collaboration, Salovey said.
Two Yale faculty members, Mark Saltzman and Peter Schulam, created the Center for Biomedical and Interventional Technology at Yale, a new center for medical device development. Saltzman and Schulam said they have reached out to faculty at UConn to bring together teams of collaborators from both universities.
Thus far, the group has held a workshop for CBIT that brought together stakeholders from both Yale and the University of Connecticut. There are “synergies between the two campuses and the opportunity for shared resources,” said Shulam.
Saltzman added that there has been “terrific enthusiasm” from both universities regarding the project.
Malloy has served as governor of the state since January 2011. Salovey and Harp stepped into their roles in 2013 and 2014, respectively.