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CUSP graduate program to hold first classes next fall

Posted on December 11, 2012 | by Isaac Marshall

NYU’s most recent graduate program will host it’s first class at MetroTech in Brooklyn come next fall.

The program, Center for Urban Science and Progress, which will focus on training students to apply their skills in science and technology to sol

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ve problems, is one of the winners of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Applied Sciences NYC competition. In December 2010, the city launched the competition and challenged institutions from around the world to propose an applied science and engineering campus in New York City.

A year later, the city announced it would be partner with Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to build a $2 million, 2 million-square-foot campus on Roosevelt Island. In April, Bloomberg, NYU President John Sexton and Joseph Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, announced a second agreement to create an applied sciences center in Downtown Brooklyn.

Constantine Kontokosta, deputy director of the program, said CUSP will build on the strength of the partnership that includes City University of New York, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Toronto, University of Warwick, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, as well as IBM and Cisco.

Kontokosta said CUSP is a primarily research institution that will focus on bringing together the best and the brightest from NYU and from all of its partners. He added that the program recently finished designing and getting approval for its first degree, a masters of science in applied urban science and informatics. The center is also developing a post-masters certificate of the same general theme and title.

Kontokosta also said the university will work directly with New York City agencies.

“We’ve reached out to all the commissioners and involved agencies, and we sat down with them and said, ‘Okay, what are your biggest challenges? What are the things that keep you up at night?’” he said. “We’re seeing a whole range of things. There are fundamental questions about building efficiency and how to develop better ways to reduce carbon emissions and reduce energy consumption in our buildings.”

But Gallatin freshman John Bradshaw said there are more complicated issues surrounding the program, such as financial aid.

“I support the idea of a program that trains students to make the city more sustainable, but I think that the tuition is a larger issue for some people,” Bradshaw said. “NYU is expensive and financial aid seems to be less and less available here.”

However, others said programs like CUSP are vital to the future of the university in an increasingly tech-savvy world.

“New York just became rated as one of the best cities in the world for tech companies,” said Josh Vazhappilly, a CAS freshman studying chemistry. “So, I think that a program geared towards teaching students how to apply technological thinking to improving the city is very important.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Dec.11 print edition. Isaac Marshall is a staff writer. Email him at


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