Hamilton Recaps NYU’s Progress in Science

In a letter to the NYU community, President Andrew Hamilton announced a new Department of Bioengineering and went over ways the university’s science programs have improved.

NYU President Andrew Hamilton speaks at a "Fireside Chat" event. At his Presidential Welcome to the Class of 2023, Hamilton made alluded to a rivalry with Columbia University, which some first-years felt was unnecessary. (Photo by Sam Klein)

NYU President Andrew Hamilton detailed efforts by the university to emphasize science and engineering in a letter sent out to the NYU community on Thursday.

Hamilton has a background in science himself, as a professor of chemistry, molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University from 1997 to 2003. Prior to that, he was the chair of the chemistry department at the University of Pittsburgh and a chemistry professor at Oxford University and Princeton University. When he first came to NYU, Hamilton said improving the university’s science programs would be one of his priorities. In his letter, he listed investing in cross-disciplinary areas as a way to do so efficiently.

“The most strategic academic investments are those where the whole will prove greater than the sum of the parts and we can shrewdly bridge schools and disciplines to increase the competitiveness of our scientific portfolio,” Hamilton wrote.

One of the developments mentioned in the letter is a new Department of Bioengineering in the Tandon School of Engineering that will work with the dentistry and medical schools to “harness advances in engineering, materials, and processes in the service of human health.” Approved in June 2018 by the Board of Trustees, the department will have locations near the medical, dental, and nursing schools as well as Tandon.

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The letter also mentions progress the university has made, and begins with a list of rankings and statistics meant to show this progress. An increase in faculty submissions for grants and the National Science Foundation’s research and design expenditures ranking were two statistics highlighted by Hamilton.

In a recent interview with WSN, Hamilton said he puts a particular amount of stock in the NSF’s ranking which has NYU at number 18 in the country, up from the number 55 spot it was at 10 years ago.

“NYU is a remarkable place. We’ve had great historic strength in many areas like law, like the humanities, like the social sciences,” Hamilton said. “That academic excellence shows itself in the quality of the faculty and the work that they do, [in] both their teaching but especially their research.”

Hamilton also noted NYU’s previous investments in scientific fields. The university has begun a chemical biology initiative to research and develop drugs for major health issues, formed a center to conduct research relating to quantum physics and created a Center for Research Computing to provide high-level computational facilities.

Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected].

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