After expanding the National Science Foundation in the CHIPS & Science Bill and providing the agency’s largest $$$ increase ever, UB receives the first NSF AI Institute Award of 2023 and the first for New York State
Reps says the new AI institute at UB, supported by NSF and the Department of Education, will help develop cutting-edge educational technology to help children with speech and language disorders communicate
Schumer, Gillibrand, Higgins: Buffalo will help lead America in AI innovations for child education and speech-language pathology
After Schumer reauthorized and expanded the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of his CHIPS and Science Act and US Senator Charles E. Schumer, US Senate Majority Leader, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Brian Higgins just secured the largest dollar raise in agency history, announcing today that the University of Buffalo will raise $20 million US dollars is received to establish a national artificial intelligence research institute for transforming education for children with speech and language processing problems. This is the first federal AI institute to receive an award this year and the first New York State to ever receive an award. Officials said this large federal investment will spur the growing innovation economy in western New York, support high-paying research jobs and help drive critical innovations in speech-language pathology so children have better access to education.
“The University at Buffalo is a leader in New York and our country in developing significant innovations in educational technology, and Buffalo will now host the first-ever National AI Research Institute in New York to transform education for children with communication disabilities. This large federal investment will help bring technology into the classroom to ensure all children get the help they need with language and language processing challenges — all thanks to research by Buffalo scientists.” said Senator Schumer. “That means well-paying research jobs, a stronger tech workforce, and more cutting-edge innovations being developed right here in west New York. I am proud to deliver this $20 million to UB to help harness the power of AI to give families and children across America access the education they need.”
added Schumer, “Awards like these, which boost the economy of western New York and improve life through technological innovation, are exactly why I fought so hard to have the NSF reauthorized through my CHIPS and Science Act and to expand, and then deliver the agency’s biggest boost in history, mobilize even more federal investment to boost the innovation economy of western New York. Many are now realizing what I have long known, that Buffalo has all the ingredients to be a global center for scientific research and technology, and this federal grant is one of many more to come from the NSF and other funding increases for innovation programs, for I fought to ensure the future of technology is made in upstate New York.”
“This historic investment will help world-class researchers at the University at Buffalo harness the power of artificial intelligence to bring life-changing help to children with speech and language processing disorders.” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m proud to have fought to get the CHIPS & Science Act passed to expand the NSF and make this $20 million investment in our children, and I will continue to fight for federal dollars to support scientific innovation.” to help develop the tech workforce in western New York and support people with disabilities.”
“This is an exciting opportunity for this region to lead a project that is critical to the development and future of our children,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “The AI4ExceptionalEd Institute, led by UB, will help with early detection, saving time and resources so speech-language pathologists can focus on providing direct services. And the award couldn’t come at a better time as we see increased demand, in part due to pandemic-related isolation and delays.”
“We would like to thank US Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins for their many years of support of federally funded university research,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi . “They have shown time and time again how much they value the ability of academic research to solve real-world problems, and their commitment creates opportunities for people in our state and nation to thrive.”
Schumer, Gillibrand, and Higgins explained that over 3.4 million children need language and language-related services in school systems across America, but resource scarcity and the pandemic have exacerbated this problem, making it difficult for children to get the help they need to deal with language problems they may have at school. The new AI institute at UB will be a partnership between the NSF and the US Department of Education’s National Center for Special Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences, with each agency contributing $10 million to address this problem head-on.
Representatives said the newly created AI Institute for Transforming Education for Children with Speech and Language Processing Challenges will leverage the latest AI technologies to bridge this gap and drive innovation to improve understanding of children’s speech and language development and to strengthen services so more children have access to the resources they need to learn and communicate.
A complete project description can be found here.
The delegation has long campaigned to increase federal investment in innovative research and technological development in upstate New York, and particularly in western New York. Earlier this year, Schumer, Gillibrand and Higgins passed the historical test CHIPS and Science Actmaking a generational investment in innovation, manufacturing, and research and development in the US, including expanding the NSF for more investment in research in key technology areas like AI.
Most recently, in the just-passed year-end bill, members supported $10.8 billion in federal investment for key programs in the CHIPS and Science Actincluding $9.87 billion for the National Science Foundation, an increase of over $1 billion, the largest ever for the program, which makes awards like today’s possible and will inspire even greater investments in the future.
The omnibus also included $500 million to begin implementation of the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (“Tech Hubs”) program. This funding will provide planning grants and a first round of implementation awards to create regional technology hubs focused on economic development, job creation and expanding US innovation capacity. This program was developed in the CHIPS and Science bill specifically for places like Upstate NY, and builds on the $25 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge award that representatives received for western New York last year Empower the region’s manufacturing workforce and ensure the future of technology is made in America and specifically in upstate New York.
As of 2020, the NSF, in partnership with other agencies, has funded 19 AI institutes across the country for a total of $240 million; You can find more projects listed here.