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  • New Microtechnology Center Planned in Vermont
Dec 2003
RUTLAND, Vt., Dec. 16 -- A microtechnology center with the potential to generate hundreds of jobs is about to be created in Bennington, Vt., according to an article in Monday's Rutland Herald.

The Center for Automation Technologies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in Troy, N.Y., will play a major role in the project, which is being funded through a $3.5 million US Office of Naval Research contract, the article said.

The Bennington County Industrial Corp. (BCIC) and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., will hold a press conference Wednesday to announce the formation of the Bennington Microtechnology Center.

The center will test the production of microtechnology devices, creating about a dozen high-paying jobs at first, the article said, and companies that use the facility and find their product ideas successful could relocate or expand in town, giving Bennington a much-needed economic boost.

Although the exact location of the new Bennington center has not been determined, the Herald reported, it is likely to occupy space in Krone Optical Systems or the BCIC incubator building, both of which are on Water Street in North Bennington.

Gov. James Douglas has earmarked $125,000 in his proposed fiscal 2005 budget to help with the center's startup costs, press secretary Jason Gibbs told the Herald.

Gibbs said the center was an important part of a new strategy aimed at identifying and targeting "business clusters," including nanotechnology and microelectronics, for development or expansion.

The article said the Bennington center has been "a tightly held secret" for months.

"Officials have said privately that they hoped to avoid a bidding war with New York, which has poured millions of tax dollars into the creation of a high-tech center in the Albany area," the Herald said.

The Center for Automation Technologies at RPI, pursues projects aimed at "radical innovations" in current industrial practices, according to its Web site. It is one of the few in the US that combines fundamental research with new approaches to microtechnology challenges in assembly and packaging.

The center has collaborated with more than 150 government and corporate partners, including Boeing, Hitachi and Kodak, since being founded in 1988. Past projects include the automated assembly of optical fiber systems and the joining of micro-components using resistance welding.

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