Brooklyn tertiary students will soon have the opportunity to work with some of the city’s most exciting startups and entrepreneurs, thanks to a new educational facility at Brooklyn Navy Yard.

On Tuesday it was announced that new advanced research and applied learning facility “The Research Yard” would be opening in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in early 2022.

The Research Yard is a collaboration between Pratt Institute, New York City College of Technology (City Tech) and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC).

Building 127 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Photo courtesy Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

The new institution is set to connect faculty and students from Pratt and City Tech with the Yard’s ecosystem of more than 500 businesses, creating a pipeline of quality jobs accessible to Brooklynites, BNYDC President David Ehrenberg said.

“In bringing two renowned academic institutions to a major job hub, the Research Yard will open doors for students by offering a hands-on learning environment,” he said.

The details

The new institute is being built with $6 million funding from parties including the New York City Council, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York State.

Borough President Eric Adams. Photo: Supplied.

Adams said The Research Yard would create pipelines from Pratt and City Tech to jobs in emerging fields, “connecting Brooklynites to high-quality employment opportunities and cementing our borough as our city’s tech capital after a decade of astronomical growth in the sector.”

The Research Yard will be headquartered in a 27,000-square-foot space in a Navy Yard building constructed in 1918.

Architects are working on transforming the space into a 21st century educational facility: an open-plan space with labs for making things, as well as research spaces for areas of study from robotics to digital archeology, and several incubator spaces.

The space will also house a facility for where CUNY and Pratt students and faculty will gain hands-on experience collaborating with industry professionals from the Yard’s ecosystem.

Those working at The Research Yard with City Tech will focus on AI and robotics, building performance and digital fabrication and remote sensing tech.

Those working at The Research Yard with Pratt will focus on robotics, mapping and data visualization, and sustainability.

Pratt President Frances Bronet said building the research facility was “crucial for New York City, and especially for the Borough of Brooklyn,” and thanked the New York City Council, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York State for their funding of it.

City Tech’s School of Technology & Design Dean Dr. Gerarda Shields said funding for the project was a testament to the council’s commitment to propelling City Tech forward as a “national engine of economic mobility in Downtown Brooklyn.”

Brooklyn Navy Yard growing its influence

Brooklyn is becoming a magnet for tech startups. By 2018, more than 1,200 new technology firms planted roots in the borough compared to just 264 a decade earlier. New York City is increasingly becoming more competitive with Silicon Valley with locations like Brooklyn Navy Yard attracting local tech talent and investors.

In April, BK Reader covered how RoadPower, a clean energy startup at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, is part of the wave of companies putting Brooklyn on the map as a tech destination.

In March, we reported on how Newlab was able to bring back 150 staff and members to its Brooklyn Navy Yard location after deploying technologies that monitor workers health and location, in order to keep workspaces COVID-19 free.

The Navy Yard’s Building 28. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Just months earlier, the Navy Yard’s Newlab held an open call for its Innovation Studios for companies using technology to solve some of the biggest challenges the world is facing.

Meanwhile, the Navy Yard has also held business incubators to support minority and female entrepreneurs create, develop and grow their companies with a specific focus on those founded by African Americans.

In 2019, its Employment Center was heralded with creating record job placements, and its even attracting international talent like this Danish shoe designer.

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Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a freelance writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

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