:   ALBANY, NY – SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) announced today that SUNY Poly’s Nicole Neu-Baker, Research Associate for NanoHealth Initiatives; Maxwell Lippitt, Advanced Manufacturing Performance (AMP) Center Project Engineer; Dr. Tina Ovitt, Environmental Engineer; and Kassey Rydberg, Associate Vice President of Environmental Health and Safety at the New York Center for Research, Economic Advancement, Technology, Engineering and Science (NY CREATES) received a total $112,000 through cost-sharing Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC-NIOSH).

The funds will enable the research team to work with NIOSH to engage with identified semiconductor industry partners to find occupational health and safety (OHS) gaps and needs for the industry, in addition to finding ways to address any OHS hazards. New guidance will be widely communicated to support the health of the semiconductor workforce, further facilitating the sustainability of computer chip fabrication facilities in New York State and beyond. The team will work closely with Michael Fancher, Director of SUNY Poly’s New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Nanomaterials and Nanoelectronics (CATN2), who will also support the project and lead workforce training efforts resulting from this research initiative.

“I am proud to congratulate Nicole Neu-Baker, Maxwell Lippitt, Kassey Rydberg, and Dr. Tina Ovitt for receiving this funding from NIOSH to mitigate potential risks to the semiconductor workforce associated with new and emerging materials and processes,” said SUNY Poly Acting President Dr. Tod A. Laursen. “This research effort dovetails nicely with the recent passage of the CHIPS Act and funding of the National Science and Technology Center, in addition to the recent expansion of chip fabrication facilities across New York State, which can all benefit from integrating the eventual industry-coordinated health and safety solutions.”

“SUNY Poly’s team brings extensive expertise to bear on this research, including in semiconductor facility and process equipment, occupational and environmental health and safety, and hazard and risk communication, and I congratulate each of the researchers who will pave the way toward greater understanding of health and safety gaps in the computer chip industry to help ensure a robust future,” said Dr. Nathaniel Cady, SUNY Poly Interim Vice President of Research; Empire Innovation Professor of Nanobioscience.

“NIOSH is pleased to have partnered with SUNY Poly to identify and address potential risks to the semiconductor workforce,” said Jay Vietas, PhD, Chief of NIOSH’s Emerging Technologies Branch. “Advances in nanotechnology, smart materials, automation, and other fields continue to place new capabilities into the hands of manufacturers and engineers. Safe and responsible implementation of these technologies is critical to their success, and the health and success of the American worker.”

This research is uniquely able to take place at SUNY Poly’s Albany campus at the Albany NanoTech Complex because it is the only place where the industry and their equipment operate within shared access cleanrooms. This effort also aims to have a broader impact on the current and next-generation workforce by informing comprehensive environmental and occupational health and safety training that can be combined with industry-coordinated solutions.

“On behalf of NY CREATES, I congratulate our colleagues for securing funding to support this timely and important research into improving worker health and safety,” said David Anderson, President, NY CREATES. “As the U.S. focuses on strengthening the semiconductor industry, its success is directly tied to growing the American workforce. There is no better place for this research to be done – the Albany NanoTech Complex is the most advanced semiconductor R&D center in the nation and we operate shared cleanrooms that are used by multiple leading companies alongside our academic partners.”

“I congratulate Nicole, Maxwell, Kassey, and Dr. Ovitt on advancing these assignments which continue and build upon a long-standing partnership between NIOSH and SUNY Poly which furthers our understanding of semiconductor industry health and safety needs to enhance our industry collaborations and open additional avenues for academic learning and research related to this important area,” said SUNY Poly Interim Dean of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) Dr. André Melendez.

“I am pleased to work on assignment to CDC-NIOSH along with my colleagues at SUNY Poly to continue the partnership NIOSH and SUNY Poly have had since 2010,” said Nicole Neu-Baker. “We are eager to leverage SUNY Poly’s unique resources and strong industry partnerships to not only identify current and potential health and safety needs for the semiconductor industry, but also to develop resources to improve safety and health outcomes for this workforce.”

Notably, SUNY Poly is concurrently developing a comprehensive Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) training sequence, led by Michael Fancher, CATN2 Director. This initiative covers all aspects of occupational safety in the fab from Facilities to Equipment to Process, with any identified needs addressed by SUNY Poly-led workforce training and industry coordinated solutions.

Nicole Neu-Baker has served on several prior assignments and contracts to NIOSH since 2014, having published several peer-reviewed publications regarding occupational exposure assessments for semiconductor, advanced manufacturing, and nanotechnology workforces. Additionally, for a previous NIOSH assignment, she conducted preliminary research developing and evaluating a new rapid screening method using hyperspectral microscopy to analyze samples collected from worksite exposure assessments.

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