UC Berkeley May Join Institute Program





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After announcing the three new California Institutes for Science and Innovation yesterday, Gov. Gray Davis pledged to request funding to make UC Berkeley the fourth research center in the program.

While UC San Francisco will be the official site of the California Institute for Bioengineering, Biotechnology and Quantitative Medicine, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz will also participate in the project to bring together scientists in biomedical research, engineering and physical sciences.

A group of leading scientists from all three campuses said they hope to make breakthroughs in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl applauded Davis' decision to make the university a collaborator with the UCSF institute.

"It's a tremendous, important, creative and far-sighted vision that the governor has built," he said.

Berdahl said a major portion of the institute's research will occur on the UC Berkeley campus, resulting in the construction of new health and science buildings.

He also said he was "extremely pleased" with the governor's endorsement for funding to establish UC Berkeley's Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society as the program's fourth institute.

In January, Davis proposed funding three new state institutes to research developing technologies and make advancements in medicine and science. The institutes are expected to give California an edge in science and technology and promote economic growth.

A committee of leading scholars and scientific experts were appointed to select three winning institutes from among six UC finalist proposals.

Hilary McLean, a spokesperson for the governor, said the committee faced a difficult decision in selecting only three institutes.

"The panel found the six proposals were so outstanding, it was very hard for them to recommend just three, so they urged the governor to consider UC Berkeley the fourth institute," she said.

McLean said Davis will include a proposal in next year's budget to fund UC Berkeley's research center. On June 30, the legislature is expected to review the governor's budget, and if approved, plans will go forward to put the institute in place.

The UC Berkeley research center will work to advance information technologies in overlooked areas of society, such as transportation, education, emergency preparedness and health care.

Private donors have already pledged more than $170 million over four years to the potential research center, including almost $50 million from industry and more than $120 million in individual donations.

The state would award the university an additional $100 million, together with an expected $80 million from federal research grants and contracts.

The university would collaborate with UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz on research networking and environmental applications.

The sites of the two other Institutes for Science and Innovation are UCLA's Nanosystems Research Center and UC San Diego's Telecommunications and Information Technology.

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