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What are the Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation?
What was the origin of the institutes?
What is the purpose of the institutes?
How will the institutes help the economy?
What are some specific examples of what the institutes do to help the economy?
How will the institutes contribute to the quality of life?
How does the research at the institutes differ from ongoing research projects at the University of California?
Is all of the financing for the institutes coming from the state of California?
Why were the institutes created?
How is industry involved?
How do the institutes advance the university's teaching mission?

Q. What are the Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation?

A. The institutes, established on University of California (UC) campuses, are comprehensive basic research centers concentrating on complex scientific challenges that demand multidisciplinary strategies and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Partnership with industry help move early-stage research developments into the commercial R&D pipeline for more rapid delivery of public benefits to the marketplace.

The institutes draw the best researchers and students from throughout UC’s 10 campuses and three national laboratories, as well as other California research institutions. They are led by the world’s best scientists and engineers.

The institutes create a new environment for industry scientists to collaborate in fundamental research and to educate future scientists.

Q. What was the origin of the institutes ?

A. The institutes were proposed by Governor Gray Davis in the year 2000 to ensure California’s premier standing in knowledge-driven high tech and bioscience industries and to provide the technological underpinnings for the state’s future economic growth.

Joint public and private investment will promote the cutting-edge basic research and education of the next generation of scientists and technological leaders who are essential for California’s future leadership in an increasingly competitive, international economy.

Q. What is the purpose of the institutes?

A. The two major goals of the institutes are to drive California's economy and to improve the quality of life for all Californians.

Q. How will the institutes help the economy?

A. All four of the institutes are structured in ways that will speed up business growth in the state. UC researchers work collaboratively with hundreds of the state's leading-edge businesses during the discovery process so that the time it takes to develop and deliver new products and technologies to the marketplace can be reduced. The institutes also serve as a training ground for the next generation of scientists and business leaders because industry partners and student research assistants work side-by-side leading researchers.

The areas of research addressed by the institutes target major components of the CA economy.

Q. What are some specific examples of what the institutes do to help the economy?

A. Three of the four institutes address technology. Fifty years ago families had to huddle around the radio to listen to it. All of that changed with the invention of the transistor. Now we listen to the radio in our cars and even in the shower. The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology at UCSD and UCI hopes to transform PCs and today's Internet in a similar way through the use of wireless technologies. Hopefully in the near future we will not have to huddle in front of our PC to access cyberspace.

The California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA and UCSB helps in this area and with many other areas by finding ways to produce essential components that are significantly smaller (the size of a thumbnail), cheaper, faster and have more memory than those that exist today. For nonscientists, to get a handle on what is meant by nanometers you can think of slicing a human hair lengthwise into 10,000 pieces - its a handful of atoms or molecules.

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society at UCB, UCSC, UCD, and UCM helps realize information technology's potential for solving many of the complex problems facing society. Society's challenges will shape the research agenda. Some of the challenges addressed, such as those in the area of transportation, will help to improve worker productivity - or output per hour worked. Any economist would agree that productivity improvements are critical to the state and national economy's long-range potential. At the same time, harnessing technology to facilitate better management of traffic flows can help save billions of dollars.

The major high tech industry groups affected by the research at the first two institutes make up close to of California's exports, and thus have a tremendous impact on the health of the economy.

The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences at UCSF, UCB, and UCSC addresses another key segment of the economy by tapping physical scientists to help biomedical scientists and physicians do new things. As one small example of the potential economic impact of this industry, the biotechnology industry in California helped to create 3600 new jobs related to drug production alone in 1999.

Q. How will the institutes contribute to the quality of life?

A. While the possibilities are numerous, a few examples of areas that the research address are as follows:

  • The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology hopes to create a device that can be swallowed in the form of a pill, and is capable of transmitting information to your doctor via wireless communications about how an internal organ in your body is responding to the medication.

  • The California NanoSystems Institute hopes to develop "white laser" which would replace reduce energy use by as much as 20% by replacing the light bulb as we know it. It could also significantly reduce the invasiveness of surgeries thus allowing more surgeries to be done without lengthy and costly hospital visits.

  • The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences hopes to use DNA chip array to look at the genes targeted by drugs that are taken now and to determine the effects those drugs have on individuals' molecules (as opposed to tissues) given each individuals' unique genetic makeup.

  • The Center for Information Technology Research hopes to find ways to create real-time monitoring systems so that older Californians can stay home longer with care and treatments delivered through electronic devices controlled remotely by doctors.

Q. How does the research at the institutes differ from ongoing research projects at the University of California?

A. Scientific advances increasingly require researchers from different fields to collaborate – computer scientists with biologists, chemists with physicists and mathematicians.

The Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation address that need, expanding UC’s basic research capacity in multidisciplinary research and on a scale of complexity that previously could not be approached by researchers working in a traditional academic environment. The basic nature of research at UC and its focus on fundamental problems and generation of new knowledge will not be changed. Through partnerships with industry, the institutes provide a new, creative environment for intellectual collaborations between UC and industry scientists. In this way, the institutes accelerate public benefits by expanding the development of new knowledge and facilitating its transfer to the private sector.

Q. Is all of the financing for the institutes coming from the state of California?

No. The state provides only one-third of the funding in annual installments with two-thirds provided by private and federal sources. The state planned to invest $100 million in each institute, and challenged UC and industry to match every dollar provided by the state with at least two dollars in non-state funding an effort that has been extremely successful to-date. The campuses identify sources for the required matching funding. The timeline and mechanism for the state's contribution may be adjusted given its budget situation, but total funding for the initiative is expected to be no less than $1.2 billion, including $800 million in non-state matching funds.

Q. Why were the institutes created?

A. To make California’s knowledge-intensive industries more competitive; to expand the state’s research and development (R&D) capacity; and to educate the state’s future R&D leaders and workforce. Today’s global economy puts a premium on the ability to create new knowledge and move it rapidly in innovative R&D programs that lead to new products, technologies and even markets. California is a leader in that fierce, technology-driven economic competition because – perhaps more than anyplace else in the world – it has the essential intellectual, financial, and infrastructure resources.

The Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation substantially leverage California’s competitive advantage by focusing on the science and engineering that drive the state’s economy. They forge research partnerships between UC and industry to produce the next generation of technologies and products.

The institutes also provide a new environment for education, providing students insights on private industry and future career opportunities in the state.

Q. How is industry involved?

A. The institutes were envisioned as opportunities to create a new environment for joint industry-university collaborations in fundamental research and teaching. Each of the three institutes has formed partnerships with an array of companies, small and large, that will expand steadily over time. Private contributions range from gifts to research grants. Many of the partnerships involve intellectual property agreements that, following standard UC policy, enable contributing companies to negotiate commercial licenses on specific research discoveries that are patented by the UC Regents. Industry scientists are invited to participate in research collaborations, are engaged in co-teaching new courses and provide internships for students. All of UC's standard policies governing industry-university relationships apply to the institutes.

Q. How do the institutes advance the university's teaching mission?

A. The institutes provide new educational programs that present innovative, multidisciplinary perspectives on science and engineering. Both undergraduate and graduate students enroll in these programs and are taught by leading scientists and engineers. The students are provided a rare view into fundamental scientific challenges that require unusually complex, interdisciplinary approaches.

Participating industry scientists provide students a first-hand look at the objectives, career opportunities and educational requirements of today's knowledge-based industries. The institutes provide students with an educational experience that can help them become future R&D leaders.

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