Saturday, June 09, 2007

Good Economy & Good Environment

This perspective, which is an excellent one, says both can be accomplished by using the depth of our research capability and political leadership.

Research institutions fuel state economy
By Phil Bond, David Gollaher and Carl Guardino -
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, June 9, 2007

Scientific research in California is proof that you can have the best of both "green" worlds -- a strong economy with a healthy environment.

Recent technological innovations and discoveries flowing out of California's public research universities -- backed by state and industry funding -- are helping to keep our economy competitive, improve our health and safety, and find cleaner, more efficient solutions to our use of energy and natural resources.

These advances represent great returns of previous investments in California research, but we need to put more "green" into future "green research" initiatives to keep the momentum going.

With the $95 million California Research Initiative proposed by the governor and supported by many state legislators, the University of California could tackle many of the critical economic, energy and environmental issues that lie before us.

Our member organizations know these crucial research efforts have great potential to extend California's global dominance in research, development and delivery of new technologies for end users -- continuing California's long tradition of scientific advances that so often create new industries, keeping us competitive in an increasingly complex global marketplace.

The proposed funding would:

• Build and operate an Energy Biosciences Institute, which would be dedicated to long-term research into the production of alternative fuels.
• Construct the energy/nanotechnology research building for the Helios Project, which would create sustainable sources of energy by producing the next generation of superefficient solar energy technology to reduce greenhouse gases and oil dependency.
• Enhance UC's national bid to build the world's most powerful computer, which would generate an enormous competitive advantage to California businesses and universities, and attract the best students and faculty.
• Continue state support for the four California Institutes for Science and Innovation, based at UC campuses across the state. They focus on fields key to the future of California's economy, bringing together UC scientists and students with industry researchers to produce new knowledge and the next generation of highly skilled scientists and technological innovators.

Created in 2000, the institutes already are helping expand California's economy into new industries and markets and bringing the benefits of innovation more quickly into the lives of all Californians.