Wednesday, December 27, 2006

CA Governor proposes research and innovation spending - Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal:

Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal - December 27, 2006

Business News - Local News

Governor proposes research and innovation spending
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal - 2:43 PM PST Wednesday
by Timothy Roberts

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to spend $95 million from next year's budget on computing, information technology, bioscience and green energy research.

The spending, announced Wednesday under the rubric of the Governor's Research and Innovation Initiative, would provide funding for four projects:

* The Helios Project at the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory would get $30 million from state bonds. The research goal is to develop new energy sources, improve energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
* The Energy Biosciences Institute at the University of California would get $40 million in bond money to be spent at either UC-Berkeley or UC-San Diego if either one wins a worldwide competition for an Energy Biosciences Institute funded by BP plc, the petroleum company. The institute would develop biofuels for use in transportation. BP says it will put an additional $500 million into the project.
* The California Centers for Science and Innovation would get $19.8 million in operating expenses. The centers, which are spread across the UC system, work with private companies to do research in IT, biomedical and nano technology. The California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research is based at campuses in San Francisco, Berkeley and Santa Cruz.
* The Petascale Supercomputer project would get $5 million from the state general fund to help the University of California win a competition for $300 million from the National Science Foundation to build the next-generation supercomputer. UC now operates the fastest computer in the world. It does one trillion calculations a second. The next generation would operate 1,000 times faster, doing one quadrillion operations per second, according to Bruce Darling, UC executive vice president.

The new supercomputer will lead to "better earthquake prediction models, improvements to building methods and better drugs through computational chemistry," Mr. Darling said in a conference call set up by the governor's office Wednesday.

In addition to the specific projects that would be funded, the expenditure also has a human objective.

"Part of the goal is to attract and retain the brightest and the most innovative people in the world," said Robert Dynes, UC president.

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