With Atkinson's Initiative, Industry, UC Will Be Partners

UC President Richard C. Atkinson said he will establish new partnerships with California industry by expanding research programs that focus on statewide economic development.

"California's economic vitality has long been linked to cutting edge research conducted at the University of California," he told the UC Board of Regents in January.

With California's long awaited economic recovery now under way, this is a strategic time to invest more in building the bridges that link UC research with business," he said.

Atkinson said he will seek to match UC funds for expanding research links with funds from private industry and will seek additional state funding for the program next year.

In a companion report, the regents were told how public and private investment in UC research is central to the state's exceptional productivity and economic growth.

"Nearly four decades of state and federal support for basic research and graduate education at UC has created in California a remarkable capacity for innovation," said Edward E. Penhoet, president and chief executive officer of Chiron Corp. in Emeryville.

He said that California is world leader in biotech because of UC's research strength, which has been a magnet for private investment.

One third of the U.S. biotech companies are located within 35 miles of a UC campus, Penhoet said, noting that the bulk of the current growth in the industry has been in the San Diego region clustered around UC San Diego.

California's success in biophar-maceuticals represents the first wave of economic benefits from commercial biotech.

It has created 34,000 new jobs in California at an average salary of $60,000, said Susanne Huttner of UC's Biotechnology Research and Education Program.

California's $9 billion wine industry is another area which has benefited from UC research, said James Wolpert, a UC Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist at UC Davis.

Research breakthroughs include the development of new and improved wine grape varieties suitable for California's microclimates and growing regions and release of UC-patented rootstock that is resistant to some diseases.

UC research in areas such as seismic engineering is fundamental to avoiding destruction and expense to the state, said Lee W. Younker, deputy associate director of geoscience and environmental technologies at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.


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