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September 22, 2003

UCSC launches bold new collaboration with NASA

By Tim Stephens

UCSC will manage a national research program valued at more than $330 million under an agreement between UC and NASA announced last week.

Congratulatory letter to Chancellor Greenwood and UC Santa Cruz team from U.S. Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
William Berry, deputy director of UCSC's Silicon Valley Center, will serve as managing director of the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC).

The 10-year contract, a first-of-its-kind for NASA, will establish a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) at the NASA Ames Research Center.

A ceremony to celebrate the landmark agreement is scheduled for today at the Ames Research Center.

"This collaboration brings together ideal partners for innovation," said Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood.

"This is a singular opportunity to advance important and potentially world-changing research. Our campus's keen interest in this project is supported by recognized research achievements and previous success in multidisciplinary and collaborative projects, such as the national Center for Adaptive Optics.

"The distinguished team of UC participants and our partners at San Jose State and Foothill and De Anza Community College District are eager to commence work with our NASA colleagues," Greenwood said.

NASA officials said the UARC will provide a unique combination of research and educational capabilities to meet NASA's mission requirements and to develop future human resources in technology and science.

"The UARC moves NASA and university collaborations in a whole new direction," said G. Scott Hubbard, director of the Ames Research Center.

"Typically, universities focus on fundamental research. With the new UARC, we are breaking down traditional institutional barriers to collaborate on mission-driven research that is on NASA's critical path," Hubbard said.

The new UARC will provide the Ames Research Center, located at Moffett Field in the heart of Silicon Valley, with additional research capabilities to fulfill NASA's mission requirements. The UARC's educational mission will enable students and university researchers to work side by side with Ames researchers on mission-critical problems to benefit the agency and the nation. Overall, the UARC will provide long-term continuity of top-tier research talent focused on NASA's growing multidisciplinary mission needs.

The initial focus of UARC research activities is likely to be in the areas of information technology and computer science, nanotechnology, and aerospace operations. Additional areas of interest include astrobiology, biotechnology, and fundamental space biology.

"There is a natural alignment between the research areas NASA has indicated it will want to pursue through the UARC and the research activities of UCSC science and engineering faculty," said UCSC vice chancellor for research Robert Miller.

William Berry, deputy director of UCSC's Silicon Valley Center, will serve as managing director of the UARC. Berry noted that the UARC will be able to tap the expertise of researchers throughout the UC system to accomplish NASA's research goals. For practical reasons, however, the UCSC campus is expected to play a central role in providing research capabilities for the UARC, he said.

"The UARC will provide exciting opportunities for UC faculty and students to become involved in the NASA research program. NASA is changing the way it does research by reaching beyond its boundaries, just as UCSC is reaching out into Silicon Valley, and this is creating an environment for great things to happen," Berry said.

The close collaboration with an established university system will enable the UARC to offer career opportunities to attract and retain the best researchers. The UARC contract will substantially expand university participation from fundamental research under grants and cooperative agreements to mission-driven research under task order contracts. San Jose State University is a subcontractor to UCSC supporting the UARC.

The total estimated cost-plus-award fee for the base period is $119 million; the total estimated cost-plus award fee for Option Period One is $82 million; the total estimated cost-plus-award fee for Option Period Two is $132 million.

The period of performance is 10 years, consisting of a five-year base period followed by two-year and three-year options. The university will begin its phase-in operations this month, with full contract responsibility starting in December 2003 and continuing through August 31, 2013.

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