November 28, 2005
$4 million in federal funding secured for two major UCSC research programs
By Tim Stephens
Funding for two major interdisciplinary research programs led by UCSC has been included in a federal appropriations bill for fiscal year 2006.
The bill has been approved by both houses of Congress.
The bill includes about $2 million for each of the programs: the Center for Integrated Marine Technologies (CIMT), an ongoing effort to improve long-term monitoring of ocean ecosystems, and the Bio-Info-Nano Research and Development Institute (BIN-RDI), a science and technology partnership based in Silicon Valley.
The BIN-RDI is planned as a broad partnership of government, academia, and industry focusing on the convergence of biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology. Based at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, it is a key component of UCSC's Silicon Valley Initiative.
The BIN-RDI will support both open-exchange fundamental research and industry-supported start-up research aimed at developing breakthrough bio-info-nano fusion technologies. It will also provide an educational test-bed for novel curricula and teaching methodologies to develop a workforce for the future, and will exert national influence on technology policy and investment, said Carl Walsh, UCSC vice provost for Silicon Valley initiatives.
"The BIN-RDI offers a great opportunity to build on UCSC's successful partnership with NASA Ames in the University Affiliated Research Center, while leveraging the research strengths of UC, NASA Ames, and industry to maintain the Silicon Valley's leadership as the global center for innovation," Walsh said.
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo helped get funding for the BIN-RDI included in the appropriations bill.
"I'm very proud to have helped secure federal resources for the Bio-Info-Nano Research and Development Institute," Eshoo said. "This project capitalizes on the very best of NASA Ames, UC Santa Cruz, the entire UC system, and the many other private-sector and academic partners. This effort will launch a new generation of skilled workers and scientists, fostering American innovation in the 21st century. It's exactly what we should be doing to keep America the world's leader in groundbreaking research and technology."
The CIMT, established in 2002, brings together scientists from six partner institutions around Monterey Bay to study the processes that drive California's highly productive coastal ecosystems. The center serves as a regional pilot project for a national integrated ocean observing system, a top priority of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other federal agencies. Congressional funding for the center dried up after three years, however, and researchers have struggled to keep it running for the past year. The renewed funding comes at a crucial time, said Gary Griggs, director of UCSC's Institute of Marine Sciences and chair of CIMT's board of directors.
"This is really great news, because the Central Coast is one of only a few places in the world with a highly productive coastal upwelling system, and through CIMT we are well on our way to putting in place a coastal observation system and figuring out how this whole system works," Griggs said. "This renewed funding will enable us to continue doing the technology development and integrated long-term monitoring needed to observe trends in the system over time."
Congressman Sam Farr negotiated funds for the program as a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
"Ocean observation provides the foundation of knowledge we need to develop and enact more effective ocean management policies, like ecosystem-based management," Farr said. "CIMT is a critical contributor to this research on both a local and national level, and I am pleased to be able to secure this funding for them."
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