Schwarzenegger proposes $95 Million research program

SACRAMENTO
December 27, 2006 11:18am
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•  Provides funding for major projects

•  Might build world’s fastest computer


A program to spend nearly $95 million to fund major projects to grow California's economic strength in key innovation sectors including “clean” technologies, biotechnology and nanotechnology is being proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"As a leader in developing new technologies, California will reap tremendous rewards for our economy and environment from this investment in our innovation infrastructure,” Mr. Schwarzenegger says in a written comment. The governor is hospitalized following surgery Tuesday for a broken leg suffered in a pre-Christmas skiing accident.

The major components of the “Research and Innovation Initiative” include:

Helios Project

The governor's budget provides $30 million in lease revenue bonds for the Helios Project by the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to create sustainable, carbon-neutral sources of energy.

Supporters claim the Helios Project will produce the next generation of super-efficient solar energy technology that will help reduce greenhouse gases and the nation’s oil dependency.

The $30 million will be used to build a new energy/nanotechnology research building for the Helios Project.

Energy Biosciences Institute

The budget provides $40 million in lease revenue bonds to the University of California for UC Berkeley or UC San Diego in the event that either wins a global competition for the British Petroleum Energy Biosciences Institute grant.

These campuses were among only five universities in the world that were invited to compete for the $500 million grant to build and operate an “Energy Biosciences Institute,” which will be dedicated to long-term research into the production of alternative fuels.

Supporters say the institute will focus on converting biomass materials into fuels, converting fossil fuels to energy with less environmental damage and maximizing oil extraction from existing wells in environmentally sensitive ways.

California Centers for Science and Innovation

The budget proposal provides $19.8 million for the California Institutes for Science and Innovation (CISI), a multidisciplinary research effort by the University of California -- working in partnership with private companies -- in the areas of information technology, biomedical research and nanotechnology. The $19.8 million will be used for the institutes' operating costs.

Petascale Supercomputer

The governor's budget provides the first $5 million increment in state matching funds to enhance the University of California's bid to build a $200 million Petascale computer. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC San Diego are in the running for the Petascale computer.

The Petascale computer, named for the speed at which it can process information, will be the most powerful computer in the world.


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