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HP joins UC Santa Cruz and NASA in groundbreaking collaborative venture

HP joins UC Santa Cruz and NASA in groundbreaking collaborative venture
HP joins UC Santa Cruz and NASA in groundbreaking collaborative venture
Wednesday, March 7, 2007

HP has joined the University of California, Santa Cruz, and NASA in a new venture focused on developing revolutionary science breakthroughs in the coming decades.

As the first industry affiliate of the Bio-Info-Nano Research and Development Institute (BIN-RDI), a collaborative venture led by UCSC at its NASA Research Park (NRP)-based Silicon Valley Center, HP will play a key role in establishing the institute's policies and priorities. The collaboration with HP provides new momentum to BIN-RDI programs, which are focused on the converging fields of biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology.

"This is a key step in the evolution of the BIN-RDI project," said UCSC Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal. "With HP on board, this initiative is achieving our vision of an interdisciplinary institute involving industrial and university research and operating at the forefront of technological innovation."

The collaboration with HP is a major milestone in a project that already involved NASA and UC scientists in Silicon Valley, said Carl Walsh, vice provost for Silicon Valley Initiatives and professor of economics at UCSC. "The BIN-RDI is one of the key initiatives in UCSC's overall plan to bring UC research and educational programs to Silicon Valley, and we are excited by the prospects this partnership offers," he said.

Building on UCSC's existing partnership with NASA Ames through the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) in the NRP, the BIN-RDI is strategically positioned at the forefront of emerging technologies made possible by advances across a range of disciplines. Many experts view the convergence of biotechnology, information technology, and nanotechnology as the nexus of the next major technological revolution. As the institute's keystone industry affiliate, HP will help define the research agenda for the BIN-RDI and play a leading role on its industrial advisory board.

"BIN-RDI is an institution that has potential to have tremendous impact on a broad range of research we'll be pursuing in the future," said Stan Williams, HP senior fellow and director of quantum science research at HP Labs.

HP is setting an example for other Silicon Valley companies by demonstrating confidence in the institute's plans, according to David Lackner, director of the BIN-RDI Affiliates Program. "We're doing something truly different here, and HP is stepping up to show that it really believes in this," Lackner said.

William Berry, operations director of the BIN-RDI, said the partnership with HP helps to validate the BIN-RDI's underlying concept of having academic, government, and industry researchers working together in an open environment.

"We intend to be innovative in managing the intellectual property environment of the BIN-RDI's research program as an enabler for future broader participation in collaborations," Berry said.

The BIN-RDI provides a central "commons" area for research and development where intellectual property is shared among participating universities, companies, and government agencies. Adjoining the commons is transient, private laboratory space ("T-space") for proprietary research. This research architecture is designed to accommodate multi-sector partnerships for both start-up and established companies, and to foster rapid development of innovative discoveries and technologies.

In addition to endorsements from industry, the BIN-RDI has received substantial support from regional education leaders and state and federal elected officials. With critical assistance from Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Anna Eshoo, the initiative obtained $2 million in federal seed funding in 2006. HP is providing additional funding to support the institute's operations, and NASA has also made significant contributions. The institute is now moving into a new building, the Advanced Studies Laboratory, located in the NASA Research Park.

Current research activities at the BIN-RDI include projects on thermoelectric materials and fuel cell technology. The institute also aims to establish a Nano-Science Policy Institute and develop educational programs through the Collaborative for Higher Education, a partnership involving UCSC, San Jose State University, and Foothill-De Anza Community College District.