University of California, San Diego


February 1, 2007


SUBJECT:    UC Berkeley Wins Competition for the Energy Biosciences

Earlier today, BP announced its decision to award the Energy Biosciences Institute, dedicated to developing and improving biofuels, to a consortium of institutions headed by UC Berkeley.

As many of you know, UCSD was one of only 5 institutions in the world invited by BP to submit a proposal for this institute. A group of faculty and staff at UCSD and our collaborating institutions worked tirelessly within a period of only a few months to produce a truly first-rate proposal.

I would like to personally thank those individuals for their many hours of hard work. And I would like to congratulate our sister institution in the University of California system, UC Berkeley, and its partners on winning the competition for the institute. BP's decision underscores the University of California's reputation as a world-renowned leader in research, education and innovation and is a major vote of confidence for California's innovative and collaborative research environment.

A critical component of this proposal was Gov. Schwarzenegger's pledge to include in the state budget $40-million in lease revenue bonds to help pay for construction of the institute should either UCSD or UC Berkeley win the competition. I'd like to recognize the governor's foresight in taking this step, which will have a positive impact on the state's environment as well as its economy.

There were many positive outcomes of this competition for our campus. For example, UCSD was able to identify and marshal considerable campus expertise and resources, resulting in the creation of a Center for Bioenergy Science and Technology, or CBEST, dedicated to developing and improving biofuels. In addition, we developed partnerships with Iowa State University, the J. Craig Venter Institute, Battelle Memorial Institute/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and The Scripps Research Institute that will serve as the basis for future research breakthroughs.

Our goal with CBEST is to create new technologies that will help convert crops into biofuels and engineer plants that can produce high yields of these alternatives to fossil fuels. This will enhance the environment by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, improve our quality of life, and catalyze the development of a biofuels industry that will provide substantial economic benefits.

Funding for bioenergy is just beginning and we expect to see a growing pool of grants from private, state and federal sources to find alternatives to fossil fuels.

Arthur B. Ellis
Vice Chancellor -