CITRIS and the New Year 2010

Dear colleagues and friends of CITRIS,

CITRIS is a symbol of everything wonderful that the UC system offers the world in terms of education, research, and service. Several hundred graduate and undergraduate students on four campuses are funded by the national and international extra-mural grants that are brought into the UC system because of CITRIS. Our work covers energy, water, healthcare, and infrastructures and, by being multi-disciplinary, our students come from all walks of life.

In this New Year 2010 letter, I would like to thank President Yudof and the Chancellors of the four CITRIS campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz) for their operational-support of CITRIS. The operational funds create enormous “leverage” and enable us to generate the national and international extra-mural research grants that consequently benefit our students, staff, faculty and, of course, the people of California, the nation and the world. It must be clear to anyone reading those “Year 2009 in Review” articles (that have just been published in countless newspapers) that the University’s financial crisis is inextricably linked to the so-called Great Recession of 2008-9 and decisions made by California’s elected officials. Discontent with our current situation is shared and understood by every person on this campus and I truly hope that we will all pull-together in this New Year to take our case to Sacramento and the people of California in a united effort to preserve and protect an institution that has been an essential engine for discovery, innovation and socioeconomic development. Collectively, we can and must prove our value to the legislative bodies in Sacramento and beyond. A combined voice that shows how our UC mission not only graduates the best students in the world but also creates new industries and services with societal impact – especially in areas such as energy, healthcare, and water – is one way in which we can maintain the UC budgets we need to prosper.

To specifically welcome-in the New Year 2010, CITRIS announces a ribbon-cutting of the “i4energy center” that will occupy the 4th Floor West of Sutardja Dai Hall (the event is from noon to 2pm on Friday January 29th and includes lunch – all are welcome). The center is sponsored by CITRIS along with the California Institute for Energy and the Environment and by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The “i4energy center” projects are focused on the use of IT, networking and smart sensors for projects that enable the Smart Grid, Demand-side Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Near-Zero Energy Buildings. The latter dove-tails into other campus wide initiatives in energy reduction that over time are expected to attract additional private-sector funding.

This meeting follows another event on Thursday, January 28th, partly sponsored by CITRIS but mainly organized by the Energy and Resources Group and others, to discuss the next-steps that should be addressed in energy and climate policy following the December meeting in Copenhagen. These two events on the 28th and 29th are expected to launch some exciting dialogues in CITRIS’s Energy and the Environment research themes. And already moving into 2010, other programs are being re-established – the two most recent with Delta Electronics in Taiwan and with the City of San Francisco.

Walking into our headquarters’ home, Sutardja Dai Hall, this morning I reflected on how last year at this time we were still awaiting the move-in date and the gala opening event back on February 27, 2009. So much has happened since then and I want to thank everyone for our major 2009 achievements in our main research programs of Energy, Healthcare, Intelligent Infrastructures and Art Technology & Culture. The faculty, staff and students who lead these four research programs have also been incredibly well supported by our technical and business teams on four campuses who have worked diligently to help create and secure our budgets and support the wonderful buildings and resources on all four of our UC campuses.

It’s a great honor for all of us involved in CITRIS to be a part of that mission.

With best regards, Paul Wright