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UCR will pursue genomics research


UCR will pursue genomics research

(December 12, 2000)

The University of California, Riverside will continue research initiatives in genomics, the emerging study of plant and animal genetic codes that has the potential to unlock development of new fuel, food, fiber and medicines. Building on its history as a preeminent agricultural research institution, UCR will focus in that area.

That was the word following a satellite-linked news conference by Gov. Gray Davis from Sacramento that announced state funding for the creation of three new California Institutes for Science and Innovation. UCR was a finalist in the competition for funding but was not selected.

"We want to congratulate our sister campuses on their selection and join in a statewide celebration of the economic and health benefits that will surely be reaped from these efforts," said UCR Chancellor Raymond L. Orbach.

"It is clear proof of what can be accomplished when science, government and private industry join forces in a common cause," he said.

That is why the UCR genomics initiatives will proceed with cooperation from scientists, government officials and industry leaders.

"Genetic research is the key to a safer and more nutritious food supply," said Orbach. "A specialized research institute at the University of California would not only be an economic engine to spark new products for consumers, but a clearinghouse of information and education about the safety of the food supply.

"I continue to believe that the genomics institute is the hope for the future of production agriculture in the State of California, and indeed for the world. As evidence, in the Wall Street Journal, Nobel Laureate Norman Borlaug drafted an article entitled 'We Need Biotech to Feed the World."

The campus' interests in this scientific endeavor were formalized in late spring with the naming of Distinguished Professor Michael T. Clegg as head of the genomics research institute and commitment of $6 million in university funds to the initiative. Orbach said he was hopeful that future public and private funding would be available to advance the research agenda.

At the press conference last week, Davis announced $100 million in new state funding to each of the three California Institutes for Science and Innovation, headquartered at other University of California campuses.

The genomics institute envisioned by UCR had received pledges and cash commitments of $236 million by leaders in agriculture.

A Website has been set up at www.ucop.edu/california-institutes to announce new California Institutes of Science and Innovation.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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