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Blakely Center To Manage $3.5 Million


UC Riverside Wins $3.5 Million Research Management Contract

Blakely Suburban Development Center’s First Outside Grant Broadens UC Riverside’s Influence on Air Quality Research

(June 8, 2004)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- UC Riverside’s Edward J. Blakely Center for Sustainable Suburban Development has landed management responsibility for a $3.5 million state air-quality project that will increase UC Riverside’s influence in environmental issues.

This contract, the first for the center, focuses on the management of research, a relatively new angle on funding projects, said Carl Blumstein, director of the California Institute of Energy and Environment, part of the UC Office of the President.

Blumstein said there is one other research management grant at UC Davis in food science, but as far as he knows this is a first for UC Riverside. "We think the Blakely Center at UC Riverside is going to do very well with this project," he said.

Center Director James Lents will organize and oversee the research program -- on the air-quality implications of generating electricity -- and present findings to the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research program.

About $2.7 million of the $3.5 million will fund subcontracts for researchers. UCR scientists are eligible to win contracts, said Andy McCue, managing director of the center. In order to avoid a conflict of interest, the CSSD itself and Lents -- a scientist who has led many air-quality projects -- are not eligible.

“With all the growth in Inland Southern California, and the rest of the state, new electric generating capacity is a necessity. Improving air quality is also a necessity and this program will enable us to move toward both goals in a more intelligent manner,” McCue said.

The contract is for five years, but the $3.5 million covers work just until April 2006, so the CSSD will seek more money on a yearly basis, McCue said. The current budget represents two years of administrative funding and one year of research money, since it will take about a year to get the research contracts identified and created, he said.

The center, established last year with a $2 million gift from real estate developer and philanthropist Ali Sahabi, aims to combine the university’s intellectual resources and the experience of the government, developers and environmental and community groups to focus on the social, ecological and economic issues of suburban growth, which have become national issues.

It is named for Sahabi’s mentor, a 1960 UC Riverside graduate and current dean of the planning school at the University of Sydney. He formerly headed similar programs at UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California.

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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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