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Spring 2001


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Heath and Hu then wrote the bulk of the 400-page proposal. Krebs assisted on the organizational aspects of the plan; Tirrell and Hal Monbouquette, a UCLA chemical engineer, helped on the education aspects; Phelps worked on the medical aspects of nanotechnology; and Peccei focused on crafting the budget.

The writing was probably the easy part, however. The hard part, as Peccei says, calling upon the lingo of his native physics, "was set by the boundary conditions of the governor" - the requirement that any successful proposal raise $2 from outside sources for every $1 provided by the state. Peccei, for instance, spent much of his summer traveling to Washington to talk to government agencies and "people on the Hill" about what kind of research funds they could reasonably expect from the government. He spent the rest of his summer, with Tirrell, Heath and Hu, making weekly visits to California industry and giving the CNSI pitch.

"We wanted to get them involved in our vision," says Heath, "to get them to commit some real dollars. You name the company, we talked to them."

And when they weren't scheduling or attending meetings, they were developing the industry-CNSI collaborative policy. "We tried to come to the companies with a program that we thought would make financial sense to them," says Heath. "For example, one thing the governor clearly wants out of these institutes is both fundamental science and some very early technology development. He wants to see this stuff make it out to the marketplace. He wants start-ups and contracts. He wants to see the next Silicon Valley. So we were faced with the question of how best to make this happen as an institute. If you look at why companies get involved with universities, typically it's because of some really key infrastructure they can share - maybe a manufacturing plant, a synchrotron ... something like that."

"We thought the really key infrastructures for nanosciences research would be a fabrication facility," continues Heath. "We don't know what it looks like yet, but it's beginning to gel. So building a fabrication facility really designed to explore how to manufacture this technology from the bottom up would be attractive to industrial participants. And then we tried to highlight the fact that whatever buildings we built at Santa Barbara or UCLA would be really marquee buildings used by a huge number of students and that having their equipment or products used in the building would have catalytic input. And we emphasized that we didn't want them to be spectators, but participants, to help teach classes and to have a presence in the laboratory. We wanted something more than the typical university-corporate involvement."

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