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Spring 2003
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Spring 2003
Strength in Numbers
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Accompanying the decline in corporate philanthropy is a decline in industry sponsorship of research. Only 6.2 percent of UCLA’s research funding in 2001-’02 came from private enterprise, and that proportion is unlikely to increase in the near future. Adding to this problem, Neighbour says, is some companies’ wariness of partnering with academe, “in part because companies don’t have the same leverage over universities that they do over commercial competitors. And some universities have sued companies over infringement of their intellectual-property rights.”

Meanwhile, the available pool for federal contracts and grants is not expected to grow. All of the leading research universities face this constraint, but Neighbour believes that UCLA, as a comprehensive institution with a college, professional schools and an academic medical center on a single campus, is in a better position than most to overcome it. “You can argue that we’re more flexible because we have a broader base of research across a full range of disciplines,” he says.

It’s clear that UCLA needs strong partnerships with the public and private sectors in order to flourish and remain competitive with its peer institutions. Attracting more participation by alumni, who collectively have provided only 20 percent of the campaign’s proceeds, will be integral to achieving that goal. Slon hopes that a variety of programs aimed at engaging alumni in the life of UCLA — from reunions to traditions like Homecoming and Founders’ Day — will inspire greater numbers of graduates to support their alma mater.

In the research arena, the campus will continue to foster collaborative endeavors such as the California NanoSystems Institute, the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing and the Institute for Cell Mimetic Space Exploration, all of which have attracted substantial government grants and interest from private industry. UCLA also is significantly expanding its technology-transfer activities, with the goal of facilitating the process by which faculty bring their research breakthroughs to the marketplace.

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