20th Anniversary event celebrates visionary research investment to benefit the state of California and support promising research advances
By Nicole Wilkins
The California NanoSystems Institute, known as the CNSI, was launched at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara in 2000 as one of only four Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation.
The Institutes represent an investment by the State to keep California at the forefront of technology through advanced academic research and partnerships with the private sector.
After multiple delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, on March 11th former Governor Gray Davis and CNSI Director Jeff F. Miller were joined by Chancellor Gene Block and UCLA administrators, deans, faculty and friends of the Institute to celebrate CNSI’s 20th anniversary.
California government officials who also played a crucial role in creating the Cal ISIs, including the 41st mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and former state senator Robert Hertzberg were also on hand to offer their congratulations, along with current California state senator Ben Allen.
“The CNSI plays a vital role at UCLA as a hub of multidisciplinary research,” said Jeff F. Miller, UCLA’s Fred Kavli Professor of NanoSystems Sciences, and the director of CNSI. “CNSI provides a platform that allows multidisciplinary teams of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to tackle the problems of the 21st century: whether cancer, contaminated water or maintaining competitiveness in the global marketplace.”
The Institute’s support for researchers and entrepreneurs has led to bigger things; CNSI-backed start-up companies have attracted over a billion dollars in investment funding contributing to economic development throughout California.
“The CNSI and California Institutes for Science & Innovation were formed to keep California at the forefront of technology through advanced academic research and partnerships with the private sector,” said former Governor Gray Davis. “The Institutes represent a remarkable achievement in giving back to the economy of our State.”
The CNSI’s mission is founded on several values, including:
- Leveraging public and private investment to catalyze interdisciplinary nanoscience research,
- Providing transformative and competitive technologies and tools to make discoveries,
- Translating discoveries into knowledge-driven commercial enterprises,
- Educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
“We have the former Governor of California Gray Davis to thank for his vision and this investment in education and research,” said Chancellor Gene Block. “The CNSI has led to important discoveries, has helped translate those advances into commercial enterprises, and has been an important training ground for our faculty and students.
The future for the CNSI is a promising one.
The CNSI recently implemented a state-funded workforce development program providing essential training and skills to undergraduate and graduate students needed to facilitate entry into California’s technology-driven Industries.
In the next 20-plus years, the CNSI will work to turn the science of the small into major leaps in discovery and innovation.
“We are bringing together the best and brightest scientists in an unmatched research enterprise and serving as a catalyst for the California economy when needed most,” said Miller.