Samuelis give $30 million to UCI science
The new convergent science buildings should enable and inspire research, with goals including educating future leaders and making groundbreaking discoveries, according to UCI. Possible research ideas include developing chemical and material sensors to better diagnose and treat cancers; using big data, environmental engineering and organic chemistry to improve water supply or solar energy; testing driverless vehicles; and having cybersecurity coders and mathematicians collaborate on military or medical challenges.
The new facility is made possible by the $30 million gift from the Samueli Foundation that will help fund it. The Samueli donation enables UCI to obtain $50 million in state funds allocated by the UC Office of the President, and UCI will contribute an additional $40 million.
“This vital project demonstrates the enduring power of partnerships,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “We are so thankful to have generous partners in Susan and Henry Samueli, who share UCI’s and California’s vision of a space that will facilitate transformative innovations in health, the environment and other boundary-breaking grand challenges. Combining their commitment with public support ensures that UCI will expand its interdisciplinary science, educate more students, and find solutions to complex global and regional problems.”
Construction of the planned 100,000-square-foot facility could begin as early as this fall and be completed in three years. It will accommodate more than 50 faculty members – including high-profile new hires – and hundreds of students. A community observatory with a powerful telescope may be built on the roof.
Engineering will oversee about half the space, physical sciences about a third, and information and computer sciences about a sixth, with graduate students from all three schools working together in laboratories, offices and meeting areas.
Computer sciences expertise will be key, said Marios Papaefthymiou, dean of the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences.
“Everyone wants to work with us, because we enable what medicine does, we enable what social sciences does, and physical sciences and engineering – you name it,” he said in a UCI statement. “We’re thrilled to be part of this game-changing piece of UCI.”
Henry Samueli, co-founder of semiconductor giant Broadcom Corp., said that he and his wife, Susan, “are deeply committed to supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels along the learning pipeline, from kindergarten through higher education.”
“Addressing today’s grand challenges in society requires collaborative research across a multitude of disciplines, aligning with our STEM ecosystem concept. We hope this gift to UCI can be a catalyst for accelerating cross-disciplinary research and scientific innovations that benefit society.”
The Samuelis have been longtime supporters of UCI. Their new donation ties with one from Paul Merage in 2005 to create a business school as the second-largest in campus history. The Henry Samueli School of Engineering received $20 million from the couple in 1999, and the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine was established in 2001 with a $5.7 million gift. Henry Samueli is also a distinguished adjunct professor in UCI’s electrical engineering & computer science department.