Number 39, Fall 2002

Mexican academics study UC's high-tech connections

The University of California and UC MEXUS organized a December workshop on university-industry collaboration to inform a group of high-level Mexican academics how UC interacts with industry.

UC President Richard Atkinson gathered more than two dozen top academic experts and scholars involved with the development of new technologies, partnerships in industry and applications in the marketplace to share their methods and experience with CONACYT officials, and almost two dozen Mexican academics and researchers.

The two-day workshop laid out in detail the University’s relationships with the business community and demonstrated how it forges strategic alliances to foster more and better research and move new discoveries into the marketplace.

UC researchers talked about such issues as strategic alliances with industry, technology transfer, faculty entrepreneurship and student training in biotechnology.

Under Presidente Vicente Fox, Mexico has an ambitious plan to increase tenfold the amount of money invested in research and researchers, said Jaime Parada-Avila, director of CONACYT. Currently, the percentage of GNP that goes to research is small compared to developed countries.

The Mexican group received an introduction to the topic a day earlier by attending a conference on technological innovation presented by California Council on Science and Technology, co-sponsored by Hitachi, SRI International and UC MEXUS.

“Scientific and technological advances between California and Mexico have helped members of both societies cross borders of innovation,” Parada told the group.

Mexico, a leading importer of California technology, recently hooked into Internet2, giving it access to American academics.

“Research and technology innovation have helped California become the world’s fifth largest economy,” said Curtis Carlson, president and CEO of SRI International, a Silicon Valley-based research institute.

“Understanding how policy can shape and support California’s R&D infrastructure is essential to ensuring a robust economy and technology pipeline.”