Director Message on Second Campus and ‘Bay Area’s Climate for Science’

Last week the Laboratory began hosting a series of onsite meetings with representatives of the six finalist sites for our proposed second campus. Earlier, I was greatly pleased by
the tremendous response to the University’s January request for qualifications, with more than 20 enthusiastic responses. Winnowing down this broad field was not easy. I want to thank our Selection Committee for their part in helping to ensure that we have an excellent, competitive field.

The enthusiastic response reinforces the fact that the Bay Area has an ideal climate for science and innovation. During the 2005 oral “exam” to win the DOE contract for operating Berkeley Lab, I had the opportunity to make the case that our Bay Area location is among the most productive scientific areas in the world: it really is the best place in the nation for a multi-program scientific laboratory. We have been on track for some time in working in a most constructive locale for science, and I am heartened by the renewed evidence.

This second campus effort intersects closely with our planning for Biological Sciences at Berkeley Lab. In the coming decades, we expect that the field of biology will develop tremendously, with enormous impact on energy and environmental sciences as well as on human health. We are now seeking to establish the physical infrastructure that will enable Berkeley Lab to continue to play a leadership role in this area in decades to come.

Our Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek is the most productive sequencing center in the world by nearly every measure. We are making outstanding strides in biofuels at the
Joint BioEnergy Institute. Our Life Sciences program, primarily housed on Potter Street in Berkeley, brings the unique abilities of a national lab to areas of human health, and this rich interplay between the energy and health missions is a tremendous source of scientific strength in the biosciences at Berkeley Lab. Yet, these dispersed facilities incur significant lease costs, so I am very pleased with the competitive field of candidates for consolidation, long-term savings, and room for growth. Bringing together the successful but dispersed programs to a new campus also presents a tremendous opportunity for deeper collaboration and stronger Lab community.

As we move forward now and in the coming weeks, we are also hosting public meetings in our finalist communities. These public meetings involve presentations about the Lab, potential site development, comments from local officials, and opportunities for open comments.

Now as in the past, I have been very supportive of efforts like the East Bay Green Corridor and the steps it is taking to improve the climate for sustainable energy research and technology deployment. We share common purposes, and with our partners throughout the Bay Area, we will further enhance the climate for science in California. Our pursuit of a sustainable future, so important to our economy and global health, depends on these constructive efforts.

Below is video of the Alameda site meeting: