Mayor and Members of the City Council:
I wanted to advise you that I was on a conference call this morning with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Director Paul Alivisatos and Chief Operating Officer Glenn Kubiak. In light of recent media reports, the Lab Director stated that he thought it was important to have a personal conversation to reiterate how deep their commitment is to the Richmond Bay Campus. Many of the points that he made were consistent with what I wrote in my previous email to you (dated Wednesday, September 18th), in particular:
· The difficult federal funding environment for science is causing more pressure to use existing facilities rather than build new facilities. Dr. Alivisatos stated that, if the overall federal budget for science were increasing, then phase 1 of the project would be happening as they originally envisioned it. In the short term, the lack of funds will cause the Lab to adjust their strategy about how quickly they can consolidate their biosciences as originally planned for the first phase, and more bioscience facilities could be brought to the hill campus. They still want to start growing in Richmond as soon as possible, however, and are looking at other options for bringing programs to the Richmond Bay Campus with, initially, a smaller profile but with growth potential. Private funding for facilities will remain a possibly important part of the funding mix.
· The location decision for the x-ray microscope, in some ways, reflected the constrained federal funding environment. The Department of Energy was interested in building the project in Berkeley, but they feel that they will be able to build more cheaply at Stanford through the use of some existing infrastructure at that location.
· Just as I have observed and reported to you previously, the Lab Director has been pleasantly surprised with the enthusiasm by which UC Berkeley has approached the Richmond Bay Campus project and how they have included it in their growth plans. He noted that the new UC Berkeley Chancellor, Nicolas Dirks, has prior experience developing a new “satellite” campus when he was at Columbia University.
· The Lab Director welcomes continued conversation by City of Richmond officials with officials in Washington to encourage them to provide funding for this important project.
· Both Dr. Alivisatos and Mr. Kubiak expressed gratitude for the continued support by the Richmond City Council and the broader community, and noted that they appreciated the good working relationship with City staff. They will also be glad to have a Lab representative attend a future City Council meeting (tentatively set for Tuesday, October 1st).
These were the major points of our conversation. Overall, the tone was very positive about the future of the Richmond Bay Campus project, and LBNL’s expansion at that facility.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or require any additional information.
City of Richmond
450 Civic Center Plaza
Richmond, California 94804
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