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10.02.12: International Innovation Initiative Funds Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities Projects

Faculty including MAE Prof. Renkun Chen will use Calit2's Nano3 cleanrooms (pictured) and other facilities and services as part of the eight CSRO research projects funded in part by KETI and the International Innovation Initiative.

The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) awarded a record amount of funding to UC San Diego faculty-led projects, in large part thanks to a substantial investment on the part of the Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI) and the KETI-funded International Innovation Initiative (i3) at Calit2.

Funding of projects in the Calit2 Strategic Research Opportunities (CSRO) program from i3 topped the $295,000 level, nearly 36 percent of the total $826,000 in CSRO support to 17 projects. In addition, KETI provided $110,000 in matching funds for two of the CSRO projects.

The funding from KETI channeled through i3 provided partial support for eight new projects across the four application areas (culture, health, energy and environment), including four led by faculty from UCSD’s Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department. Projects receiving funding from KETI through its investment in i3, along with their Principal Investigators (PIs), were as follows:

  • Flexible EEG Patch for Point-of-Care Health Monitoring (PI: ECE Prof. Deli Wang)
  • Quantum Structure-Enabled Thermal Energy Harvester for Self-Powered Electronics (PI: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Prof. Renkun Chen)
  • Cognitive Healthcare: An Enabling Android Infrastructure (PI: ECE Prof. Tara Javidi)
  • Multimodality of Social Robot: Sense of Smell (PI: Communication Prof. Morana Alac)
  • Multi-User Graphics with Interactive Control (MUGIC) Protocol (PI: Theatre and Dance Prof. Shahrokh Yadegari)
  • Optically-Assisted Needle Guidance (PI: ECE Prof. Sadik Esener)
  • RoomShare: A Tele-Membrane (PI: Calit2 Research Scientist Jurgen Schulze)
  • Automatic Radiotherapy Treatment Plan Recommendation (PI: ECE Prof. Yuanyuan Zhou)

Separately, two approved CSRO projects had already received matching commitments from KETI: i3 Director and ECE Prof. Truong Nguyen’s development of Camelot, a “multi-camera stereo video environment recorder;” and Prof. Deli Wang’s flexible EEG patch (listed above).

The CSRO one-year grants are awarded after a peer-review competitive selection process. Overall funding under the program in the 2012 round represented an 18 percent increase from the amount of support in the inaugural 2010 CSRO round. Calit2 uses no state or taxpayer dollars to fund the grant program. The primary sponsor of the program is Qualcomm, Inc., a longtime industry partner of Calit2, and the investment of funding from KETI and other Korean partners through i3 represents the first time a foreign partner has provided substantial support for the CSRO program.

All four of Calit2’s strategic research ‘thrusts’ to benefit society – health, culture, the environment and energy – were represented among the winning projects. Seven of the 17 winners are in the health space, including a photonic solution to the problem of errors when guiding a needle to a biopsy site, and a wireless infrastructure for cognitive health care. Five culture-related projects, three about the environment, and one energy project were selected. The health projects alone will be enabled by the four technologies spelled out in Calit2’s Strategic Vision: wireless, photonics, cyberinfrastructure, and nano-micro-electromechanical systems, or nano-MEMS. 

Forty-five proposals were reviewed by the CSRO Program Committee. The 17 winning proposals represented a relatively high 38 percent acceptance rate. 

All faculty and research scientists on the UC San Diego campus were eligible to apply for CSRO support, even those not previously affiliated with the multidisciplinary institute.

Media Contact:
Doug Ramsey, 858-822-5825, dramsey@ucsd.edu

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