[Updated: Noon, 1/21/12] UCSF could end up being a much more independent institution if chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann gets her way.
That’s according to a story today in the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported on a proposal Desmond-Hellmann put forward this week to University of California regents, who were meeting at UC Riverside. The plan would be to make UCSF more like the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory or Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Those institutions contract with the UC for health and pension services, and are accountable to the regents, but essentially govern themselves with their own boards of directors, according to a report by the Chronicle’s Nanette Asimov.
If such a move were allowed, UCSF would be freed up from paying about $49 million a year to help support the rest of the cash-strapped UC system, the Chronicle said. The move is necessary, Desmond-Hellmann said, because costs of pensions and a new UCSF medical center are rising fast, meaning that even though UCSF’s research engine is growing, the institution will be losing money by 2015.
“What we have here is not sustainable,” Desmond-Hellmann said.
It’s a bold move from Desmond-Hellmann, the longtime Genentech executive who took over the top job at UCSF in August 2009. This week, UCSF released data showing it received $532 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2010, which was about $57 million more than the previous year, and the most of any public institution in the U.S. The university has also put together a string of high-profile collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies under the new chancellor, including deals with Pfizer, Sanofi, and Bayer Healthcare. The UCSF vision, Desmond-Hellmann said in a campus address last October, is to become “the world’s pre-eminent health sciences innovator.”
You can check the full account from the Chronicle here. [Update with video link] You can also see a short video of Desmond-Hellmann’s presentation to the Regents by going to the UCSF site or watching it below.
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