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UC, Mexico Energy-Efficiency Research Collaboration

April 3, 2017

University of California President Janet Napolitano was in Mexico last week to help announce $10 million in research funding for Mexican universities who collaborate with UC researchers on energy-efficiency projects.

Los Angeles, California - Mexican officials have announced $10 million in new funding to support binational research projects on energy efficiency with the University of California.

The money, announced in Mexico City last week after Mexican energy officials met with UC President Janet Napolitano, will go to projects led by Mexican research institutions in cooperation with University of California researchers.

The UC will partner with the Mexican Secretariat of Energy, Energy Sustainability Fund and research institutions to transition toward clean energy in both California and Mexico through applied research collaborations and exchanges of students and faculty.

Napolitano, who served as Homeland Security secretary under President Obama, met Thursday with Mexican Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, who is seeking proposals from Mexican researchers on a host of projects, including those involving lighting technology, energy, water efficiency and "smart" building. Up to $10 million will be awarded.

Napolitano has been vocal about her desire to press ahead with academic collaborations with Mexican academics and institutions despite rising tension between Mexico and the U.S. under President Trump. That includes research related to climate change, an area of research that is under threat under the new U.S. administration. She said the energy efficiency research will help Mexico and California achieve a "common long-term goal of finding solutions to the biggest challenges that humanity faces."

"What works in Mexico will help Californians," she said in a statement. "Just as what works in California will benefit Mexicans."

UC spokesperson Stephanie Beechem said researchers will have until June to submit proposals, after which an impartial review panel will then select the proposals that will receive funding.

She added the UC-SENER partnership is one of many that has been pursued and developed under the umbrella of the UC-Mexico Initiative. Napolitano launched the initiative in 2014 with the goal of forming sustained, strategic partnerships between UC and Mexican universities, governmental agencies, the private sector and foundations to address issues of energy, environment and education, among others.

Sources: LA Times