BASF launches California (USA) Research Alliance
Teaming up with major universities on the American West Coast, BASF, the world’s leading chemical group, has set up a multidisciplinary research institute with a focus on new inorganic materials and their applications, biosciences, and related technologies
CARA, the California Research Alliance by BASF will bring together BASF experts with researchers from widely varied science and engineering disciplines at the University of California, Berkeley , (UC Berkeley) Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The cooperation will create ten postdoctoral positions and extends the already existing cooperation with these major institutes.
The centre will operate under a “hub and spokes” model, in which research projects and activities are headquartered and coordinated from UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. Selected research projects will also be carried out at Stanford University, UCLA, and other UC campuses. CARA will be led by Professsors Peidong Yang and Omar Yaghi, both Department of Chemistry UC Berkeley, and Dr. Kerstin Schierle-Arndt of BASF. The directors will be supported in bioscience topics by Professor Matt Francis, UC Berkeley, and Professor Klaus-Jürgen Schleifer from BASF.
Topics already identified come from the fields of inorganic materials and biosciences. Projects in chemical systems biology, aim to elucidate the molecular pathways, to lead to desired, as well as toxicological effects of biologically active chemicals on organisms. Understanding such pathways, will help to develop safer products and contribute to better assess the relevance of toxicological effects for humans. Further research topics of the centre will be about protein assemblies and structuring for instance the delivery of active molecules, stabilisation of enzymes and optics.
Research for inorganic materials is especially interesting for the electronic industry. One of the challenges researchers face are shrinking feature sizes in electronic devices. This opens up opportunities for new materials and new manufacturing techniques. Another opportunity for contributions of material scientists in the areas of electronics or renewable energies, such as photovoltaics, is the design of new very small structures. The behaviour cannot only be explained by classical physics, but new effects occur, so called quantum effects. Development of materials, which make use of these effects, will be at the core of the efforts of this centre.