The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science announced today the establishment of the Institute for Technology Advancement (ITA) –a new off-campus technology development center dedicated to the effective transition of high-impact innovative research from UCLA to product development and commercialization.

By Matthew Chin

Start-up funding for the new institute comes from a major gift from Henry and Susan Samueli. Henry Samueli is chairman of the board, co-founder and CTO of Broadcom Corporation and a three-time alumnus of the school that bears his name.

ITA will serve several functions:

  • Lead the effort to identify and formulate early state, highly valued research ideas at UCLA – then develop and transition these ideas to industry for economic impact.
  • Nurture and incubate breakthrough ideas to create new industrial products.
  • Provide a learning platform for faculty and students to engage in transitional technology research.
  • Further strengthen and expand relationships with industry in providing technical assistance for near-term applied research projects.

ITA will be staffed by a core of business-savvy technology experts who will work closely with UCLA faculty, industrial partners and government agencies to facilitate the development and eventual commercialization of high-impact ideas that have great benefit for society. The flexible organizational structure of ITA complements existing capabilities of both the university and industry, and allows the center to move quickly to promote the transition of discoveries to development and commercialization.

“As a public research university, UCLA has a responsibility to make a positive impact on our community and on society,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “ITA at UCLA Engineering will enable the innovative technical discoveries of our faculty to move toward availability more quickly, giving UCLA even greater impact and farther reach. We are deeply grateful to the Samuelis once again for their extraordinary generosity on behalf of UCLA.”

“ITA will be the leading organization that develops connections between advanced breakthroughs from our research labs to industry, with the goal of streamlining the creation of products, processes and services that fill the needs of society,” said UCLA Engineering Dean Vijay K. Dhir. “This new institute adds an important component to our mission of education, research and service, and it will help UCLA Engineering remain on the forefront of dynamic, world-changing research. Our faculty will now have better opportunities to see their innovations make a direct impact on society. Our students will benefit from participating in ITA projects and enhance their skills in multi-disciplinary problem-solving, entrepreneurship, technology management and commercialization of technology.”

“In today’s ultra-competitive and dynamic global technology market, it is becoming rare for large companies to invest in ideas that need a lot of time in the development phase before getting to consumers,” said Henry Samueli. “With the establishment of ITA, UCLA Engineering now has the vehicle to get its cutting-edge technology breakthroughs into the development phase and then into market.”

The institute will open in December 2007 at an off-site location on Wilshire Boulevard near the UCLA campus. The space for the institute is provided by Abraxis BioScience, Inc. and its CEO Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. The institute’s technical staff, including technology specialists, are to be hired soon after its opening.

The institute’s director is Dr. Derek Cheung, an adjunct professor at UCLA Engineering and the former president of Teledyne Scientific and Imaging LLC. He is also the former president and CEO of Rockwell Scientific Company, LLC, where he spent more than 30 years.

The institute’s deputy director is Dr. Leslie M. Lackman, an adjunct professor and the Director of Industrial Relations for UCLA Engineering. He was a former vice president and site manager for the Boeing Company before he retired and joined UCLA.