Multidisciplinary research institute at La Jolla's UC San Diego named in honor of Qualcomm

The University of California, San Diego is renaming its division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) in honor of the philanthropy of the San Diego-based wireless technology leader, Qualcomm Incorporated. The multidisciplinary research center will now be known as the Qualcomm Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, the UC San Diego Division of Calit2, or Qualcomm Institute for short.

The name change recognizes the critical role Qualcomm, and, more recently, its affiliated Qualcomm Foundation, have played in Calit2 since the State of California created Calit2 and three other technology institutes spread across nine University of California campuses. During the tenure of Dr. Irwin Jacobs, founding chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, the Company committed $15 million in support to the institute for its first five years. Gifts to Calit2 since then (including recent grants from the Qualcomm Foundation) have pushed Qualcomm’s philanthropic support of Calit2 to just under $26 million over the past 12 years.

“This recognition is much deserved given the important roles that Qualcomm and the Qualcomm Foundation have played in helping us to build and cement the institute’s reputation as a world leader in technologies that benefit society,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “The new name is a fitting tribute to Qualcomm as Calit2’s largest industry supporter and one of the main employers of our alumni. It also honors the many ways in which the company and its engineers have collaborated with UC San Diego faculty, staff and students.”

Calit2 will remain the name of the combined institute, which includes the divisions at UC San Diego and UC Irvine. Calit2 is one of four Governor Gray Davis Institutes for Science and Innovation, so named in 2008 to recognize the former governor's role in their creation. The state and the University of California established the institutes in December 2000 as an investment in the state's economic future to maintain California's reputation for fostering innovation, scientific discoveries and new industries.

According to Qualcomm Institute Director Ramesh Rao, financial support from Qualcomm and Qualcomm Foundation, as well as a myriad of collaborations with the company, have allowed Calit2 to engage with more than two dozen departments on the UCSD campus.

“We are heading into the 13th year of our Calit2 Summer Undergraduate Research Scholars program, which gives up to 30 undergrads each summer the opportunity to do full-time research in a UCSD lab,” said Rao, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department. “Without the discretionary support provided by Qualcomm and the Qualcomm Foundation, many of those students may have graduated with no hands-on research experience.” This year’s class of Calit2 Scholars will push the total number of program alumni to more than 300 undergraduates since 2001.

Qualcomm also funded 160 Calit2 Graduate Fellowships over five academic years starting in 2001-02, with most of them full $30,000 awards. The first- or second-year fellowships were allocated to 15 different academic departments to increase the quality and quantity of accepted students and integrate them into research teams under faculty advisors.

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