NASA signs pact with UC-Santa Cruz

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA will pay the University of California system up to $333 million for collaborative research efforts in the hope of building a talent base to support the space agency's future.

Ames Research Center, a NASA unit based in California, awarded a contract to create the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). The deal will be officially announced Sept. 22 and has a base value of $119 million for the initial five-year period. Two optional phases would extend the contract for five years and increase the total amount to $333 million.

The research center will be managed by the University of California-Santa Cruz and will feature an educational mission to develop high-level research talent to provide for NASA's long-term human resources needs.

Under the agreement, students and university researchers will work alongside Ames researchers on mission-critical issues. NASA will benefit from the additional research capabilities, and officials hope the collaboration will attract and retain top-level researchers and provide a continuity of research talent for the future.

A phase-in period will begin this month, with full contract responsibility beginning in December and continuing through Aug. 31, 2013.

This type of collaboration is the first of its kind for the space agency.

"The UARC moves NASA and university collaborations in a whole new direction," said Ames Director G. Scott Hubbard. "With the UARC, we are breaking down traditional institutional barriers to collaborate on mission-driven research that is on NASA's critical path.

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