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$14 Million NIH Grant Boosts Biomedical Sanitation on UC San Diego Campus

Centralized Facility Will Reduce Energy Use, Benefit Labs Across Campus

April 14, 2010

By Paul K. Mueller

Robotic devices like this will help clean biomedical equipment in UC San Diego’s new centralized sanitation facility. The energy-saving building has been funded by a $14 million ARRA grant from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded the University of California, San Diego a $14,287,680 grant to build a centralized sanitation facility for biomedical equipment on campus – a more modern, energy-efficient facility expected to save millions of gallons of water and more than half a million kilowatts of electricity per year.

The award, made through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), lifts UC San Diego past the $135-million mark for federal research stimulus funding since the program’s inception.

“This award exemplifies the goals of the Recovery Act by creating and sustaining jobs contributing to research,” said Barbara Alving, M.D., director of NCRR. "The resources created by the Recovery Act construction awards both literally and figuratively are laying the groundwork to accelerate the pace of research discovery in the future."

The 12,000-square-foot centralized facility will take the place of 17 equipment-cleaning facilities currently in laboratories across campus, a duplication of effort and resources that is both expensive and inefficient. 

“Combining cleaning processes for biomedical equipment into one central facility,” said Vice Chancellor for Research Arthur B. Ellis, “offers benefits that will be realized across UCSD’s research enterprise.”

The new central facility will enable roughly 18,000 square feet of space to be re-purposed for research uses, Ellis said, and result in annual savings estimated at nearly 20 million gallons of water, 24 million pounds of steam, and 560,000 kilowatts of electricity.

“This NIH-funded facility will have a major impact on how UCSD cleans and sanitizes equipment we use in research programs,” said Nicholas Webster, associate vice chancellor for research facilities. “The facility will boost the university’s sustainability initiative, too, by letting us retire outdated washing equipment and autoclaves, and it will minimize water and power consumption.

Robotic systems will help minimize repetitive-motion injuries and improved sanitation helps ensure accurate and timely research results.”  

Operations and maintenance personnel can better monitor a single facility’s performance, said Webster, than the many equipment-cleaning facilities they now oversee, and respond faster to problems. A stand-alone facility also allows for more flexible and variable working shifts, minimizing disruptions to laboratories.

The building will be located on the La Jolla campus, within a one-mile radius of 80 percent of campus research laboratories.

Media Contacts:

Paul K. Mueller, 858-534-8564 or pkmueller@ucsd.edu

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