U.C. Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley Lab Part of White House Poverty Push

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Both the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory above it on the hill are part of a public-private push to fight poverty around the world.

The White House said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s Global Development Policy will: “Harness the energy, idealism, and expertise of university students and faculty to generate, implement, and evaluate new solutions to critical development challenges.”

Part of the program calls for U.C. Berkeley to use a “pre-negotiated” license term sheet for technology and ideas that can be used by nonprofits in helping poor countries. The term sheet was created by the National Institutes of Health as a way of quickly licensing technology that can fight tropical diseases, malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.

Since prices and terms are fixed, less time is wasted in negotiations. The NIH has used this type of system in the past for vaccines against meningitis, dengue fever and typhoid fever.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has set up the LBNL Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies, or LIGTT, as part of this initiative. It will seek to develop and rapidly spread technology and ideas for fighting poverty.

So far, the lab has already created UV Waterworks, a cheap way of disinfecting water using ultraviolet light. That’s been licensed to WaterHealth International, which sells clean water for about 2 cents a gallon to people in six countries in Asia and Africa. WaterHealth has just opened its 500th purification center in India.

Lab scientist Ashok Gadgil also worked to create the Berkeley-Darfur Stove, a cheap, portable cookstove for use in Sudan. The U.S. Agency for International Development is going to pay the lab for work on fuel-efficient stoves for use in Africa.

Source: San Francisco Business Times (link opens in a new window)

Environment, Health Care
poverty alleviation