The stated aim of the plan is to attract innovative students, researchers and businesses to California, and to maintain the state’s edge in science, technology and innovation.

California is home to more scientists, engineers and researchers than any other US state, provides one in five technology jobs in the country, registers one in four US patents, receives almost half of all venture capital funding in the US and almost a third in the world, and accounts for almost half of the country’s biotechnology research and development funding.

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The governor’s 2007-08 budget proposes $30m in lease revenue bonds to fund the construction of a new energy/nanotechnology research facility for the Helios Project, an initiative by the University of California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to generate alternatives to traditional hydrocarbon fuels, develop new energy sources, improve energy conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A proposed $40m in lease revenue bonds will support UC Berkeley or UC San Diego should one of the state universities win a $500m BP grant to build and operate an energy biosciences institute. They are two of only five universities in the world that have been invited to compete for the grant.

Meanwhile, $5m has been pledged to enhance the University of California’s bid for a contract to build a Petascale computer, billed as the world’s most powerful computer. UC San Diego, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are in the running for the contract.

A $19.8m general fund will support the University of California’s partnership with private companies to conduct research in information technology, biomedicine and nanotechnology.