The increasing ubiquity and scale of the Internet have transformed it into an economic development force, the framework for modern scientific research, and the bedrock of our digital society. Calit2’s mission is to unite faculty, students and research professionals at the University of California San Diego and the University of California Irvine with private-sector partners to explore how emerging information technologies and telecommunications can transform arenas vital to the state’s economy and our citizens’ quality of life. Calit2 explores the enabling technologies of wireless telecommunications, photonics, nanotechnology and MEMS, as well as cyberspace by integrating them into ‘living laboratories’ to study the emerging digital transformations of health, energy, the environment and culture.
The Calit2 strategy for accomplishing this mission is to develop technological and institutional innovations, using our unique laboratories and research spaces to house multidisciplinary collaborations. These capabilities facilitate the formation of novel teams that can compete successfully for external funding and partner with industry. Calit2 collaborates with appropriate local, state, national and international partners to bring specific capabilities into our research mix. This broader ecosystem enhances the breadth and crosscutting nature of Calit2’s teams, ensuring that they have broad societal applicability.
In July 2008, Institute Director Larry Smarr asked Calit2 Advisory Board Co-Chair Phil Smith to conduct an internal management review to assess areas of strength and needed improvement. Chairperson Smith conducted this review in the early fall of 2008 by interviewing some twenty faculty and staff at UC San Diego and UC Irvine. The report found the overall Institute’s management strong, but identified areas for improvement, including the need to create a participatory process to develop a new vision for Calit2 that would define strategic directions for the next decade.
With this input, Director Smarr was able to use his sabbatical in the fall of 2008 to review best practices for strategic planning and technology visioning by visiting the Institute for the Future (IFTF), the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization (CSIRO), and the Future in Review (FiRe). Based on these efforts and discussions with the Calit2 Executive Management Team, Calit2 Advisory and Governing Boards, the Institute began designing a strategic planning process in spring 2009.
Initial strategic planning discussions focused on creating processes to support participatory input from the Institute’s technical community and identifying current strengths and weaknesses. In April 2009, Calit2 partnered with the IFTF to hold a one-day Calit2 workshop focused on green information technology. This workshop and the process used to solicit technical input became the model for how to engage the Institute’s academic community in the planning process. Exhaustive data gathering efforts followed in May focused on reviewing current projects, research successes and partners to identify core Calit2 strengths. These efforts culminated in the creation of the State of Calit2 2009 document, which defined a conceptual model for the strategic plan.
The conceptual framework developed for the strategic plan (referred to as The Path Forward) is based on the four core enabling technologies of wireless telecommunications, photonics, nanotechnology and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), as well as cyberspace. Taken together these technologies are digitally transforming applications in health, energy, the environment, and culture. Calit2’s efforts across the enabling technologies and application thrusts are multidisciplinary and through the creation of living laboratories fuse together research and education. The Institute’s efforts are influenced and focused on the State of California and our local communities, and they include valuable collaborations with industry partners as well as domestic and international scientific research institutions.
In July 2009 the Calit2 Advisory Board and the Executive Committee of the Governing Board reviewed and accepted the conceptual planning framework. Efforts then turned to soliciting input from the Calit2 community to develop the new 10-year vision. The decision was made to focus first on the application thrusts. This decision was motivated by two factors: First, due to patterns of technological diffusion and adoption, existing Calit2 enabling technologies provide the platform for developing the next generation of leading-edge applications in health, energy, the environment and culture. Second, an initial focus on applications will provide the Institute with invaluable insight to help define technical requirements for future Calit2 enabling technologies. In September 2009 Calit2 launched the strategic planning process with an All Hands Meeting (AHM) using high-definition telepresence videoconferencing to link the two Calit2 auditoriums, bringing together faculty, staff and students from the two campuses into a single meeting. At this meeting the State of Calit2 2009 report was reviewed, the conceptual framework for developing the strategic plan discussed, and the process for soliciting input on the application thrusts was announced. In early October four technical working groups (one for each application thrust) were created, with participation open to any interested party in the Calit2 community. From October to early December each technical working group held a two-hour cross-campus meeting to help frame specific application challenges and opportunities. Based on these meetings, one-page vision documents for each application thrust were created. The technical working group, Calit2 Governing Board, and the Co-Chairs of the Advisory Board then reviewed these documents. This input provided the basis for a second draft of the documents reviewed again with Calit2 governing bodies and discussed with the community in a second All Hands Meeting held in December 2009. Based on input received during this meeting, a final draft of visions for the four application thrusts were created by January 2010 and distributed for final comment. By the end of March 2010 the application thrusts were final and communicated to Calit2 via a third All Hands Meeting.
In September 2010 Calit2 will begin the second half of the development of The Path Forward with a road mapping effort for the enabling technologies. Using a similar process to that of the application thrusts, working groups will be established for each enabling technology with the goal of developing a 10-year technology roadmap informed by our application visions. Using our iterative development process, Calit2 will conclude our enabling technology roadmap efforts by early January 2011 with final roadmaps available by March 1, 2011.