Indian donates $2.5 mn for UCLA research facility

An Indian-American has gifted $2.5 million to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), for a new state-of-the-art engineering lab dedicated to integrated microsystems, the university said.

The donation by UCLA alumnus Mukund Padmanabhan, the founder of nonprofit Guru Krupa Foundation, will be used to support the construction of new research facility in the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Padmanabhan had earlier made three donations of $500,000 each. The new $2.5 million contribution will create the Mukund Padmanabhan Systems Scaling Technology Laboratory in Engineering VI.

“I see the quality of the work being done by the students who benefit from the Guru Krupa Foundation fellowships, and I feel very satisfied that research is progressing full speed ahead at UCLA,” said Padmanabhan, who studied electrical engineering at UCLA, earning his master’s degree in 1989 and Ph.D. in 1992.

“When I learned that UCLA wanted to advance the frontiers of 3-D integrated circuit design, I felt that this was the right project to further extend my commitment to the school. I look forward to the lab making great advances and cementing UCLA’s role as a premier research institution.”

After graduating from UCLA, Padmanabhan joined the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Currently he is employed by Renaissance Technologies, a New York-based hedge fund management firm.

Padmanabhan’s Guru Krupa Foundation provides educational opportunities to those who could not otherwise afford it, assistance to impoverished families and support for cultural and religious organisations in the US and India.

“Thanks to the generosity and vision of Mukund Padmanabhan and others, Engineering VI will be a hub of advanced engineering research, education and entrepreneurial activity,” said Vijay K. Dhir, UCLA engineering dean.

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“His gift will help to accelerate advances in the semiconductor technology that drives industry and innovation throughout the world. We are grateful for this vital support for our school, faculty and students.”

The $130 million research facility will be completed in 2017, the university said.

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