Consortium AUI highlights Proposal for Lithium Institute: “It’s a Great Team”

June 24, 2019

Translated from

Alta Ley, Fundación Chile, Fraunhofer/CSIRO and Associated Universities, lnc., are the entities in the race. CORFO listened to the proposals and will soon start the second phase.

Associated Universities, Inc. was founded eighty years ago by nine of the preeminent universities of the United States: Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Rochester and Yale and has since consolidated itself as one of the global leaders in science and technology.

The consortium is one of the four in competition to control the Chilean Clean Technologies Institute that CORFO will implement with the resources contributed by Albemarle and SQM, for the exploitation of lithium.

Peter McEvoy, Vice President of Organizational Development from AUI, is visiting Antofagasta together with Jeffrey Binder, Senior Advisor for Laboratory Programs; Ricardo Raineri, Former Minister of Energy and Professor, and Jose Miguel Ansoleaga of Schwager.

McEvoy explained the strength of AUI, and what they intend to execute in the event they win the institute.

“Our Council includes scientists, engineers, and managers of global companies and from the best scientific and educational institutions in the World.”

You have great worldwide experience, but what work would you most highlight?

Apart from our role in the ALMA radio telescope, AUI handles twelve telescopes between Hawaii and the Caribbean, including the Very Large Array and the Green Bank Observatory, two of the most emblematic in the US. We manage a development laboratory that has achieved significant advances in communications antennas, transistors, cryogenic coolers, medical and scientific imaging, time and frequency standards, atomic clocks, GPS navigation, emergency call location, and precision spacecraft navigation. Specifically, in the area of energy, we are particularly proud of the four Nobel Prizes attributed to the work done in the U.S. Brookhaven National Laboratory, administered by AUI for more than half a century.

The needs of the 21st century are significantly different, and that means we must think differently about research, education, and technology transfer.

Who makes up the Consortium?

AUI has a high impact team, but due to our open concept platform the details can’t be shared at this time.

What can you do, and want do you want to develop if you win the institute?

AUI has decided to participate in this process because we believe the research on sustainable mining, clean energy – and the development and transfer of technologies that will arise from this investigation – represents a great opportunity for the Antofagasta Region, Chile and Humanity.

We are not looking for incremental changes in technology. Our goal is to achieve exponential leaps in new technologies, of high added value, that will generate regional investments applying these new technologies, with regional manufacturing inserted within the global value chains.

Our goal is to produce a great impact in regional development, with an important generation of specialized jobs, a more productive and sustainable mining sector, and the development of professionals and technicians in applied science.

What level of resources can you leverage beyond those provided by the State of Chile?

We have access to important resources which have been identified and committed from the global business community. Based on the information that CORFO has published concerning the aggregate amount of monetary support, we believe that the resources that we are providing constitute a very important attribute of our proposal.

What are your commitments to the Antofagasta Region? What does the territory gain?

Our objective is exponential leaps in new technologies, with high added value, that generate investments facilitating the application and manufacturing of these new technologies in the area. All this will have a great impact for regional development.

In addition to establishing corporate offices in the city of Antofagasta, our proposal contemplates research, technology development and transfer, pilot and test bank facilities in the Antofagasta region, and a training and technology transfer center in Calama where most of the mining activity in the region takes place. In addition, there is interest in creating a technical and professional training center with science and technology experts, which would be supported by leading global institutions and in which the region’s existing technical centers should also participate.

If you win, what will happen to the local universities that are in a competing consortium?

Our proposal seeks to integrate the different regional players around a unique objective. That is why the proposal considers that the principal regional actors be integrated into the institute’s governance, participating directly in defining its orientation over time, and in the results of this activity.