man standing in between two half domes speaking to a larger group
Pictured, at lower center: Michael Siminovitch, director of the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center, leading a tour of a new lighting research center in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Courtesy of Centro de Tecnología en Iluminación)

Lighting Research Center Opens in Mexico in Collaboration With UC Davis

A major milestone in a collaboration between the UC Davis California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC) and the Universidad Autonama de Guadalajara (UAG) was recently reached with the opening of a lighting technology and research center in Mexico.

The Centro de Tecnología en Iluminación (CTI) in Guadalajara will address growing climate change concerns through research and collaborations committed to developing clean energy and sustainability solutions across Mexico.

“The center was designed from the ground up with a blank-sheet-of-paper approach, so we were able to really conceptualize and build what we believe is the ideal lighting laboratory with all the various support functions,” said Michael Siminovitch, CLTC director.

The official opening of CTI took place in December 2021 and was attended by Siminovitch, UC Davis vice provost and dean of global affairs Joanna Regulska, and officials from the energy commissions of California and Jalisco state, Mexico.

The four-year collaboration was launched with a $2 million grant from the Mexican Ministry of Energy. Another $8 million is being provided by UAG for facilities and research. During the next and final two years, the facility will be completely built and the collaboration with UC Davis will continue. The center in Mexico, like CLTC, has also received financial support from the private lighting industry.

In conjunction with the center opening, Siminovitch led a planning session with the energy commissioners on developing several projects, modeled on successful undertakings in California.

Siminovitch planned to spend 30% to 50% of his time in Mexico during the first half of the collaboration, but that was not possible due to COVID-19. Student exchanges between UC Davis and UAG have also been hampered by the pandemic, but in fall 2021 Mexican student Diana Valeria Araiza Soto began graduate studies in the UC Davis Department of Design with a focus on lighting. She will return to Mexico to teach at UAG and collaborate with the new lighting center. The original grant funded her studies as well as work by UC Davis students related to CTI.

Plans are being put in place to increase student exchanges in both directions.

“This is an outstanding exchange,” Siminovitch said. “We expect to leverage this down the road with more students coming from Mexico and hopefully students from Davis going there.”

— Jeffrey Day, content strategist in the College of Letters and Science

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