Eight years ago, UC Berkeley made a controversial deal with the British oil company, BP: UC would receive $350 million to create the Energy Biosciences Institute, which was eventually built between Hearst and Berkeley Way.
Now, BP is exercising its contract option to cut back sharply on funding. That means the elimination of up to 20 current post-doctorate positions, and the layoff of more than half the support staff.
Skeptics, including major Alternative Energy investment funds, have long regarded biofuels as a dubious investment. And many people have regarded BP, with its appalling environmental record dating back for decades, as a dubious partner.
BP’s change of heart is due to the mounting costs of the company’s disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (surprise!) and plunging oil prices. You can read more in this article from California Magazine: Helios Project.