SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The University of Oregon has announced that state Sen. Chris Edwards will join the university next month to help develop a new scientific research facility funded by a $500 million pledge from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife.

The senator announced he will resign to prevent any perception of conflict of interest.

The university said Tuesday that Edwards will build on his experience representing Eugene to develop collaborations and partnerships with municipal and civic agencies and the local business community.

The donation announced last month is meant to launch a $1 billion, 10-year effort to build the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact and add researchers.

Edwards said in a letter to the secretary of state that his resignation takes effect on Dec. 31.