UC Merced Research Awards Top $22M

MERCED -- The University of California, Merced, continued its progression as the newest American research university of the 21st century as school officials announced that the campus received $22.8 million in grants and awards this past fiscal year, the highest amount since the university opened.

A total of 85 awards, amounting to $22,827,488, came in between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, approximately 39 percent more than the $16.3 million received in fiscal year 2007-08.

"We are proud of our faculty's growing success in obtaining grants that are vital to UC Merced's core mission as a research university," said Samuel Traina, vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies. "Research is the cornerstone of the University of California and we are pleased that UC Merced continues to garner strong funding."

UC Merced's research strengths cover an array of fields, most notably climate change, solar and renewable energy, water quality and resources, artificial intelligence, cognitive science and biomedical topics including stem cell and cancer research.

The $22.8 million in grant and award funds came from a variety of federal, state and private sources including: the National Science Foundation, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the National Institutes of Health, the United States Department of Agriculture and the California Institute for Energy and the Environment.

Grants received by UC Merced this past fiscal year include:

* A $4.3 million major facilities grant from CIRM for an on-campus stem cell instrumentation foundry. The foundry will give scientists on campus and throughout California access to advanced tools and techniques that will advance discoveries in stem cell research.

* A prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to School of Natural Sciences Professor Linda Hirst. She is the fourth UC Merced faculty member to receive the award, which is given to young scientists early in their careers.

* A $369,000 grant to UC Merced's Sierra Nevada Research Institute to study water resources.

* $500,000 grant used to purchase state-of-the-art robotics equipment for research in cognitive science and engineering.

"The continued growth in research grants and contracts to UC Merced allows our innovative faculty and students to conduct trailblazing, multidisciplinary research that will help solve problems that affect our region, California and beyond," said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Keith Alley.

Some of the grant money awarded to UC Merced in 2008-09 directly benefits the region in the form of outreach programs, including efforts designed to increase the area's college-going rates and prepare San Joaquin Valley students for the challenges of university-level coursework.

Grant funds also impact the economic base of the local community as salaries make up a significant portion of the expenses in UC Merced's grant and contract spending activity. Salary and other dollars stay in the local economy and contribute to housing, retail and other spending that benefit the region because professors and other research team members make their homes in Merced and surrounding areas.




Donna Birch Trahan
UC Merced Office of Communications

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