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Research Investment Grows to Record $17.3 Million

October 9, 2013

Research expenditures at the University of California, Merced, increased by more than 9 percent in the 2012-13 fiscal year, to a record $17.3 million, according to data released today by the university’s Office of Business and Financial Services.

The expenditures supported faculty research into a wide range of issues vital to the San Joaquin Valley, the state and society as a whole. Cutting-edge research is a hallmark of the University of California, which conducts more research than any other university system in the world, and has been a major component of UC Merced’s mission since its founding in 2002.

Cumulative research expenditures since 2000 now total more than $103.5 million, the university reported.

“UC Merced is rapidly emerging as an important new source of discovery and learning on issues that matter greatly to the region and the state, and that often have global reach,” UC Merced Vice Chancellor for Research Sam Traina said. “Last year’s healthy increase in expenditures is one of the best measures of UC Merced’s growing contribution – both in terms of dollars circulating throughout the economy as well as in long-term societal benefits.”

Research funds come primarily in the form of grants from federal and state agencies or from private donors. They are used to purchase equipment, supplies and services and as aid to graduate students who conduct much of the research under faculty direction.

In the 2012-13 fiscal year, which ended June 30, UC Merced faculty members received research and training awards totaling more than  $16 million. Among the specific awards were:

  • a $1.4 million grant over five years from the National Science Foundation for a team of researchers to study the effects of climate change on marine life;
  • a $192,000, two-year grant from Amylin Pharmaceuticals LLC, a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., to Professor Rudy Ortiz for diabetes research;
  • a $1.5 million, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute to examine the effects of climate change on snow melt in the Sierras and the resulting water flow in the San Joaquin River.

Professor Alberto Cerpa was awarded a five-year, $550,000 CAREER Award by the National Science Foundation to recognize and sustain his work in the field of wireless sensor networks.

Total research and training awards since the university’s founding now total more than $131 million, the university reported.

“Engaging students at all levels in multi-disciplinary research creates a deeper understanding of the knowledge they are acquiring and its application in the real world,” Traina said. “In that sense, our research mission greatly enriches the learning experience for our students while pushing the envelope of discovery and innovation. That’s a very compelling combination – one that puts UC Merced squarely on track to become the world’s next great research university.”