More Than $60M Awarded for Research in 2018-19

UC Davis students in the Grand Canyon
UC Davis students head to the Grand Canyon each year for a week of science, adventure and discovery.

Faculty in the College of Letters and Science were awarded $62.5 million to support research across the liberal arts and sciences in 2018-19, the College’s strongest research funding year ever. 

The total funding awarded in 2018-19 represent a single-year increase of 32.4% and a two-year increase of 57%. Federally-funded grants increased even more significantly, with a 43% single-year increase and a two-year increase of 82%. Particularly noteworthy in the federal funding area was a 94% increase in U.S. Department of Defense funding. 

The grants and contracts reflect both ongoing and new work, underscoring the remarkable scope and scale of the College’s research enterprise. Significant awards include a $4.9 million grant from the Department of Education for LibreTexts, an open access textbook project; a $1 million NSF grant to fund more than 70 scholarships in geology and coastal and marine sciences; and a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for research on Fragile X syndrome. College faculty are also part of two major new grants from the Mellon Foundation: the first, a $500,000 grant to Imagining America in support of “community-based knowledge making” in the humanities, and the second, $600,000 to the Mondavi Center’s SHAPE project to support undergraduate seminars that integrate art and science.

The funding contributes to an overall campus total of $845.5 million in grants and contracts, representing a total of 4,519 awards from the 10 colleges and schools at UC Davis.

Notable awards for 2018-19

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences received a $1 million award from the National Science Foundation to fund undergraduate and graduate scholarships and foster students from their first field experience, through their capstone undergraduate field course, and into research, real-world internships or entrance into graduate schools.

UC Davis received $600,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to offer undergraduate courses that merge arts, humanities and science. The program, called SHAPE, named for Science, Humanities and Arts: Process and Engagement, will be implemented in partnership with the Davis Humanities Institute. 

Charlotte Biltekoff, associate professor and chair of the American studies program, is part of a multi-campus study team awarded $492,000 from the National Science Foundation to explore the booming connections between new technologies, agriculture and food.

The Hartwell Foundation awarded Marie Heffern, assistant professor of chemistry, $300,000 to study metal micronutrient status as a biomarker and treatment target for obesity and metabolic disease.

Professors Veronika Hubeny and Mukund Rangamani, Department of Physics, were awarded $348,000 from the Department of Energy to explore connections between the nature of spacetime, quantum entanglement and string theory

Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, led by Erica Kohl-Arenas, associate professor of American studies, received $500,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch a national IA Leading and Learning Initiative to shift institutional culture in higher education toward greater support of public scholarship in the humanities, the arts and design.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded $4.9 million to the LibreTexts project, a leading, noncommercial open textbook organization led by chemistry professor Delmar Larsen, to expand its library of free, online STEM textbooks and educational resources. 

Two political scientists were awarded a $1.37 million, three-year grant from the Department of Defense’s Minerva Research Initiative to study how countries share the burdens of security alliances. Distinguished Professor Zeev Maoz and Associate Professor Brandon Kinne will apply network analysis to examine international alliances and defense cooperation agreements from 1945 through 2010.

Susan Rivera, professor of psychology, received $1.2 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for research on fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that can cause learning disabilities and cognitive impairment.  

Richard Robins, professor in the Department of Psychology, received a $3.9 million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Aging to identify social and physical risk factors for dementia and other health problems associated with aging. The grant expands the scope of the California Families Project, which has been following the health and wellbeing of more than 600 families of Mexican origin since 2005. 

Professors Henry Spiller and Anna Maria Busse Berger, both in the Department of Music, received a $210,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation’s Asia Program to investigate the music history of the Indonesian archipelago.

With a $100,000 grant from Facebook, Magdalena Wojcieszak, associate professor of communication, is launching a multinational study on whether people’s attitudes and feelings toward their political opponents are influenced by the types of news they consume online

Jiayi Young, associate professor of design, and Tim Hyde, associate professor of art, have been awarded $20,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to embed artists into scientific laboratories to promote interdisciplinary collaboration, produce publicly engaged scholarship, and narrow the gap between scholars, communities and the public.

Becky Oskin, content strategist in the College of Letters and Science

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