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Monday, September 20, 2021

Feds grant UC Davis $69.9 million

Federal stimulus grants to UC Davis resulting from President Obama’s February-enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will fund an estimated 250 new jobs in research projects at UC Davis.

Of the jobs, 53 full-time-equivalent positions have already been generated. The number of jobs is an estimate based on an analysis of the pay-roll systems.

“The majority of the jobs from the ARRA funds to UC Davis will support students, staff and faculty at UC Davis,” said Barry M. Klein, physics professor and vice chancellor for research. “This will be very helpful for the UC Davis community.”

The ARRA has placed the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation in charge of distributing the roughly $11.2 billion in funds to research institutions nation-wide.

The ARRA funds are part of an initiative to produce or save jobs in researching areas such as medicine, physical sciences and engineering that would be most beneficial in the long term. The increased investment in such jobs is expected to lead to new discoveries, new industries, more sustainable jobs and, in turn, a better economy.

“We have had broad success in ARRA awards,” Klein said. “From life sciences to physical sciences and engineering, and from research that supports people to equipment that facilitates research.”

As of Sept. 30, UC Davis faculty members have received 176 stimulus grants totaling $69.9 million.

“There is a very competitive review process [for proposals],” said Carolyn Sawai, communications director for UC Davis Office of Research. “There have been almost $70 million [of ARRA funds] as of September, but that’s only a portion of what’s to come.”

In addition to research, the ARRA stimulus funds will also contribute to a new infrastructure throughout the University. UC Davis has developed numerous proposals for new buildings and renovations, such as a $6 million Chemistry Building and $15 million for the expansion of the physics department.

“So far from what I’ve seen, the [approval] process is really demanding,” said Paul Schwartz, assistant director of capital program management in the Office of Resource Management and Planning. “You really have to show that you have a project that measures up and that you can deliver it.”

Though the NSF’s decision on which projects will be funded will not come until early 2010, this stringency comes for good reason – ARRA-funded projects are expected to start as soon as they are approved, and the multimillion-dollar price tags would mean drastic overhauls for UC Davis.

“It seems the [University is] smart in the way they are handling things,” Schwartz said. “They’re trying to have the money accomplish many things – employment, advancing scientific research and also contributing to programs that have already started.”

ARNOLD LAU can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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