UC Davis receives $760 million for research


Funding for research in public health, veterinary sciences, agriculture tops $700 million

$760 million in external research funding was awarded to the UC Davis for the fiscal year 2015 to 2016. According to the UC Davis News site, this is the fourth highest among University of California (UC) campuses. The awards mostly came from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State and the National Science Foundation were the top contributors. Most awards were given to projects concerning public health and preventing the spread of diseases.

The California Department of Public Health awarded $48.9 million to the Communicable Disease Emergency Response program, a collaboration between the UC Davis Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and the Division of Communicable Disease Control of the Department of Public Health. Dr. Marc B. Schenker, a professor in UC Davis’ Department of Public Health Sciences, said the major sources of funding for the project are from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the National Institute of Health and the State of California.

“[Federal funding] is critical, it’s absolutely essential,” Schenker said. “We wouldn’t be doing research without it in any shape of its current form. All my research is supported by external funded grants.”

While the university pays for salaries, they generally don’t entirely fund the research.

“I think this funding total is a recognition of the excellence of research found at this institution,” Schenker said. “Research funding has increased substantially over the past decade, and that reflects the quality and quantity of the research being done here.”

The UC Davis School of Medicine received many of the awards, valued at $272 million total. Lars Berglund, the senior associate dean of research, is proud of UC Davis’ rise in the rankings over the past 15 years. According to Berglund, the National Institute of Health (NIH) is a major sponsor of research at the School of Medicine.

“All of these grants are peer reviewed. […] The funding climate right now at the NIH is very, very competitive,”  Berglund said. “Maybe the top 12 percent of applications get funded.”

The UC system holds some of the most famous research institutions and is a major contributor to some of California’s top industries.

“The UC system has superb researchers [who are] world renowned in an enormous breadth of areas,” Schenker said. “You name it, there’s expertise and research in the University of California.”

Berglund believes that it is UC Davis’ quality of research that has led to the high award totals each year.

“If the quality wasn’t very high, we wouldn’t be funded,” Berglund said.

UC Davis is particularly well known for its research programs, especially for undergraduates. This appeals to many applicants who hope to get involved with research in their field to gain better knowledge and understanding.

“I actually chose UC Davis because of its emphasis in undergraduate research,” said Sneha Vaddadi, a fourth-year student in neurology, physiology and behavior, via e-mail. “I wanted to go to a school where I could explore my research interest while taking interesting and challenging classes.”


Written by: Jayashri Padmanabhan — campus@theaggie.org