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Big Ideas: These 13 Are Moving Forward

By Dateline Staff on January 17, 2017 in University

UC Davis today (Jan. 17) announced the 13 Big Ideas that will help propel the university’s second comprehensive fundraising campaign. These Big Ideas, generated by members of the university community, offer ways that UC Davis can positively impact the world while also capturing the imagination of potential donors.

“I sincerely thank the many members of the UC Davis community who have shown such enthusiasm for the future of our Davis and Sacramento campuses, making this process wildly successful,” Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter said. “This is what UC Davis is about: working together on ideas that can truly transform our world.”

The 13 Big Ideas that will move forward include ideas in health, human rights, veterinary medicine and other areas:

  • Brain Health: Center for Healthy Brain Aging (faculty champion: Charles DeCarli) and Neuroscience and Brain Health (faculty champion: Cameron Carter)
  • California Center for Violence Prevention Research (faculty champion: Garen Wintemute)
  • Center for Advancing Pain Relief (faculty champion: Scott Fishman)
  • Chemistry Discovery Complex (faculty champion: Jacquelyn Gervay Hague)
  • Consortium for Innovation in Autism, Community and Technology (faculty champion: Leonard Abbeduto)
  • Global Education for All at UC Davis (faculty champion: Joanna Regulska)
  • Healthy Aging in a Digital World (faculty champions: Heather Young and Thomas Nesbitt)
  • Institute for Global Human Rights in the 21st Century (faculty champion: Keith Watenpaugh)
  • Leading the Way to Climate Neutrality (faculty champion: Kurt Kornbluth)
  • Precision Health: A New Paradigm for Health Care and Population Health (faculty champion: Frederick Meyers)
  • SmartFarm (faculty champion: David Slaughter)
  • Veterinary Medical Center (faculty champion: Michael Lairmore)
  • World Water Institute (faculty champion: Jay Lund)

Many stakeholders participated in this process, including nearly 200 faculty champions and their collaborators who initially put forth ideas. Students, staff, faculty, alumni, donors and volunteers at last fall’s Big Ideas Symposium provided important feedback both in person and via online surveys. The Campaign Steering Committee — comprising all permanent deans, select university administrators and the chair of the Faculty Senate — reviewed, discussed and scored all Big Idea white papers, carefully considered all feedback and determined which ideas should move forward to the next stage.

“The Big Ideas process is a unique and wonderful result of UC Davis’ collaborative culture,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations. “It offers students, faculty, staff and volunteers a rare opportunity to provide direct input into potential fundraising priorities, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.”

In the coming months, the ideas will undergo feasibility studies and will be marketed to targeted groups, including donors. Ideas that have a demonstrated path to funding will become marquee campaign ideas, while ideas with limited funding potential may be scaled down or re-envisioned. And other ideas are in the wings and may advance to Big Idea status in the course of the campaign.

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or