UC Davis Sets Record With $846.7 Million in Research Funding

Jonna Mazet
Professor Jonna Mazet is the executive director of the UC Davis One Health Institute and also the global director of PREDICT, a $175 million project operating in more than 30 countries that aims to give early warning of emerging viruses before they spill over into humans. Earlier this year, PREDICT scientists announced they had discovered a new species of Ebola virus in bats. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The University of California, Davis, had a record year for external research funding in fiscal year 2017-18, receiving $846.7 million in awards, a $64 million increase from the previous year. 

“UC Davis is a thought leader in research and innovation, and this level of achievement validates that assertion,” said Chancellor Gary S. May. “Public and private companies depend on UC Davis more than ever to help make breakthroughs in health, transportation, agriculture and other critical issues faced by the world.”

Federal government remains top source of funding

The federal government remained the top source of research funding for UC Davis, with funds increasing by $63 million to a total of $447 million in fiscal year 2017-18. The state of California was the second-largest source of research funding, increasing by $13.4 million to $174 million. Research grants from industry were up $12.1 million to $73.6 million. 

Top awards

$17.3 million for Emerging Pandemic Threats Program 2 PREDICT-2 from the United States Agency for International Development

The PREDICT program currently operates in more than 30 countries around the world and provides rapid detection and response to emerging viruses such as Ebola and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, that move among people, wildlife and livestock. Principal investigator: Professor Jonna Mazet, School of Veterinary Medicine.

$14.7 million for MRI Measures of Cerebrovascular Injury and Alzheimer’s Disease Atrophy in a Study of Latinos from the National Institute on Aging (National Institutes of Health)

This multicenter, multiyear study examines the biological underpinnings of stroke, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease among Hispanics, and will pursue new therapeutic directions to reduce brain health disparities. Principal investigator: Professor Charles Decarli, School of Medicine. 

$14.6 million to the National Center for Sustainable Transportation from the California Department of Transportation 

This funding from Caltrans will support research in the areas of environmentally responsible infrastructure and operations, low-impact travel and sustainable land use and zero-emission vehicle and fuel technologies. 

The National Center for Sustainable Transportation was established in 2013 as one of five national transportation centers administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It supports research, education and policy engagement with the goal of improving the sustainability of the transportation system. Principal investigator: Professor Susan Handy, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. 

$14.4 million for the California Tobacco Control Program from the California Department of Public Health

The California Tobacco Control Program operated by the California Department of Public Health is supported by the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement. The CTCP uses leadership, experience and research to improve the health of all Californians by reducing illness and premature death attributable to the use of tobacco products. Principal investigator: Professor Kenneth Kizer, School of Medicine. 

$12 million for the Genetic Disease Screening Program from the California Department of Public Health

UC Davis provides qualified personnel to support the mission of the Genetic Disease Screening Program of the California Department of Public Health. The mission of GDSP is to serve the people of California by reducing the emotional and financial burden of disability and death caused by genetic and congenital disorders. Principal investigator: Professor Marc Schenker, School of Medicine.

Other significant awards include $11 million for the University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, $11 million for the Western Cooling Efficiency Center, $10.6 million for the California National Primate Research Center, $10.4 million for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Northern Region Training Academy, and $8.6 million for the Resource Center for Family Focused Practice.

Where funds are awarded upfront to cover several years, the money is counted in the first year the award was received. Incrementally funded awards are counted as authorized in each year.

Awards by college and school

Several colleges and units saw increases in awards this past year. The Office of Research, which oversees Organized Research Units including the California National Primate Research Center, John Muir Institute of the Environment and Comprehensive Cancer Center, saw an increase in external research funding of $39.3 million for a total of $58.3 million. Funding for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences increased by $19.5 million for a total of $180.8 million, and UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education saw an increase of $17.4 million for a total of $34.4 million in research funding.

The UC Davis School of Medicine received the largest allocation of research awards at $300 million. Other totals include the School of Veterinary Medicine at $77.3 million, the College of Engineering at $62.4 million, the College of Biological Sciences at $54.9 million, the College of Letters and Science at $51.8 million and the School of Education at $12.9 million.

Award amounts listed above are based on the principal investigators’ home departments.

Global impact in agriculture, health and environmental sustainability

“The significant growth of our funding can be attributed to the increase in multidisciplinary research efforts of our faculty, students and research staff. We have seen growth in both fundamental sciences as well as transformational applications,” said Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis.

“The increased level of our research activities will have global impacts in the areas of agriculture, health and environmental sustainability. Looking forward, we will have an increased emphasis on addressing societal challenges through foundational data sciences and novel discoveries,” Mohapatra said.

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