|Submission Date||June 20, 2023|
University of California, Davis
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research
|4.00 / 4.00||
Assessment Program Manager
Office of Sustainability
Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
A brief description of the student sustainability research program:
The Undergraduate Research Center (URC) hosts an annual Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Creative Activities (URSCA) Conference where sustainability related undergraduate and research projects are evaluated by the Sustainability office professional staff so that sustainability related research can be featured in a Sustainability Spotlight publication. In addition to having their research identified as sustainability related, these students received sustainability stickers to identify their research as such, free poster printing, and flyers to share the list of projects involving sustainability, which were also listed on the URC website. Each year, there are approximately 180 student presenters (out of 700 student presenters) who indicate that their project has a sustainability focus and are recognized at the conference.
Example 2021 Sustainability Spotlight: https://urc.ucdavis.edu/sites/g/files/dgvnsk3561/files/inline-files/2021_Sustainability_Flyer.pdf
In 2018, grateful UC Davis alumni, faculty and community members collaborated and donated money to create the Green Fellowship, which supports students as they pursue research and projects focused on advancing social justice and environmental sustainability, particularly with regards to the Sustainable Living and Learning Communities (SLLC). Two Green Fellows are selected annually and awarded $4,000 in direct financial support for the student and an award of up to $2,500 to be used as directed by the adviser to the project for mentorship support or supplies.
The Green Initiative Fund is a campus program hosted by UC Davis Sustainability. It is supported by student fees, offers students the opportunity to develop and launch innovative sustainability projects on campus, and to have a greater impact on sustainability within the UC Davis campus and the immediate region. The program involves and educates students of all backgrounds by empowering them to develop, propose, and enact sustainable projects on campus. TGIF promotes sustainable development by providing necessary funding to the UC Davis community. The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) program is advertised on the Undergraduate Research Center website and featured at the Resource Fair during Undergraduate Research Week events each October. While this fund is not intended to solely fund research (it also funds sustainability projects and events), students are encouraged to apply for funding for research projects, and a number of student research projects have been funded – from developing drought tolerance tools for maize using plant viruses, pancreatic cancer treatment and autophagy inhibitors, design and building of electric cars and a Hyperloop for future transportation; to low impact design/green infrastructure; smart trash cans to improve recycling contamination rates; water quality and habitat research in the campus Arboretum; research satellites to monitor climate data; and more.
Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:
The programs listed here use either internal campus funds or external sponsor funds to engage UC Davis faculty in sustainable research. Funds are open to all relevant faculty to apply.
Office of Global Affairs Grants for Advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Team-focused grants of up to $7,500 to fund locally executed but internationally oriented multi-disciplinary programs such as lectures and workshops that highlight and enhance UC Davis’ connections to one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Institute of the Environment Faculty Fellows Program: Each year, this fellowship is awarded to four to eight faculty members who conduct research which furthers the mission of the Institute: connecting people, planet, and the economy through sustainable environmental solutions. Each recipient receives between $5,000 and $10,000 to help seed their research. Areas of research for the 2023 Fellows focus on wildfire topics and include: wildfire-resilient housing, the interaction of clean air policy and prescribed fires, community-engaged study of the impacts of the Caldor fire, and communicating climate change and wildfire effects through art and museum exhibitions.
Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC) seed grants: The EHSC invites applications for seed funding for feasibility studies or new interdisciplinary collaborations with strong potential to lead to a funded submission for a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) or another grant award.
Institute for Transportation Studies (ITS) and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST): The UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS-Davis) accepts proposals for seed grants, research projects, and white papers. Priority is given to proposals with a national scope within the NCST research areas of Environmentally Responsible Infrastructure and Operations, Multi-Modal Travel and Sustainable Land Use, Zero-Emission Vehicle & Fuel Technology, and Institutional Change. Awards range from $25,000 to $90,000 in direct costs and are funded by the US Department of Transportation or Caltrans.
Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:
A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
UC Davis has a culture of interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, as seen in the many centers (e.g., Center for Health and the Environment), Organized Research Units (e.g., Institute of the Environment), and programs (e.g., BIRCWH K12) that facilitate and support such research. The Office of Research Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021-22 highlights this strength in interdisciplinary research, stating: “Our research programs address a broad range of needs, often bringing together experts from multiple disciplines to collaborate on groundbreaking discoveries for some of the most complex challenges that we face.”
Organized Research Units: https://research.ucdavis.edu/research/or-research-units/
UC Davis Policy on Organized Research Units: https://ucdavispolicy.ellucid.com/documents/view/109/active
Office of Research Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021-22: https://2022researchimpact.ucdavis.edu/
UC Davis follows UC systemwide policy on academic advancement as determined by the UC Office of the President. On matters of appointment, promotion, and appraisal, the policy states: “The review committee shall judge the candidate with respect to the proposed rank and duties, considering the record of the candidate’s performance in (1) teaching, (2) research and other creative work, (3) professional activity, and (4) University and public service. … As the University enters new fields of endeavor and refocuses its ongoing activities, cases will arise in which the proper work of faculty members departs markedly from established academic patterns. In such cases, the review committees must take exceptional care to apply the criteria with sufficient flexibility.”
UC systemwide policy on academic advancement can be found in Academic Personnel Manual Policy APM 210 and APM 220; UC Davis’ implementation of the policy can be found in APM UCD 220 and in our Step Plus guidelines. Links to these four policies and guidelines are:
APM 210: https://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-210.pdf
APM 220: https://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/apm/apm-220.pdf
APM UCD 2020: https://aadocs.ucdavis.edu/policies/apm/apm-220.pdf
UC Davis Step Plus Guidelines: https://academicaffairs.ucdavis.edu/step-plus-system
The Interdisciplinary Research & Strategic Initiatives (IRSI) division within the Office of Research provides services to initiate, develop and advance interdisciplinary research at UC Davis. These services include coordination of limited submissions, development of large-scale grant proposals, identifying funding opportunities, managing organized research units and establishing partnerships with entities off campus.
The IRSI has an Interdisciplinary Research Catalyst Faculty Fellows Program that awards funding for interdisciplinary research. To be eligible to receive awards, outstanding faculty members must be nominated by the Dean of their respective School or College in consultation with the Office of Research.
Interdisciplinary Research Catalyst program: https://research.ucdavis.edu/research/interdisciplinary-research-strategic-initiatives/si-overview/
Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:
A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:
Librarians at the UC Davis Library author subject, topic, or course-focused guides on the library website. All guides contain recommendations for which specialized indexes, databases, or resources to use to find useful information on disciplinary topics. Some examples of online guides that support sustainability research and learning include: Energy; Global Learning; Hydrology; Fisheries & Aquaculture; Environmental Toxicology; Art, Architecture, Art History and Design; Biological and Agricultural Engineering; Animal Science & Wildlife Biology; Entomology & Nematology; Environmental Science, Policy & Management; Ecology & Conservation Biology; Landscape Architecture; Marine Sciences & Oceanography; Food Science & Nutrition; Chemical Engineering; and Soil Science. The Library has course-specific guides as well, for example: EME050-Manufacturing Processes; ENT153-Medical Entomology; and ECH/EMS200-Chemical Engineering/Materials Science Engineering. Each guide is authored by a librarian with expertise in research and learning related to the particular topic, with librarian contact information displayed alongside the research content for easy access to questions and help. In total, there are currently over 30 guides on such topics to inform sustainability research and learning.
Research guides related to sustainability: https://guides.library.ucdavis.edu/srch.php?q=sustainab*
The Library also licenses numerous resources with a sustainability focus to provide our community with high-quality information in support of sustainability-focused research and learning. A few examples are: DataONE, AgroRXiv, Pollution Abstracts, Building Green, and Material ConneXion.
The Library also offers, from time to time, special events or news items to highlight themes or learning opportunities around sustainability. For example, in March 2022, the Library became the holder of the Isao Fugimoto Papers, including content on sustainable agriculture and green technology.
In addition, the Library's Scholarly Communications Program is focused on leading initiatives to improve the sustainability, accessibility, and reach of scholarship at UC Davis and beyond, educating our community on open-access publishing.
Scholarly Communications Program: https://library.ucdavis.edu/scholarly-communications-program/
Lastly, the Library's primary location - the Peter J. Shields Library - is also LEED Gold certified for its sustainability practices - so the Library not only supports others in their efforts around sustainability, but we try to practice what we teach!
Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
The UC Davis Undergraduate Research Center noted that the campus offers additional funding and research program/mentoring opportunities for undergraduate students, including the following (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Provost's Undergraduate Fellowship
- Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
- URC Travel Award
- NSF CAMP program
- Innovative Institute for Food and Health
- Mentor Mentee Program for Humanities and Social Sciences
- McNair Program
- UC LEADS
While these opportunities are not only for sustainability research, they are also inclusive of students wishing to apply to support a sustainability research project.
Cora Ballek, student employee at the UC Davis Sustainability office, assisted in compiling this credit response.
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to email@example.com.