Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.80
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Merced
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Gregg Camfield
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
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Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :
Yes

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The Energize Colleges Program a joint partnership with Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI) launched in 2016. The program provides internship opportunities for undergraduate students to advance their energy and sustainability education, and has supported living laboratory research projects for students that have included but are not limited to, transportation, climate change, and energy internship opportunities.

The campus provides fellowship opportunities through the University of California System Global Food and Carbon Neutrality Initiatives. The fellowships have provided students with applied research opportunities, some projects have included; managing grazing around the UC Merced Vernal Pool ecosystem, sustainable food, and waste management systems.

The institutes, initiatives, and centers on the UC Merced campus all provide opportunities for students to engage in sustainability research. The institutes, initiatives, and centers include the University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar), the University of California Water, Security, and Sustainability Research Initiative (UC Water), the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI), the UC Merced Energy Research Institute, the Center for Climate Communication, the Blum Center, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). These entities award students with fellowships, scholarships, internships. The Sierra Nevada Research Institute receives funding from Yara North America, and The Delta Stewardship Council that supports students.


Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:
Yes

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

In 2016 the University of California Global Climate Leadership Council Faculty Engagement Working group launched the Climate and Sustainability Education Resource Library (CSERL), an online platform that serves to facilitate information sharing on curricula, lectures, and seminars with colleagues throughout the University of California System.

In 2017 faculty were interviewed and hired for UC Merced's newly formed campus sustainability cluster. The intent of the cluster was to recruit scholars that work collaboratively and across disciplines to conduct research pertaining to climate change and sustainability, with focuses on technocratic and humanistic solutions. The faculty hired are also providing academic course offerings in their respective disciplines to students.

Additionally, it is the mission of the institutes engaged in sustainability research—to encourage multidisciplinary research in sustainability. Faculty at institutes cooperate on collaborative research proposals and have access to research support that is not available to unaffiliated faculty members. This includes student support, as well as funds for equipment and materials to support research projects. The institutes, initiatives, and centers on the UC Merced campus include, the University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar), the University of California Water, Security, and Sustainability Research Initiative (UC Water), the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI), the UC Merced Energy Research Institute, the Center for Climate Communication, the Blum Center, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS).


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?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Interdisciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and multidisciplinary research are implicitly recognized during faculty promotion and tenure decisions due to the very nature of the campus’ research infrastructure. Graduate groups and programs are strategically interdisciplinary in nature so that they support and reinforce the faculty’s cross-disciplinary scholarship. Additionally, most of UC Merced’s research institutes, centers, and laboratories were established to house multidisciplinary projects. As research productivity is a principal criterion for faculty promotion and advancement, the campus’ strong and practical support of interdisciplinary research effectively supports the advancement of faculty whose scholarship follows suit.


Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The UC Merced library supports sustainability research and learning. They provide instruction and reference support for those engaged in research around sustainability and the environment, including regular instruction sessions for courses addressing the subject of sustainability ranging from environmental engineering to writing in the sciences courses. Along with in-person instruction on research and information resources, the library provides several online subject and course guides related to this field. The library provides access to numerous databases that include sustainability literature including Compendex Plus, GreenFILE, and ENVIRONnetBASE, along with individual journals and books focused on this research area. The library has also partnered with UC Agricultural and Natural Resources to establish the UC Cooperative Extension Archive in order to document and provide access to research materials on agriculture, sustainability, and the environment in California. In addition, the library has partnered with Yosemite National Park Archives and Library to digitize primary source documents from the national park's collections. The library works with faculty to identify and facilitate access to these and other unique and valuable materials to support research on the environment and sustainability, and works with UC Merced researchers to ensure that the data they collect and the research they produce will be preserved and accessible in the future.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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