Roger Bales

Credit: University of California

The UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, led by Roger Bales at UC Merced, will dramatically improve the data on California’s water cycle and how water is used.

Check out the full list

Learn more about the MRPI funding opportunity and see a full list of awarded projects on the UC Research Initiatives website

The University of California has announced the winners of the Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives funding opportunity, which will award more than $23 million over four years to 18 collaborative proposals.

The research grants will go to a diverse array of projects, from developing an implantable device that could correct memory impairment to an effort to help California better manage its water resources.

The 2014 request for proposals garnered 186 eligible entries in the arts, humanities, social, biological, environmental and physical sciences, and engineering. They were reviewed and ranked by experts from both inside and outside the University of California. The selected proposals involve researchers from all 10 UC campuses and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

"There were so many worthy applicants for this highly competitive awards program," said Kathleen Erwin, director of UC Research Initiatives, which oversees MRPI. "The proposals that were selected advance research in areas that are critical to California, and which provide important collaborative opportunities for UC faculty and students across the university."

MRPI awards support UC research collaborations that involve at least three campuses and strengthen the UC research enterprise. Among the research projects granted awards were:

Memory Prosthetics
Memory impairment is becoming a critical issue as California’s population ages. This collaboration, led by Bruce McNaughton at UC Irvine, will take a bold approach by designing and prototyping an electronic device to correct the underlying malfunction in the brain that leads to memory problems.

UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative
Ensuring that California’s water is well managed is of critical need, particularly during drought. The UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative, led by Roger Bales at UC Merced, will dramatically improve the data on California’s water cycle and how water is used. The research will aid policy development to help the state achieve long-term water security.

Consortium for Black Studies in California
Enhancing collaborative scholarship among experts distributed across campuses will position the UC as the premier institution for black studies in the United States. The Consortium for Black Studies in California, led by Robin Kelley at UCLA, will focus on humanistic and arts-based studies, such as film, music, poetry and fiction, that are relevant to California and often overlooked in other black studies programs.

California Immigration Research Initiative
If California were its own country, it would have the world’s fourth largest immigrant population. Led by David FitzGerald at UC San Diego, the Immigration Research Initiative will examine how these newcomers are integrated into California’s schools, workforce and culture, and develop applied solutions on complex immigration issues for policymakers.

Legal Economic Data and Analysis of Environmental Markets
Research led by Gary Libecap at UC Santa Barbara takes a fresh look at how to best protect the environment. Rather than a traditional regulatory approach, researchers will instead study the legal and economic basis for a rights-based method that engages property owners as part of a market-based solution to environmental protection.

"These awards support exciting research across the full breadth of the UC research enterprise," said Mary Croughan, executive director of UC’s Research Grants Program Office, which houses UC Research Initiatives and the MRPI program in the UC Office of the President.  "UC has tremendous talent across its campuses, and these grants foster engagement across disciplines and locales."