The University of California is one of the leading academic research enterprises in the world. UC research has contributed to California's emergence as the intellectual and economic power that it is today. Almost all of the industries in which California is a world leader – biotechnology, telecommunications, digital media, computers and semiconductors, and environmental technologies – grew out of university-based research.
Innovation and technology transfer
- UC research produced 1,581 new inventions – an average of four a day – in 2011 alone.
- UC develops more patents than any other university in the nation. It holds 3,900 active U.S. patents, many of which have led to creation of today's leading industries.
- More than 600 startup companies have been formed with UC inventions; 58 in 2011 alone.
UC investigators received $4.4 billion in research funding in the 2011-12 fiscal year.
- For every $1 in research funding provided by the state of California, UC secures $7 more in federal and private dollars.
- Nearly 75 percent of UC's research funding comes from federal agencies and private sources, with approximately 50 percent from federal funds.
- UC is a leader among universities receiving research awards from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Other federal agencies that figure prominently in UC's research awards are the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Department of Energy.
- State funds accounted for about 11 percent of UC's research expenditures in 2011-12.
UC is home to a wide range of world class research programs.
UC scientists pioneered research and technologies that are being developed to find cures for some the most serious health problems, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and AIDS.
UC has the largest system of health sciences research and training in the nation. It includes five schools of medicine in addition to schools of public health, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy; a school of veterinary medicine; and a school of optometry.
UC campuses are home to more than 230 specialized bioscience research centers, and many of the research discoveries and advances made at these centers are subsequently put to commercial uses by California’s biosciences industry leaders, tested in UC clinical research trials and incorporated into patient care.
In the late 1800's, UC researchers discovered how to remove salts from the soils of California’s Central Valley, turning what was once barren alkaline land into the most productive agricultural region in the world. Since then, UC has remained committed to supporting the industry by introducing new technologies in crop management and pest control, and helping it adapt to changing regulations while remaining competitive.
The UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is a statewide network of researchers and educators.
California Institutes of Science and Innovation
At the start of this decade, the State of California, UC and hundreds of the state’s leading-edge businesses joined together in an unprecedented partnership to address large-scale issues critical to the state’s economy. Four institutes, jointly operated by multiple UC campuses, focus on new research in information technology, telecommunications, nanotechnology, quantitative biosciences, health care, environmental management, homeland security and energy systems.
Multi-Campus Research Programs and Initiatives
UC's multi-campus research programs link expertise at UC’s10 campuses and three national laboratories. Programs include:
- The UC Institute for Transportation Studies works on reducing congestion, oil use, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.
- The UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling forecasts how water availability may shrink because of climate change and diminishing snowpack.
- California Advanced Solar Technologies focuses on the next generation of solar energy.
- The Collaborative Research for an Equitable California tackles the state's interconnected crises in education, employment, health, nutrition, housing, and the environment.
UC research includes exploring culture and the humanities. Both faculty and graduate students have played a vital role in advancing arts and humanities research, including creating new training models for school districts and nonprofit agencies and seeking ways to improve math and science education. Multi-campus programs include:
Top faculty and scientists
UC researchers receive the highest honors, which recognize their contributions and impact.
- 59 Nobel laureates – more than any other public university.
- 410 National Academy of Science members.
- 62 Medal of Science winners.
- 84 recipients of MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants.
- UC graduate and professional programs rate highly in numerous surveys, including the U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings. In the National Research Council’s assessment of Ph.D. programs, 141 UC programs ranked in the top 10 in their fields.
- In Washington Monthly’s rankings that focus on how much an institution benefits the country – as an engine of social mobility, how well if fosters scientific and humanistic research and promotes an ethic of service – three UC campuses were at the top of the list.
Training the next generation
Graduate education and research at UC have long played a critical role in producing the research innovations and skilled workforce that fuel California’s economic development.
- UC trains some 10,000 graduate researchers and 6,400 post-doctoral fellows who conduct research.
- UC awards over 3,500 Ph.D.s a year – 7 percent of the nation’s Ph.D.s.
- In California, UC awards 60 percent of all Ph.D.s and 70 percent of all Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.