Drive Innovation at the Frontiers of Knowledge


Building on the interdisciplinary strengths of its faculty, UC Davis will promote a collaborative environment that spurs innovations in learning and research by discovering ideas that take shape at the frontiers and intersections of academic disciplines.

In advancing this goal, we will:

Expand our leadership in break-through scholarship and research in and among academic units and in partnership with prestigious universities, business groups, planning agencies and philanthropic entities

  • Create collaborative gathering places that promote both interdisciplinary discourse and a sense of a scholarly community; create both physical spaces and virtual opportunities to reach across disciplines and include community leaders and policymakers in these environments (e.g., virtual communication tools, digests of faculty expertise, journal clubs, repurposed facilities, cultural venues and library spaces)

Support excellence in basic research and translational science as it applies to solutions of the most critical social problems, including health, poverty, education, energy, transportation and the creation of a sustainable environment

  • Design a range of university incentives and funding mechanisms, training programs, policies, reward structures and recognition opportunities for faculty, staff, students, alumni and external partners that foster innovative collaborations, self-sustaining initiatives, team science, “high-risk/high-impact” discovery, next-generation technologies, entrepreneurial activity and other forms of core, interdisciplinary scholarship that are unique to the humanities, arts, and social sciences

Create innovative, transparent and effective administrative organizations in research, technology transfer, and extramural funding that will enhance past successes, substantially increasing the amount of external funding and partnerships to support the university’s research enterprise and promote the application and transfer of research results for public use

  • Secure increased financial support from programs primarily aimed at funding the humanities and social sciences
  • Create a task force, with faculty representation from both the sciences and the humanities, to review methodologies and incentives for recovering indirect cost allocations from contracts and grants

Strengthen and expand graduate groups throughout the academic units; leverage the quality of these groups as a distinctive strength of UC Davis and reward those groups that exceed established standards of performance and productivity

Utilize the breadth of our academic disciplines and research enterprises, including the university’s array of professional schools, our proximity to the state Capitol and our leadership of the UC Center Sacramento, to create a coordinated and comprehensive program to address the serious social, political, economic and environmental problems of California

METRICS: We will measure our success in achieving this goal by assessing:

Input Research Measures

  • The number of prestigious faculty innovation and career awards (such as Howard Hughes Medical Institute awards, National Institutes of Health innovation awards, National Science Foundation career awards, and Guggenheim, Humboldt and Fulbright fellowships)
  • The number of philanthropic donations, foundation awards and individual gifts received for interdisciplinary programs
  • The number of federal and state awards from various agencies
  • The number of corporate collaborations and awards
  • Increases in the productivity of grants and publications at the junction of disciplines, such as humanities and sciences; health system and basic sciences/engineering; policy and translational
  • Increases in the efficiency and cost effectiveness of research and extramural accounting administrative systems
  • Increases in university training programs, incentives, rewards and recognition opportunities that foster innovative practices and research partnerships

Output Impact and Quality Measures

  • The number of faculty inducted into domestic and international academies of high prestige
  • The number of honorary degrees held or obtained by faculty
  • The number of invention disclosures, patents, licenses and start-ups that our faculty and staff obtain
  • The number of faculty awards and other prestigious measures of institutional visibility and leadership and the amount/effectiveness of corresponding media coverage
  • Increases in the number of undergraduate students who report being engaged in meaningful research partnerships with faculty members
  • The number of interdisciplinary graduate programs/groups that are recognized as exemplary by external rankings or other measures