University of California Institutions Get $15M for Innovative Climate-Related Projects

The University of California system will distribute the funds equally between 10 schools and five affiliates for climate-focused technology and entrepreneurship.
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Published on April 20, 2023
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  • The grants are part of a $185 million partnership between California and the university system.
  • UCLA will work to combat air pollution and extreme heat. UC Riverside will launch an academy for climate innovators. San Francisco's school will develop a clinical emergency response plan for the UCSF Health system.
  • The university system will award $80 million later this year to climate researchers.

The University of California (UC) system is awarding $15 million in grants to its schools and affiliated institutions for climate-focused entrepreneurism. One UC school is researching insulating paint. Another will build an academy. And one school will develop an emergency clinical response plan.

All 10 UC campuses will receive two-year grants for $1 million each. The universities will focus on projects aiding California communities most vulnerable to climate disasters and those who've suffered from historic inequities, according to an announcement from the UC system.

According to UC, the grants are part of a $185 million partnership between the system and the state to fight the climate crisis.

"Together, our campuses, national labs, and other UC divisions offer California a comprehensive portfolio of deep expertise, innovative ideas, scalable solutions, and strong commitment to the state," Theresa Maldonado, UC's vice president for research and innovation, said in the announcement.

"We continue to endure persistent climate-related challenges, such as the recent atmospheric rivers and the extreme heat and wildfires in summer and fall."

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) plans to work on refining air pollution and extreme heat technologies — for example, exterior paint to help homes without air conditioning stay cooler during heat waves.

"Our materials scientists have developed a supercooling radiative paint that reflects as much as 98 percent of incoming heat from the sun," Roger Wakimoto, UCLA's vice chancellor for research, said in the announcement.

"With these funds, we will be able to perform the field tests necessary to show that this paint is a durable, cost-effective solution that can help protect vulnerable communities during episodes of extreme heat."

The University of California, Riverside will use the funds to launch the OASIS Entrepreneurial Academy to offer education, mentorship, and commercialization advice to climate innovators.

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) will develop data and best practices, including a clinical emergency response plan for the UCSF Health system, for those with the highest risk from the health impacts of wildfire smoke in the Bay Area.

The UC system will evenly distribute the remaining $5 million to the UC Health system, the Agriculture and Natural Resources division, the Natural Reserve System, and the Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories.

UC said it will award $80 million in grants later this year to climate researchers as part of the same UC and state partnership.