Goals The California Master Plan for Higher Education designates the University of California as the primary state-supported academic agency for research. UC research contributes to the state and to the nation through discoveries that improve health, technology, welfare and the quality of life.
UC has more than 800 research centers, institutes, laboratories and programs, and spans 10 campuses, five medical centers, a national energy laboratory and numerous specialized research facilities. It has established an unparalleled international reputation for innovative, leading-edge research. All academic disciplines are represented in the research enterprise, from telescopic explorations of the far reaches of the universe to advanced imaging technologies that map the workings of the human brain; from the development of new commercial strains of strawberries to the development of medical treatments through the use of stem cells; from the study of the art of ancient China to the analysis of the writings of Mark Twain. The extraordinary diversity and quality of research at UC is reflected in the uniformly high rankings assigned to UC campuses and programs by every published ranking of U.S. and worldwide universities (see Chapter 14).
Research enterprise metrics UC's performance in meeting its research goals may be assessed in a variety of ways: the quantity of research that is conducted, as reflected in research expenditures; the academic quality and impact of UC's research; the enhancement of the educational experience of UC students; the contribution to the public of research findings; and the economic and societal benefits that flow directly from research results. Measures of research quality and impact are notoriously difficult to generate, and there is little agreement on their validity or use. This chapter focuses on measures of research quantity, including research expenditures and journal publication. This emphasis on research finances demonstrates the increasing importance of research at UC, which has easily kept pace with the growth of the University as a whole, and now represents nearly one-fourth of the annual budget. However, these fiscal measures do not present a comprehensive account of UC's diverse research programs. They significantly underrepresent research in the arts, humanities, social sciences and theoretical scientific disciplines, because work in these fields leaves less of a direct fiscal footprint.
Looking forward UC faces numerous challenges in pursuing its research mission, including the recruitment and retention of a world-class faculty; remaining competitive in attracting graduate students, who play a vital role in conducting research; and fully funding the research enterprise, because the University does not recover the full costs of research from either governmental or private research sponsors.
For more information Additional information on the academic quality of UC research can be found in the January 2010 Accountability Sub-Report on the Research Enterprise, at accountability.universityofcalifornia.edu/report.html#subreports.
UC's Budget for Current Operations 2012-13 contains information on the contributions and impacts of UC's research enterprise on the California economy. It can be found at http://budget.ucop.edu/rbudget/201213/2012-13-budget.pdf.
The Office of the President's Office of Research and Graduate Studies website, www.ucop.edu/research, contains a number of resources about UC's research enterprise.The UCOP Institutional Research Unit provides dashboards on key metrics at www.ucop.edu/ir.