FY20 Projects

Student Creativity and Entrepreneurial Empowerment (SCEE)

Submitted by Aaron Huang, undergraduate

Sponsored by Stephen Bruce

Approved Oct. 21, 2019 


Major project activities - Various programs with a goal to build a community to nurture, and support collaboration among student entrepreneurs, mentors, and Startups in Santa Cruz County.

Programs include:

  1. Competition - Slug Tank, Big Idea Contest, Women in Business Contest, Startup Weekend powered by Techstar, Business Design Showcase.
  1. Workshop - Guy Kawasaki, Toby Corey, Ryan Holiday, and 10+ private mentorship workshop session with competition teams.
  1. Field Trip - Currently planning trips to Amazon, Skydeck (UC Berkeley) and various VC funds in the Silicon Valley.
  1. GYHD - Designed for students who have no prior experience with entrepreneurship, sales or marketing, GYHD is our plan to take a step beyond “teaching” design thinking and the lean startup methodology, but to have our members actually DO it - on a much smaller scale.


This year’s programs aim to achieve two collective goals:

  1. By working with CIED (Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development) and EIRs (Entrepreneur In Residences), we hope to bring 2000 UCSC students to the world of entrepreneurship. These students will participate in our events, and become an ambassador of innovation thinking for UCSC.
  1. By working closely with the Alumni Foundation and Santa Cruz county, we hope to build up a mentorship network of 30+ mentors. In which they will lead mentorship workshop sessions to find ten best startup teams from UCSC to participate in the Business Design Showcase at the end of the year.

Amount funded: A conditional award of $15,000 over two years, $7,500 in Year 1; and an award of $7,500 in Year 2 provided SCEE is able to raise at least $3,000 from non-BOF sources

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Our key partners include: CIED, Santa Cruz Works, Big Idea Contest (UC Berkeley), Catalyst X, Citris Foundry and Women Entrepreneurs at Berkeley.

Key individuals include: Sue Carter, Nathan Westrup, Nada Miljkovic, Stephen Bruce, David Hansen, Toby Corey, and Doug Ericson.



The Physics Optical Experiments Lab

Submitted by Professor Robert Johnson and Professor Emeritus George Brown

Sponsored by Richard Moss

Approved October 21, 2019


Optics is a growth area in science and engineering, overlapping with high quality imaging techniques in biological sciences and astronomy, communications in electrical engineering, quantum information in physics, and new frontiers including metamaterials and nanotechnologies—which includes nano-fluidicoptics and bio-informatics optical detection. It is important that our undergraduates have familiarity with optics, but it has been missing from the physics curriculum, with students receiving only cursory coverage as part of their core physics courses.

To address this need, we are working to create a new optics course for undergraduate students. Because experimental work is such an important part of optics, it was determined that the course should be a lab course (similar to what UC Berkeley and UC San Diego offer). Recognizing this need two years ago, the Physics Department developed a plan and identified funding sources to construct this course. In this time-period, classroom space has been secured, faculty instructors identified, and various funding sources have been identified and secured. The result being that today we have procured apparatus for nine optical experiments and are ready to build out the Lab—save for one remaining key experiment unpurchased: Bell’s Inequality, which demonstrates the foundation of quantum mechanics.

Bell’s Inequality will cost an additional $25,000, and once funding is secured the build-out of the lab can proceed. Physics Professor Robert Johnson has offered his time and energy to effect the build-out during the 2019-20 academic year (while he is on sabbatical). In parallel to this BOF request, the department has been actively working with University Relations on direct solicitations of donors to this project, to raise the remaining $10,639 in funds needed to complete the project.


The completion of the Optics Experiments Lab and course will significantly improve and expand undergraduate physics students’ understanding of and experience in optics, and will provide a critical foundation for students seeking careers or advanced degrees in optics. It will strengthen the UCSC Physics department’s program, and provide an Optics Experiments Lab on par with sister campuses UC Berkeley and UC San Diego.

Amount funded: $25,000

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Professor Robert Johnson, Emeritus George Brown, (manages instructional labs in the Physics Department), Professor Onuttom Narayan (fund raising), and Tim Bensch (UR/fund raising).



Experiential Leadership Program

Submitted by Alan Christy, Associate Professor, Provost of Cowell College, Chair of the Council of Provosts

Sponsored by Michael Riepe

Approved Dec. 23, 2019


Our proposal is to develop a social entrepreneurship enterprise around the services developed by the UCSC Experiential Leadership Program (ELP). The program was discontinued in July 2019, providing an opportunity to pivot by re-establishing and growing the program. A BOF grant will help fund one year of the Associate Director position. The AD will work with campus partners and donors to develop a business plan, establish a permanent funding model and scale the program from a single staff person to a team of professional and student staff. The AD and partners will explore various business plans ranging from a high profile campus center to a nationally recognized leadership training institute. The program will continue providing leadership training, leadership support, and team building services to students, staff and faculty, but under a new "Common Good Services" model with little or no fees. 

Over the past ten year period, the ELP program has developed innovative and highly successful services and programs that consistently show outstanding results. ELP has been proven to fill an essential need, and serves as a force multiplier to the efforts of other campus programs. This is accomplished by working alongside campus leaders and teams and providing concrete tools, training programs, process support, and facilitation services that enable people to build cohesion and work effectively together. As a result of this innovative approach, teams consistently walk away feeling better about themselves and one another. Leaders and teams gain the skills, tools and mindset to be inclusive, transparent, collaborative and successful in reaching goals.

ELP services and support are nimble and effective serving widely diverse organizations, multi-cultural groups and interdisciplinary teams across campus as well as with off-campus partners. ELP programs and services have been piloted extensively, are well-established and positioned to grow.


Experiential Leadership Program courses and services significantly improve the ability of leaders and teams to focus energy, get work done and reach goals. This program is a tremendously effective bridge-building tool and networking platform for both on and off campus partners.

An ELP center or institute will help establish UCSC as a leader in promoting and teaching the "hidden curriculum" that supports team and organizational success. Hidden curriculum includes developing skills for effective communication, team work and group problem solving. Training that highlights the hidden curriculum is particularly effective in bridging the achievement gap, and supporting social mobility, for first generation and underrepresented students. Innovative and highly relevant leadership training and services will raise the visibility of UCSC as a whole.

Amount funded: $20,000

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Alan Christy, Faculty Chair of Council of Provosts; Jeff Shilling, Interim Vice Chancellor University Relations; Kathleen Rose, UCSC Trustee; Michael Riepe, President of UCSC Alumni Council; Erika Zavaleta, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor; Chris Lay, Director Norris Center for Natural History.



Barring Freedom

Submitted by Rachel Nelson, Interim Director, IAS

Sponsored by Randy Wedding

Approved Feb. 1, 2020


Emerging from a deep history of scholarship and activism at UC Santa Cruz, Barring Freedom is a multi-faceted, 18-month arts-based program which seeks to engage and educate the public about issues of mass incarceration, race, and the prison industrial complex. Organized for UC Santa Cruz by the Institute of the Arts and Sciences, Barring Freedom features a bi-coastal exhibition of contemporary art; a public sculpture and garden project about solitary confinement (Solitary Garden by jackie sumell); public talks by UC Santa Cruz Emerita Professor Angela Y. Davis, History of Consciousness, Professor Craig Haney, Psychology, Professor Dee Hibbert-Jones, Art, and other important speakers; a two-day symposium co-organized with Associate Professor Gina Dent, Feminist Studies and Legal Studies, called “Visualizing Prison Abolition;” and an edited volume of essays and art. Barring Freedom brings together artists, activists, and scholars with the general public to imagine alternatives to our fundamentally flawed criminal justice system. We seek to galvanize a broader public discourse to address the broken promise of freedom and justice for all in the United States.

We request a grant of $22,000 to expand the teaching and outreach impact and to leverage support for Barring Freedom. The Board of Opportunity Fund grant would support the Education Program developed to integrate the Barring Freedom exhibition and related programming into the UC Santa Cruz curriculum broadly, impacting thousands of UC Santa Cruz students. 1 The Education Program will work with select undergraduate and graduate students to implement this program, offering them the opportunity to gain hands on experience in arts education. The grant would also fund additional programming during the run of the exhibition, giving students and community member more avenues of engagement with the ideas and themes of the program. Finally, the grant from the Board Opportunity Fund would also help us pursue funding from state and national sources and would provide the matching funds required for a California Humanities project grant. The funds from the Board Opportunity Fund will send a strong signal to California Humanities and all outside funders of the importance of this project to UC Santa Cruz.


Funding for the Barring Freedom and its Education Program will promote two main outcomes, outlined below.

Integrate Barring Freedom exhibition, symposium, and events into a class curriculum, with the aid of select undergraduate interns and graduate student fellows.

  • Through coordination with campus provosts, more than 4,000 incoming freshman students in 2020/21 will visit the group exhibition at the Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery as part of their core class coursework.
  • 3-4 IAS Arts Education Internships will be awarded to undergraduate students who will work with IAS staff to schedule and arrange class visits, gaining experience in arts education.
  • 4-5 IAS Arts Education Fellowships will be awarded to Ph.D. students in the Arts who will work with IAS staff to docent the Barring Freedom exhibition for classes and develop exhibition teaching materials.
  • IAS undergraduate interns and graduate education fellows will work with IAS staff to conduct outreach for the exhibition at Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery to other faculty at UC Santa Cruz. We predict, based on our past successes with this model, that we will be able to serve 15-20 additional upper-division classes, equaling another 1500 students.
  • Additional undergraduate students will act as docents and gallery sitters in the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery.
  • IAS undergraduate interns and graduate education fellows will also aid IAS staff to coordinate bus trips to the San José Museum of Art (SJMA) to experience that component of the exhibition. (Chartered buses are sponsored by the SJMA.)

Broaden the educational impact of Barring Freedom exhibitions through subsidiary programming.

  • The IAS will collaborate with faculty and campus leaderships, including faculty in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and Deans of the Physical and Biological Sciences and Social Sciences, Paul Koch and Katharyne Mitchell, to organize weekly artist lectures, film screenings, and panel discussions during the run of the exhibition to better enhance research and teaching on campus, offering students and the broad community more opportunities to engage with the ideas and themes of Barring Freedom.
  • The IAS conducts outreach and works with faculty to incorporate these events into their curriculum as coursework and/or extra credit opportunities to their students. The provosts of Porter and Cowell college have already committed to integrating Barring Freedom into their colleges’ core courses and will also encourage these students to participate in related events.

Amount funded: $22,000

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Rachel Nelson, Interim Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences 

Alex Moore, Curatorial Fellow, Institute of the Arts and Sciences

Shelby Graham, Director, Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery

William Pangburn, Director, The Shiva Gallery at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Lauren Dickens, Senior Curator, San José Museum of Art

Professor Gina Dent, Feminist Studies faculty

Professor Angela Y. Davis, Emerita faculty

Professor Craig Haney, Psychology faculty

Professor Sharon Daniel, Art faculty

Professor Beth Stephens, Art faculty

Professor A. Laurie Palmer, Art faculty

Professor Dee Hibbert-Jones, Art faculty

Professor Alan Christy, Cowell Provost

Associate Professor Erin Grey, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz alumna

Jock Reynolds, UC Santa Cruz alumnus



Universe in Verse: Astrobiology Initiative Campaign Kickoff

Submitted by Natalie Batalha

Sponsored by Loren Kinczel and Claudia Webster

Approved Feb. 1, 2020


In special collaboration with the highly-respected author, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings fame, the UC Santa Cruz Astrobiology Initiative is thrilled to co-host the esteemed cultural phenomenon, Universe in Verse in Spring 2020. Held just days before the 2020 UCSC Giving Day, this event will be strategically leveraged as a public launch of a larger fundraising campaign effort for the Astrobiology Initiative and instrumental to bringing awareness and new potential donors to both Astrobiology and UCSC overall.

A celebration of science through poetry, Universe in Verse mirrors the multidisciplinary spirit of the newly established UC Santa Cruz Astrobiology Initiative led by astronomer & faculty member Dr. Natalie Batalha. Drawing from the expertise of renowned colleagues across several disciplines (e.g. physics, UC Observatories, biology, earth & planetary sciences, chemistry, and the humanities), the Astrobiology Initiative will advance the search for life outside of Earth, using a holistic and highly creative way to approach investigation with leaders in their fields, instrumentation solutions, and public events that highlight science, ethics, diversity and the mis. What better way to introduce the awe-inspiring mission of the Astrobiology Initiative to the UC Santa Cruz community and the public at large than through exploration of this year's theme for the Universe in Verse: "What is Life?"

Being held on the west coast for the first-time ever, this Brooklyn, NY event annually features a gathering of 12-16 celebrities, scientists, poets, musicians and other influencers on stage around a common theme, each sharing personal motivations, and contemplations along with their poetry reading. In addition to the personalized readings, several different art installations and student/faculty research showcase opportunities will be available as attendees enter the event space.


The Astrobiology Initiative's goals include sharing science with traditionally underrepresented populations in STEM fields. Therefore, in addition to ticketed seats, they will reserve seats for high school students and their families who have participated in La Noche de Las Estrellas at Lick Observatory. Popova and the UC Santa Cruz-based event planning team will collaborate to bring IO+ high-profile contributors to the 2,600+ audience members in the Quarry Amphitheatre. Local amateur astronomers and Astronomy Graduate students will set up large telescopes on the periphery of the event for night sky object viewings. The event itself will be created to inspire wonder and awe and strategically leverage support for the Astrobiology Initiative, including the following fundraising efforts:

  • First deadline for major gift fundraising efforts for Fellowship priority and Giving Day matching gift, including special announcement at event (if applicable)
  • Ticket proceeds to benefit the Astrobiology Initiative Fund (if applicable)
  • Specialized Giving Day communications following the event
  • VIP ticketing/events: Begin longer-term conversations with individual and foundation donors about growing the initiative to an institute.
  • Introduction to a national audience: event marketing by Maria Popova and post-event video (potentially live-streaming if sold out like other Universe in Verse events).

This large event has the potential to both develop the beginnings of a robust base of support for the new Astrobiology Initiative from which to grow a major gift pipeline and also to directly inspire current major donors.

With the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board's support, this Universe in Verse stage will not only be an entertaining place to explore one of humanity's most enduring questions, "What is Life?". It will also be a stage to launch an emerging campus strength into public view in a creative and dynamic display of its own values.

Amount funded: $30,000

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

University Relations Special Events & Marketing/Communications Humanities Institute (already committed to $10K co-sponsorship)

Jennifer Parker, OpenLab


MESA/La Noche

STEM Diversity Program



The Monterey Bay Archaeological Research Center (MBARC)

Submitted by J. Cameron Monroe, Associate Professor of Anthropology 

Sponsored by Kathleen Rose

Approved Feb. 1, 2020


The Monterey Bay Archaeology Archives is a UC Office of the President recognized non-profit repository for archaeological materials from the greater Monterey Bay region. The MBAA houses cultural materials from 12 prehistoric and historic sites in Santa Cruz County and over 60 prehistoric and historic sites in northern Monterey County. In addition to the actual archaeological materials, site excavation records, reports, and other documentary materials relevant to the sites are curated in perpetuity in the archives. These archaeological collections contribute to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Monterey Bay region’s environmental and human history and are relevant to archaeologists, historians, biologists, ecologists, educators, Native Californians, and members of the general public. Our current facilities, located in 320 square feet of non-climate controlled substandard space in 139 Social Sciences 1, are subpar for our vision of the future of archaeological research and outreach in the Monterey Bay region. UCSC recently granted us the use of a larger (1500 sq ft), climate-controlled facility at 2300 Delaware to house the new, renamed Monterey Bay Archaeological Regional Center (MBARC). We plan to expanded our footprint in the Delaware facility to permit the implementation of a new vision for the role of the MBARC in regional archaeological research, archiving, and public engagement. We are requesting seed funding ($30,000) to enhance and expand this irreplaceable knowledge base into a larger repository and education/public outreach center.


This new facility will support the following:

  • Public outreach and engagement with descendant communities
  • Education collaboration and teaching
  • Deep-time ecological research
  • Regional repository for Monterey Bay archaeological materials
  • On campus research activities

Amount funded: $10,000 conditional grant. Conditions met. 

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

A central goal of the MBARC is to increase our outreach to and engagement with the Indigenous descendant communities in the region, those communities who are culturally tied to much of the material housed in the Monterey Bay Archaeology Archives. As such, we will partner closely with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band (AMTB), a present-day tribal organization representing the Indigenous people who were taken to Mission Santa Cruz and Mission San Juan Bautista. UCSC already has a strong relationship with the Amah Mutsun and AMTB Chairman Valentin Lopez, and our proposal will serve to build on that partnership. Additionally, we will partner with the Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT), an organization that was founded by the AMTB and non-native allies. The goal of the AMLT is to facilitate research partnerships to conserve, steward, and manage Amah Mutsun lands and cultural heritage. We will also partner with the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation (OCEN) and Chairwoman Louise Miranda Ramirez, who represent the descendants of 19 Indigenous villages centered in the southern region of Monterrey Bay. In addition to tribal communities, MBARC partners could include the California State Parks, the Bureau of Land Management, the Elkhorn Slough Reserve, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and the Santa Cruz Archaeological Society.



Tech4Good Collaboratory & Fellows Program

Submitted by David Lee, Assistant Professor of Computational Media

Sponsored by Vikram Sahai

Approved Feb. 18, 2020


The Tech4Good Lab was founded in 2016 with the goal of supporting individuals and societies to flourish, especially in relation to the future of work, education, governance, and community engagement. As part of this goal, it created a program for undergraduate students in 2017, the Collaboratory, which envisions an educational system where learning is situated in real-world work, contributing to community needs, and motivated by curiosity and passion. Its mission is to provide undergraduate students with need-situated, hands-on apprenticeship learning - the type of experience required to be successful in our rapidly changing economy and society, but that is typically only provided to a limited number of students that have prior experience. Students have the opportunity to learn web development, design, need finding, and more, all in the context of advancing transdisciplinary public-interest research and building real-world platforms that can be deployed to serve the broader public. For example, in 2019, students have been building a platform for learning web development that enables anyone to learn through small “micro-roles” while supporting non-profits.

The Tech4Good Lab plans to significantly expand the undergraduate student opportunities provided in the Collaboratory - to grow from serving 40 students each quarter to serving 80 students in Spring 2021. To do this, Professor Lee and his team aim to institute a leadership program within the Collaboratory called the Tech4Good Fellows program, which the Lab began exploring last year. Through the Fellows program, these undergraduate students would learn to lead and mentor students through the course of a year and a full-time summer internship. They would play a critical role in moving the Collaboratory from being primarily run by faculty and graduate students to being co-led and run by the undergraduate students themselves. This would in turn, enable the program to impact many more students.

Reaching 80 students will be a critical milestone demonstrating the impact of the Fellow program’s novel approach. Ultimately, it will help the Lab team to raise additional funds for further growth and to elevate the reputation of UCSC as an institution committed to spurring innovation in public interest technology. 


Size: In Spring 2019, the Collaboratory provided opportunities for 20 undergraduate students. The Lab now has over 40 students and intends to double to 80 students by Spring 2021. 

Opportunity: The Collaboratory provides opportunities that create critical career entry points going beyond those of traditional 'work-study' programs or student internships. Many of the students are freshmen and sophomores that have never before had an internship. A diverse range of majors are represented, including engineering, psychology, biology, art, and english. The Collaboratory is also committed to gender diversity; more than 60% of the students are women. Through the Collaboratory, this diverse, interdisciplinary group of students engage with users, design interfaces and build apps, as opposed to the menial tasks that commonly characterize undergraduate positions. As a result of their participation, students gain the first-hand experience and training required for future success. 

Output: An important metric is the volume and quality of the research the Collaboratory generates and the platforms it produces. Since the program is still new, there is currently limited data, but the Collaboratory is committed to growing and tracking this going forward. Last year, Professor Lee published a paper on scaling apprenticeship learning that was coauthored solely with the undergraduate students in the Collaboratory (no graduate students) and that won an award at the top Human Computer Interaction (HCI) conference. This paper also involved the development of a web platform (currently being refined before being deployed to the public) and resulted in an invitation to the White House. This demonstrates the high quality of work that the undergraduate students in the Collaboratory are being trained to do. The team is currently working on 5 research papers and several platforms. 

Amount funded: $22,979

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

The Tech4Good Lab, directed by David Lee, Assistant Professor of Computational Media



All-IN: Co-Creating Knowledge for Justice Conference 

Submitted by Chris Benner, Professor and Director for the Institute for Social Transformation

Sponsored by James Gunderson

Approved March 3, 2020


The University of California Santa Cruz and the Urban Research Based Action Network (URBAN) are co-presenting the conference ALL-IN: Co-Producing Knowledge for Justice to be held on a future date to be determined, in Santa Cruz, California. The two-and-a-half-day conference will bring together approximately 150 participants, including university-based scholars, community leaders and organizations, graduate and undergraduate students, and foundation representatives to share knowledge and best practices and collectively explore critical issues to improve the rigor and impact of community engaged research going forward.  The conference will be hosted by the UC Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation, building on UCSC’s campus-wide leadership in community engaged research, including particular efforts that involve undergraduates in the research process alongside graduate students and professors. The conference is co-presented by URBAN, a leading nation-wide network of more than 1500 scholars, activists, and educators committed to strengthening relationships among academics and community-based practitioners and to increasing scholarly recognition and institutional support of community engaged research. This conference is an opportunity to highlight our partnerships and work with local non-profit partners of UCSC in front of a national and international audience.  We have already received 95 proposals, including five from the United Kingdom, and one each from the Philippines, Italy, France, and Canada. We are seeking UC Santa Cruz Board Opportunity funding to support conference attendance by 100 UCSC students (one day registration at $35 each) and 20 UCSC faculty and lecturers (20 at $235 each). We are also requesting funds to pay for campus costs such as payments to UCSC student performance groups, transportation services costs, additional janitorial services, directional signs, furniture and poster board rentals, media services, and Conference Services registration system costs.


The conference will highlight ways that community-engaged research moves the needle on actionable research, sharing the ways that these generative relationships support real-time and long-term sustainable change in communities.  This conference aims to explore and assess cases and experiences in which students are directly involved as collaborators and knowledge producers in community-driven research for justice.  Through a deep dive into the research and practice of these efforts, we aim to understand the dynamic links between student-community engagement, hands-on research, and campus-community partnerships. In so doing, we hope to document and elevate the multiple assets and skills diverse students bring to these knowledge-production enterprises, as well as how participating in community engaged action research shapes outcomes for students, particularly first generation, low-income and/or students of color.  In addition to the academic outcomes, the institute is hosting this conference as a strategic effort to elevate the reputation of UC Santa Cruz among major foundation funders of community-engaged research. We are also using this opportunity to collaborate and engage with the Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship committee. Together we will host a conference session on the path for students who engage in research with community organizations to careers in public service. Finally, we are also using the conference as a way of strengthening our relationships with other research centers throughout California, in the UC system and beyond.

Amount funded: $21,600 

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

UCSC organizers include Professors Steve McKay, Rebecca London, Flora Lu, Heather Bullock, Ron Glass and Cynthia Lewis and Special Asst to the Dean of Engineering Abigail Kaun, building on the work of the 47-member Community Engagement Collaborative described above.  The conference is co-presented by The Urban Research Based Action Network (URBAN) a leading nation-wide network of more than 1500 scholars, activists, and educators committed to strengthening relationships among academics and community-based practitioners and to increasing scholarly recognition and institutional support of community engaged research. 



A New Granting-Funding Model for the BOF in partnership with the Senate CDF

Submitted by Susan Gillman, Chair of the Senate Committee on Development and Fundraising and Distinguished Professor of Literature 

Sponsored by Loren Steck

Approved June 6, 2020


The Senate Committee on Development and Fundraising (CDF), a committee charged with working with University Relations (UR) to promote faculty engagement in campus fundraising and development. We are comprised of faculty members from all academic divisions, along with the Council of Provosts and the Vice Chancellor of University Relations (as sits with).

We have joined forces with UR and the Office of Research (OR), groups dedicated to the UCSC fundraising enterprise, to launch what we hope will be a fruitful new partnership. Our aim is to enhance research funding, targeted to promising, interdisciplinary projects that are consistent with the goals of the Foundation Board. This partnership would allow us to think creatively about innovative, small-scale seed-funding, while increasing the visibility of the Foundation on campus and in outreach to faculty. We are all committed to the same cause, as articulated in the terms of the Board Opportunity Fund (BOF) application: to further fundraising success and/or to strategically raise awareness and visibility for UC Santa Cruz.

We turn to the BOF because of its history of seeking out promising ideas that, if seeded, have a good chance to blossom into impactful new initiatives. These are faculty-led research initiatives that offer potential undergraduate and graduate student research experience as well as mentorship. The BOF’s early support for the Genome Project is a good example. Knowing that the BOF has traditionally reviewed and funded projects on an individual basis, we propose a different funding model in which the BOF would be the source and CDF the reviewer-grantor. This would enable the BOF to fulfill its goal—to give back to the campus a portion of its funds and to identify the highest and best possible use for them—while relieving trustees of some of the vetting responsibility regarding those projects for which they may feel underequipped.

We would like to propose the following experimental one-year pilot: for the 2020-21 academic year, the BOF would reserve a total of $36,000 to be dispersed in amounts up to $12,000 for three to four projects, with CDF functioning as a faculty vetting-review committee. Each proposal would be forwarded with the traditional sponsorship of a trustee.


Benefits to the campus:

  1. Rather than addressing one-time needs of a single project, a pipeline of projects would be created, in varying stages of development before being eligible for large-scale government or foundation grants. UR would provide the logistical support to train faculty in making effective presentations and identifying potential audiences, public and private. The aim would be to nurture these nascent ideas, coordinate and help them move forward.
  2. A cooperative ecosystem of campus funding possibilities would be developed in order to move forward projects from across campus divisions and disciplines in an efficient, coordinated fashion.

Benefits to the BOF: 

  1. Through our three-way Senate-administration partnership with the BOF, we would identify ideas from across campus that as a group we think could lead to something bigger, including new research centers or institutes as promising interdisciplinary incubators with the potential for both undergraduate and graduate student research experience. This would substantially extend the BOF’s reach to a new pool of ideas across campus.
  2. CDF’s assumption of evaluative responsibility for faculty research proposals that come through CDF would free the BOF Committee to focus on areas of funding need that may be less dependent on prior research knowledge for effective evaluation. (This proposal does not preclude faculty from applying directly to the BOF as they have done in the past.)

 Continuation of Trustee Involvement:

  1. We propose to continue the tradition of trustee sponsorship of individual projects. Retaining the sponsorship requirement would be the best mechanism to continue trustee involvement and engagement in the process. As a one-time pilot project, this experiment allows us to assess our success in fulfilling the intended spirit of the BOF, and to revise as needed.
  2. Evaluation of the projects would include the BOF-required final written report with an expense summary, showing how the grant was used. CDF would make an independent assessment of their readiness for next stages of fund-raising, including grants (agency and foundations) and donors (alumni, industry partners and individuals). 
  3. Funded projects would be showcased as part of the reporting follow-up. Our plans for promoting, publicizing, and disseminating them are multi-pronged, and BOF involvement would be highlighted. All grantees would make short presentations for the campus at large, including Foundation members, to give an overview of emerging faculty research, perhaps timed for Alumni Weekend or even a new “UCSC Research with Impact” Day. We see this as critical spade work to support the ideation process that will help surface the next batch of initiatives for the upcoming campaign.

Amount funded: $36,000 



Genomics in the Spotlight

Submitted by Executive Director of the Genomics Institute, Isabel Bjork and Scientific Director of the Genomics Institute, David Haussler 

Sponsored by Ken Doctor

Approved June 6, 2020


Genomics Science in the Spotlight: a series of genomics science learning experiences:

To ensure the survival not only of our research but the campus and community, it is critical that innovative, discovery driven research continue. We must raise awareness of our continued excellent work, and that we raise money to ensure ongoing strength that impacts change. We understand the need to be flexible to the circumstances that we currently face, and we also recognize the increasing power of online media fora, including videos that represent the work and talks that are accessible to a larger group. We seek to maximize outreach that fits the conditions in which we find ourselves as a society, and to use this time of limited physical gatherings to design a professional outreach program that educates the community and potential donors about the work that we do and stimulates monetary commitments that will provide support for graduate students and researchers. 

We propose replacing in-person monthly events and biannual conferences with a targeted outreach program that offers a combination of video pieces that describe how genomics research is making real impacts in different areas of life and talks that are streamed to large audiences. Consistent with our proposal, we would include targeted follow up with individual participants as part of this plan, with a core goal to stimulate more research through fundraising, and with a particular eye to support for new, innovative research initiatives that require piloting in order to ready those projects for research grant submissions. Our goal is to stimulate research growth, interest, engagement in and funding for genomics science at UC Santa Cruz.


Our goal is to create professional videos that explain each of the core projects that we have in ways that draw in the public, spread the message of our work, and invite contribution to keep this work going. In redirecting this work to focus on online media, we would like to reduce our ask to $15K, and the Genomics Institute will match this contribution. 

Amount funded: $15,000

Key UCSC faculty and staff:

The Genomics Institute affiliated faculty bring strength to the Genomics Institute thanks to their expertise in a variety of areas relating to genomics. These include biomolecular engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, chemistry, biology, sociology and anthropology. The current list of affiliated faculty includes: David Haussler, Josh Stuart, Benedict Paten, Mark Akeson, Helger Schmidt, Jeremy Sanford, Beth Shapiro, Nader Pourmand, Ed Green, Darrell Long, Chris Vollmers, Mircea Teodorescu, Lars Fehren-Schmitz, Angela Brooks, Susan Carpenter, Daniel Kim, Todd Lowe, Terrie Williams, Giacomo Bernardi, Russ Corbett-Detig, Kathleen Kay, Grant Pogson and Olena Vaske.