2016 State of the Campus Mobile Navigation Open

Backed by over $1 billion in grants in 2015–16, UCLA researchers continued to break new ground in an astounding range of disciplines

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Yang Yang, professor of materials science and engineering, creates thin, flexible solar cells that could be used on windows to capture energy from the sun.

The scope of UCLA’s research enterprise is among the greatest measures of our campus’s broad excellence.

From the tiniest nanoparticles to the everyday forces that shape our culture, and from our planet’s environment to galaxies beyond our own, UCLA scholars are bringing bold new thinking to how we understand our past and are developing exciting innovations that will shape our future.

Our faculty and students are breaking ground in medicine and the arts, in engineering and the humanities, and in countless other fields. And, increasingly, they are collaborating across traditional boundaries to advance knowledge in ways we previously wouldn’t have thought possible.

The value and promise of their work is consistently reflected in UCLA’s success in attracting research grants. We received 5,554 awards totaling $1.049 billion in 2015–16, marking the fifth time in the past seven years that the campus has surpassed the $1 billion mark.

the president stands in front of a screen with repeated “SelectUSA” logos; the podium sign shows a stylized red, white and blue star and the words “SelectUSA Investment Summit” President Barack Obama announces the launch of the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute.

The impact of UCLA research extends far beyond our campus. For instance, the campus continues to play a leadership role in the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which will be headquartered in downtown Los Angeles. With partners from more than 30 states, the institute will develop advanced manufacturing technology and support a workforce and education pipeline for Los Angeles, California and the nation.

foreground shows young man in blue tee-shirt looking at a large diary or journal; he gestures to man in white lab coat; more lab coats and equipment visible in background head shot of woman with trees and brickwork in background
(Left) Dr. Antoni Ribas and doctoral student Jesse Zaretsky are part of a lab at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center that focuses on tumor immunology. Their recent study sheds light on how advanced melanoma resists treatment. (Right) Assistant Professor Laura Wherry analyzed the results of Medicaid expansion, finding that it increased coverage and health care utilization among low-income adults. (Top) Dr. Antoni Ribas and doctoral student Jesse Zaretsky are part of a lab at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center that focuses on tumor immunology. Their recent study sheds light on how advanced melanoma resists treatment. (Bottom) Assistant Professor Laura Wherry analyzed the results of Medicaid expansion, finding that it increased coverage and health care utilization among low-income adults.

Another example is the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a biomedical research consortium led by UCLA. CTSI researchers are working on a wide range of projects — from an experimental drug to treat iron-overload disorders to better ways to care for people with depression in low-income areas — and it is just one powerful example of our commitment to convert research discoveries into practical applications. The institute was created in 2011 by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, and its excellence was recognized in 2016 by a new grant of $69.6 million.


Technology transfer and entrepreneurship

UCLA is No. 3 nationally among universities for launching startup companies based on faculty research, making the campus one of the leaders in technology transfer. In part, this is due to the expanding efforts of our Technology Development Group. Events sponsored by that office include Pathways to Commercialization, at which faculty share their experience and expertise in creating start-up businesses, and Code for the Mission, a competition for faculty, staff and students who have developed mobile apps that promote UCLA’s mission of education, research and service.

three students in t-shirts stand with man wearing suit and tie As part of Code for the Mission, three students, Adam Garcia, Will Gu and Tanuj Lalwani, worked with Chancellor Block on an app to improve group dynamics.

Among our technology transfer milestones in 2016 was the sale of UCLA’s royalty interest connected with Xtandi, a prostate cancer medication that was developed based on discoveries by campus researchers. Proceeds will fund research, support scholarships and fellowships, and reward the inventors. The transaction was led by UCLA’s Westwood Technology Transfer, a nonprofit launched by the university to optimize the benefits we receive from innovations created here.

Faculty are leading the charge, but the entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to grow among students as well. In June, 10 students became UCLA’s first ever to graduate with a minor in entrepreneurship.


Grand Challenges

UCLA’s Grand Challenge initiatives are among the most prominent and tangible examples of how we are engaging expertise from across our entire campus to solve major societal issues.

man in white t-shirt pulls back white curtain to look at sunny outdoor view; words “hope is real” are printed on back of t-shirt young man and woman stand at entrance to futuristic-looking structure covered with rounded white shapes
(Left) The Depression Grand Challenge aims to understand and cure depressive disorders, offering hope for millions around the world. (Right) A prototype “backyard home” designed by cityLAB-UCLA is a sustainable way to add housing units in Los Angeles. (Top) The Depression Grand Challenge aims to understand and cure depressive disorders, offering hope for millions around the world. (Bottom) A prototype “backyard home” designed by cityLAB-UCLA is a sustainable way to add housing units in Los Angeles.

In October 2015, we launched our second such initiative, an unprecedented multidisciplinary effort to understand, prevent and treat depression, the leading cause of disability worldwide. Our first Grand Challenge, Sustainable LA, was launched in 2013, and unites more than 100 faculty in creating technologies, policies and strategies to make Los Angeles County sustainable by 2050.

Aided by an infrastructure that has continued to evolve to better support innovation and entrepreneurship, UCLA’s faculty, staff and students are making critical contributions to California and the world and building a foundation for even greater research achievements in the future.

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Read other stories

Female African-American student Female African-American student
Admissions: Ensuring that UCLA reflects the communities we serve
Woman in lab coat Woman in lab coat
Reshaping Undergraduate Education: Developing new best practices for teaching
Corner of building showing glass and brick Corner of building showing glass and brick
Transforming Our Campus: Building a better UCLA for our second century
Female student-athlete in blue and black UCLA jersey Female student-athlete in blue and black UCLA jersey
Athletics: Celebrating our 113th NCAA title and continued academic success
Woman with young man in orange t-shirt Woman with young man in orange t-shirt
Service and Advocacy: Improving lives throughout L.A. and beyond
African American girls head African American girls head
Our UCLA Community: Strengthening our campus community, bridging differences
Graphic treatment of words “Let There Be . . .” Graphic treatment of words “Let There Be . . .”
Centennial Campaign and Alumni: Building broad-based support en route to 2019
Women wearing a blue cap and light blue t-shirt Women wearing a blue cap and light blue t-shirt
Our Global Footprint: Fostering understanding and developing new knowledge
Man on balcony Man on balcony
Financial Summary: Successfully and conservatively managing UCLA’s resources