When our work “with campus” is mentioned, most people think about our strong partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. Our relationship with UC Berkeley is extensive and deep, benefiting greatly from the campus’’s geographic proximity to the Lab and its role in the Lab’s founding and research over our 90 year history. It’s a lesser-known fact that the Lab has also built strong collaborations with many other UC campuses through the years, including UC Davis, UCSF, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC San Diego, and UC Merced.
All of these partnerships with these universities continue to be strategically important to the Lab. Today, there are 246 joint faculty appointments at the Lab; 83% are with UC Berkeley, with the rest represented by the other UC campuses (among these, UC Davis and UCLA have the most joint appointments).
These partnerships have not just happened; the Lab has nurtured them over the years. For example, the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has a partnership model that includes five UCs, including UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, and UC Davis, with which it has had a long-standing partnership on plant research that has been critical to JBEI’s success.
To encourage further collaboration, in 2012, UC Davis and Berkeley Lab signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Joint Faculty Appointments, aiming to support large-scale collaborative research efforts, facilitate access to unique and specialized facilities, and support faculty members to lead laboratory initiatives, and involve more students in Lab research.
The effort has paid off in many ways. The Lab started a partnership with UC Davis and UCSF in 2014 to catalyze and fund novel, bold, and potentially transformative collaborative microbiome research projects. A unique aspect of this Tri-institutional Partnership in Microbiome Research is its data-driven focus and data infrastructure, brought through the participation of the Berkeley Lab-led National Microbiome Data Collaborative. The Energy Technologies Area’s Building Technology and Urban Systems Division has had many research collaborations with UC Davis, including on smart energy analytics, cool wall retrofits, hybrid HVAC, adaptive outside lighting, and reducing electrical loads in vacant buildings, among others.
The Lab and UC Davis leadership continue to actively support this collaboration today, holding several virtual meetings discussing common interests in all research areas of the Lab, ways to support researchers, and methods to encourage partnership opportunities. These meetings have been well-attended by Director Mike Witherell, Deputy Director for Research Horst Simon, Senior Advisor Bill Johansen, and Associate Lab Directors, as well as Deans representing many scientific disciplines, Vice Chancellor of Research Prasant Mohapatra, Associate Vice Chancellor Paul Dodd, Strategic Initiatives Manager Ana Lucia Cordova, and Executive Analyst Whitney Cheung from UC Davis.
“These partnerships are a win-win for the Lab and for the academic institutions,” said Bill Johansen. “They allow everyone to leverage the others’ talent and facilities, and facilitate research that may otherwise be difficult to pursue.”
For more information about UC partnership efforts, contact Bill Johansen.