CA&ES faculty receive funding for a diverse array of public impact research projects

A group of people celebrating the Teff study at UC Davis.
Research into the world's smallest grain crop, teff, got a boost with a recent grant to help study how best to grow the crop in the Sacramento Valley. This photo was taken at a Teff Field Day with plant breeders from the UC Davis Plant Breeding Center and local partners. Historically, teff production has been limited to Ethiopia, but demand for the grain is growing.

The UC Davis Public Scholarship and Engagement Program has awarded funding to 14 new research projects, including five to faculty in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, that will address diverse issues such as climate change, the welfare of families, and cultivating a new grain crop. 

“We were very pleased with the quality of proposals,” said Vice Provost of Public Scholarship Michael Rios, a professor of urban design in the Department of Human Ecology. “The review committee representing a range of disciplines and fields was unanimous in giving high marks to more applicants than we originally intended to fund.”

Support for the projects is through seed and bridge grants up to $10,000. Funded projects involving CA&ES faculty include:

Collaborative evaluation of the agronomic performance of Sheba Farm’s Teff varieties at UC Davis (Edward Brummer, Department of Plant Sciences)Teff is the world’s smallest grain crop, gluten-free, nutrient-dense and used to make traditional Ethiopian flat bread. While teff production for grain has historically been limited to Ethiopia, there is growing demand for the grain globally. The goal of this project is to learn how best to grow teff in the Sacramento Valley.

Community Data Mapping and Dissemination: A collaboration between Resilient Yolo and the Perinatal Origins of Disparities Center (Jennifer Phipps and Leigh Ann Simmons, Department of Human Ecology)—The Perinatal Origins of Disparities (POD) Center at UC Davis will work with Resilient Yolo (RY), a community organization raising awareness of adverse childhood experiences. The goal is to identify health disparities in the community, recommendations for pregnant and postpartum women, and solutions that maximize academic-public-private partnerships.

Partnership to support California Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (Gail Feenstra, Agricultural Sustainability Institute and UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program) Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKOs) provide a promising path to entrepreneurship for these small businesses, many run by immigrants and members of minority communities. This project will plan community-based research about the challenges and benefits to home cooks, determine needs for training and technical assistance and organize a statewide convening for those involved in California’s MEHKOs.

We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For (Claire Napawan, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design)—This project addresses youth engagement on climate change among activists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Project team members will explore factors motivating youth to engage with collective climate action, disseminate new strategies for engaging youth on climate change, and produce audio and visual materials from oral histories in a public showcase.  

Collaborative Rural Community Development Impact Assessment for Global Learning Programs (Nancy Erbstein, School of Education and Jonathan London, Department of Human Ecology)—This project will design and pilot an instrument for assessing the impact of a community-engaged global learning program called Nepal: Community, Technology and Sustainability. This program links cohorts of UC Davis and Nepalese university students with community partners in Machhapuchhre, Nepal. Results will be shared broadly with those involved in community-engaged global learning programs.

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