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Research Centers and Institutes

The School of Engineering is paving the way for innovative and impactful research.  Our list of strengths is long and includes research areas covering climate change and ecology; solar and renewable energy; water quality and resources; artificial intelligence; cognitive science; stem-cell, diabetes and cancer research; air quality; big-data analysis; computer science; mechanical, environmental and materials engineering.

The following interdisciplinary research institutes and centers provide the nexus through which faculty members affiliate to conduct in-depth investigations into a variety of societally relevant scientific topics.

University of California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (UC Solar)

UC Solar faculty, students and postdoctoral researchers are dedicated to designing and developing innovative solar energy generation technologies that are more efficient, more affordable, and easier to integrate. UC Solar is made up of participants from the University of California's Merced, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Davis, San Diego, Riverside, Irvine, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles campuses, and it is supported by research grants, philanthropic gifts, and corporate sponsors. 

UC Water Security and Sustainability Research Initiative

The UC WATER Security and Sustainability Research Initiative is focused on strategic research to build the knowledge base for better water resources management. UC Water is developing innovative, quantitative water accounting and analysis methods, and introducing modern information systems into California’s aging infrastructure. Current water policy lacks salient, credible, and legitimate water information forcing policymakers to rely on century-old technology and analysis techniques. 

Center for Information Research in the Interest of Society(CITRIS)

CITRIS at UC Merced adresses Californina's most pressing societal and environmental problems by leveraging cutting-edge technologies and incorporating a convergence of student driven initiatives, seed grants & faculty research, and corporate partnerships. CITRIS develops synergistic partnerships with academic institutions and corporate collaborators worldwide to collectively produce innovative solutions to challenges in four primary sectors: Sustainable Infrastructure, People and Robots, Connected Communities, and Health. 

NSF-CREST Center for Cellular and Bimolecular Machines

The NSF Crest for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines(CCBM) was established with a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation an brings together more than a dozen faculty members from multiple units across campus, including bioengineering, physics, chemistry and chemical biology, materials science and engineering. Researchers are studying how biological matter like proteins or cells come together to perform specific tasks, in hopes of eventually being able to engineer and develop innovations ranging from designer cells and tissue to novel diagnostic and therapeutic devices. 

Merced NAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES)

MACES serves as a nexus for UC Merced nanomaterials-based research and education. It provides researchers at all levels access to expertise and equipment for cutting-edge nanomaterial-based research in a collaborative and multidisciplinary environment. Leveraging our research-oriented training and skills-based learning in which students work closely with faculty members on research projects, MACES is drawing from the talented but untapped youth in the local community and is developing a strong STEM workforce for NASA missions. In partnership with UC Santa Cruz and NASA Laboratories, we are striving to cultivate and develop MACES into a materials research institute known for its excellence  in materials-based research and innovative multidisciplinary education. 

Health Sciences Research Institute at UC Merced

The Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI) was established in May 2012 as the second Organized Research Unit at UC Merced and is the University's focal point for health and medical research. With 100 faculty members across UC Merced's three schools (Engineering, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences, Humanities & Arts), HSRI aims to foster world-renowned researchers through its work to improve the health of the people in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond. HSRI members are also engaged in translational research, evalutation and effectiveness research, and publich health systems and services research. 

Sierra Nevada Research Institute

The Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) was established in 2007 as the first Organized Research Unit (ORU) at UC Merced. Faculty, researchers and students at the Sierra Nevada Research Institute(SNRI) conduct basic and applied research on these issues, using the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada as their "outdoor laboratory". Currently 35 UC Merced faculty are members of SNRI. The Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) at UC Merced discovers and disseminates new knowledge that contributes to sustaining natural resources and promoting social well-being in the Sierra Nevada/Central Valley region, and related regions worldwide.

Spatial Analysis and Research Center (spARC)

SpARC professional and technical staff members provide consulting services to graduate students and faculty members to support grant applications, research and publications. Longer-term-project or grant-based spatial services provided by SpARC include spatial data management, cartography and web mapping. In addition, SpARC can provide consulting services to its community partners and non-UC affiliates for complex spatial analysis projects. SpARC can also manage site licenses, GIS lab exercises and other supporting tutorials for faculty members.

Management of Innovation, Sustainability and Technology (MIST)

The Ernest and Julio Gallo Management Program leverages strengths in engineering, science and social sciences found at UC Merced. Together, this unit serves as a cross-functional hub for interdisciplinary research in management science, partnerships with for-profit and nonprofit enterprises and public organizations, and education programs that address the growing need for mangers who are well-versed in the complex problems associated with coupled human and environmental systems.