UC Irvine has become one of 10 UC campuses to be awarded a $1 million grant from the University of California Office of Research and Innovation for the university’s efforts to address climate-focused research and innovation. 

In addition to UCI’s extensive climate research, the Irvine-based campus was also recognized for spearheading a new climate initiative called RADiCal — the Resilience and Adaptation Development in California — a climate innovation hub that will seek to apply climate-focused research to find solutions for real world dilemmas.

RADiCAL will incorporate a three-pronged approach to innovating climate research that include multi-industry collaborative workshops designed to exchange knowledge on climate action and share market intelligence. 

The second RADiCAL approach will facilitate funding for climate solutions projects by utilizing the UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Proof of Product grant program, which has funded more than $4 million in research projects since 2015.  

RADiCAL’s third approach will focus on business incubation by way of the Orange County Climate Action Business Incubator. The incubator is a partnership between RevHub, Sustain SoCal, Impact Hub and UCI Beall Applied Innovation, with a primary focus on business, “with an emphasis in climate action and health equity.” 

Pramod Khargonekar, Vice Chancellor for Research and RADiCal principal investigator, expressed optimism and eagerness to involve experts from all facets of academia into a new era of climate research at UC Irvine. 

“UCI researchers from a variety of disciplines in physical sciences, engineering, biological sciences, public health, social sciences, humanities, arts, law, and business have been leaders in climate and environmental research for more than half a century,” Khargonekar said. “The time has come to greatly accelerate our efforts at converting the research and knowledge of our experts into practical solutions that are urgently needed to help address climate resilience and adaptation problems in California.”

The generous grant is part of the state’s $15 million first phase funding associated with the  $100 million University of California Climate Action Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards. 

Speaking on the impact RADiCAL will bring to the region, Errol Arkilic, UCI’s Chief Innovation Officer, said he is anticipating a vast, long lasting impact that will help generate new research and real world applications for climate research.   

“A climate action translation hub to accelerate the commercialization of research ideas rapidly and effectively is needed to leverage our region’s vast capacity and capability toward products and services which will help California and the world effectively address our most pressing climate-related issues, which is what the RADiCal initiative will accomplish,” Arkilic said.

In addition to UC Irvine’s latest $1 million grant for its effort to address climate focused research, three UC Irvine professors were awarded more than $8 million in climate action grants in August.  

“I am very pleased that UCI faculty will be leading three exciting projects under the California Climate Action seed and matching grants program,” Khargonekar said. “These collaborative projects hold great potential to help California communities respond to, adapt to and minimize the negative impacts of climate change.”

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