The UCI School of Physical Sciences delivers scientific breakthroughs that reshape our understanding of the physical world and provide solutions to the most profound problems of our age. The school achieves this by asking hard questions; setting inspiring, visionary goals; and driving interdisciplinary research to chart new territory. With flagship projects in the environment, health and the universe, we are advancing humanity through a deeper understanding of the physical science that governs the world. The school seeks a historic philanthropic commitment — a school naming gift. Funding of this magnitude will empower the school to elevate its strong academics and research to elite levels of excellence. The funding priorities below encapsulate the aggregate naming gift and the strategic priorities for the school.
The departments of Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, and Earth System Science will revamp both the undergraduate and graduate curriculum to better incorporate student participation into faculty research and provide superior education that will equip graduates to succeed in modern science. Changing the way we teach our students would benefit from an injection of capital through endowed scholarships and fellowships in each department to further energize our student base in addition to hiring more faculty to teach our classes.
Your gift will allow Physical Sciences to lead the march into future scientific inquiry in functional, interactive, and interdisciplinary spaces where students and faculty collaborate. Augmenting current space and expanding out of our current physical capacity is necessary for the enhanced educational experience of our students and required by our researchers. A new Mathematics and Computations Building would alleviate overcrowding in certain buildings, but would also allow for new interactive spaces for our students and faculty to come together. Making current spaces more client and user friendly is also high on our list of priorities, some of which we are already undertaking in recent renovation projects.
Developing partnerships with a variety of key organizations would add immediate and lasting value to our students and faculty. Partnerships would likely exist in two different paradigms — one geared toward better preparing our students to enter the marketplace by building direct paths to industry through internships; and the other would be geared toward serving community needs through research and science (and math) advocacy, and supporting the expansion of internship opportunities, solutions driven centers, and public events and programs.
The School of Physical Sciences has made great strides to move faculty research out of the lab and into the marketplace. In addition to basic science and mathematics studies, Physical Sciences produces applied science and mathematics advances which fuel new company formation and large industry projects. Our faculty and students have formed numerous new companies and many of our graduates are employed in a range of entrepreneurial activities. Well over half of our alumni work in industry with careers applying their science and math education to current cutting-edge problems. Gifts would allow faculty to apply for project funding designed to encourage continued growth in lab-to-market products.
Our flagship projects grew out of collaborations between faculty members from different disciplines. With discretionary endowed funds in each flagship project, Physical Sciences will invest in faculty research in an entirely new way. Those whose work falls into one of the projects can seek additional funds from the respective endowment. Such directed funding also opens possibilities for interdisciplinary endowed chairs and graduate student fellowships. For example, an endowed chair in “Transformative Science and Health” could be used to recruit faculty that would add significant value to one of our flagships, but not be limited to a singular academic discipline.