Multidisciplinary Research Building at UCR

Research Facilities & Initiatives


SoCal OASIS™ is the Opportunity to Advance Sustainability, Innovation, and Social Inclusion, a public-private partnership led by the University of California Riverside (UCR) to drive regional economic development through solutions-driven applied research, innovation, entrepreneurship, and workforce development around sustainability, clean technology, and social inclusion.

SoCal OASIS™ has garnered the support of many local and regional partners, who recognize the transformative economic potential of this initiative, and has been awarded more than $65 million in federal and state funding to identify and secure a site for the establishment of the SoCal OASIS™ Park, which comprises the first phase of implementation of a regional innovation hub. 

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Campus Interdisciplinary Research Center (CIRC)

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Liz Watkins and Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development (VCRED) Rodolfo Torres are pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the selection of the inaugural Campus Interdisciplinary Research Center, or CIRC. After a thorough review process, the Riverside Artificial Intelligence ReSEarch (RAISE) Institute has been selected.

Sixteen outstanding proposals were submitted, each showcasing the exceptional talent and innovative thinking present among our faculty. These proposals were closely reviewed by a committee comprising all academic deans, the chair of the Senate Committee on Research, the Provost, and VCRED. The quality and diversity of the proposals made the selection process highly competitive.

In the end, the RAISE Institute was chosen because it most closely addressed all aspects of the solicitation, demonstrating a clear vision for how it will lead Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and applications, contributing to societal progress in an ethical manner. The selected center will commence operations this summer, with the start of the new fiscal year.

Read the full announcement ››

Interdisciplinary Proposals Submitted to the CIRC Competition

  • Center for Advanced Bio-Imaging

    PI: Bahman Anvari, professor of bioengineering

    This proposal is submitted towards establishment of a Center for Advanced Bio-Imaging (CABI) at UCR that will synergistically integrate the research activities of faculty from Bourns of College of Engineering (BCOE), College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS), and School of Medicine (SOM) Division of Biomedical Sciences. The mission of CABI is to advance the frontiers of bio-imaging by developing and utilizing imaging technologies that address biological and biomedical challenges crucial to human health through interdisciplinary collaborations, leading to the development of innovative diagnostic, monitoring and therapeutic methods that meet societal needs. To achieve this mission, the technologies will provide multiscale imaging depth from nanometers to centimeters at relevant spatial and temporal resolutions, and coupled with advanced quantitative image analysis tools, will be used towards specific applications. Four research thrust areas will be integrated within CABI: (1) Molecular, organelle, cellular, and tissue imaging; (2) Imaging of neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders; (3) Imaging microbial systems; and (4) Imaging instrumentation development and analysis tools. Of particular interest to CABI will be commercialization, entrepreneurship, and translational activities of the technologies; community outreach; and research opportunities made available to individuals at various educational levels. CABI will take the steps to plan, coordinate, and submit large-scale grant(s) to appropriate federal agency programs to ensure sustainability.

  • Center for Transforming STEM Teaching and Learning (CTSTL)

    PI: Catherine Lussier

    The proposed Center for Transforming STEM Teaching and Learning’s (CTSTL) mission is to facilitate equitable STEM teaching and learning by advancing research on three pillars foundational to improving STEM outcomes: Cognition, Affect, and Pedagogy. CTSTL will capitalize on existing and historically successful interdisciplinary collaborations between faculty in the School of Education, the College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences, and the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to conduct multifaceted basic and applied research. Through this research, CTSTL seeks to directly address the ongoing problem of creating a diverse pipeline of STEM professionals for the 21st century. The CTSTL’s work will assist educators and students alike to achieve success in the rapidly evolving landscape of STEM education. As part of fulfilling this mission, our team of interdisciplinary faculty will combine deep knowledge of discipline-specific STEM content with knowledge about equitable teaching and learning to conduct research that advances our understanding of the 1) Cognitive and 2) Affective processes that underlie STEM learning and reasoning, and identify the 3) Pedagogy that can facilitate and bolster equitable STEM student understanding. To further this line of work, our center will produce 1) service workshops and interventions to promote better STEM teaching and learning across K-20 by leveraging the evidence-based practices that promote engaging and inclusive learning experiences. And, 2) seek grants to further investigate the impact that this knowledge and service will have on 21st century STEM education while also addressing discipline-specific learning challenges. 

  • Inland Empire Center for Carbon and Climate

    PI: Sandra Kirtland Turner

    Carbon pollution of the atmosphere and oceans has created an existential threat to humanity that generates geographically distinct challenges. In the Inland Empire, environmental hazards directly caused or exacerbated by carbon pollution interact with rapid population growth and urbanization in a biodiversity hotspot. Carbon-driven climate change threatens increased heat waves, floods and droughts, wildfires, and ecosystem changes, and carbon emissions contribute to the worst air quality in the nation. At the same time, technologies and practices to mitigate carbon emissions and adapt to climate change present novel economic and social development opportunities through the emergence of a new carbon economy. The Inland Empire Center for Carbon and Climate (IE3C) will connect researchers from across the campus with stakeholders throughout our region to catalyze research in 4 key areas: climate impacts of carbon, carbon pollutants, carbon in ecosystems, and carbon sequestration. Through insight gained in the Inland Empire, IE3C will position UCR as a global leader in the generation of knowledge and strategies to address the carbon-climate crisis in regions sharing similar socioeconomic and biogeographic characteristics across the globe.

  • Mental Health and Neurodevelopment (MHAND) Research Center

    PI: Khaleel Abdulrazak, professor of psychology


    There is considerable research and funding strength at UCR in areas of brain and behavioral development and related neurodevelopmental disorders. This strength has mostly manifested as single investigators or small groups of investigators within related disciplines obtaining NIH-R01 type grants. The Campus Interdisciplinary Research Center (CIRC) investment by UCR now provides an unprecedented opportunity to build on existing strengths and to leapfrog brain development research at UCR into a multidisciplinary, clinically and societally impactful program. The proposed Mental Health and Neurodevelopment Research Center (MHAND Research Center) will provide the structure and seed funding necessary to grow existing collaborations and establish ambitious, interdisciplinary and transformative teams of 26 UCR researchers across 5 different colleges/schools to enable successful submission of large center/program/translational type grants. The MHAND Research Center will integrate technological and computational innovation with animal and human research to understand both normal brain development and to develop pathways to treat, support and improve quality of life of patients with neurodevelopmental disorders, a source of mental health illnesses across the human lifespan. We have identified the NIH BRAIN Initiative and USARMY/DOD large grant programs to begin submitting proposals that are driven by our mission to serve as the premier research and resource hub for brain development and mental health in California. There is a huge unmet need for advancing knowledge and outreach regarding normal brain development and the multitude of disorders of neurodevelopment including, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), ADHD, epilepsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, intellectual disability and sensory impairments that impact the diverse people of Inland Empire as well as California and the nation. In alignment with UCR’s Strategic Plan 2030, the MHAND Research Center envisions to increase extramural funding, serving as an exemplar for UCR’s prominence across California and the US, increase graduate student and post-doctoral success through training grants, promote faculty leadership in cutting edge cross-disciplinary team science, increase undergraduate research training opportunities, advance societally impactful research and enhance philanthropic efforts. The MHAND Research Center is poised to be a ‘one-of-its kind’ research and training center in the nation that will lead UCR in interdisciplinary research, scholarly work, training and increase UCR’s international profile in brain and behavior research. 

  • Multifunctional Magnetic Materials Research Center

    PI: Jing Shi, Distinguished Professor

    The proposed M3RC aims to accelerate scientific breakthroughs by fostering campus-wide collaboration in magnetic materials and devices among researchers across different disciplines. Our core mission is to discover and develop novel magnetic materials and devices with tailored functionalities for applications such as next-generation ultrafast memory-in-computing, magnetic neural network for artificial intelligence, terahertz electronics for sensing and imaging, and rare-earthfree permanent magnets for clean energy solutions. 

  • The Creation of UC Riverside Interdisciplinary RNA Research Center as the first RED-sponsored Campus Interdisciplinary Research Center

    PI: Sika Zheng, professor of biomedical sciences

    This proposal outlines the establishment of the UC Riverside Interdisciplinary RNA Research Center (RNA Center) to become a pivotal UCR innovation hub and a flagship Campus Interdisciplinary Research Center (CIRC). RNA stands at the forefront of modern science and medicine, wielding profound influence across diverse fields such as fundamental biology, biotechnology, agriculture, nanotechnology, environmental sciences, epidemiology, and therapeutics.

    Building upon the notable achievements and growing recognition of our existing RNA Center, which stands as the sole RNA research center in Southern California, the transition to a CIRC marks an exciting opportunity to amplify UCR's presence and impact across myriad disciplines. Rooted in our established strengths and following the successes of its predecessor, the new RNA CIRC is dedicated to advancing scientific knowledge, pushing the boundaries of interdisciplinary research, nurturing a diverse cohort of future researchers, and leaving a lasting imprint on various domains, from pioneering RNA investigations to applying RNA technologies in diverse disciplines.

    We propose five key strategies for a sustainable path to success and broad impact for the RNA CIRC. Critical to the RNA CIRC's mission are initiatives aimed at elevating research visibility and impact, including center-sponsored symposia and mentorship programs. Complementing these efforts are strategic measures, such as grant workshops, pilot funding, and incentive mechanisms, designed to bolster extramural research funding. Additionally, we will forge connections with national and global RNA research networks through seminar series and collaborative partnerships with sister centers and institutes.

    These initiatives will be supported by a dedicated administrative team and an external advisory board, ensuring the sustained growth and success of the RNA CIRC. Through these comprehensive strategic initiatives aimed at advancing RNA science and fostering collaborative research across multiple disciplines in four UCR colleges, the RNA CIRC will serve as a catalyst and the preeminent innovation hub for interdisciplinary research at UCR, magnifying the university’s visibility and influence on a national and international stage. 

  • The University of California Riverside Center for Integrative Systems Biology (UC RISeBio)

    PI: Karine Le Roch

    We propose the establishment of a center to explore the complexity of life on earth utilizing an integrated systems approach. The University of California Riverside Center for Integrative Systems Biology (UC RISeBio) will build on existing strengths at UCR to provide solutions to problems arising in biotechnological, biomedical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural spheres. The Center will be discovery-based and Big Data-driven to understand life as a whole and combat problems and diseases that threaten the health and well-being of our society and our planet. The UC RISeBio will build on the long history of research at UCR in the interaction between organisms and their environment, advancing and scaling discoveries with emergent systems biology approaches, incorporating high content imaging, genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolomic, microbiome, engineering, synthetic as well as machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

    UC RISeBio will leverage a highly interconnected network of centers and faculty at UCR across the life and physical sciences, and medical and engineering fields, not only to foster new interdisciplinary projects and collaborations, but also to attract and retain stellar faculty, and train our next generation of scientists from discovery to translational research programs. Together, we will work on understanding complex biological systems, solving problems, and addressing agricultural to health challenges from new perspectives. Over 60 faculty spanning 14+ departments across four colleges have already expressed their interest in UC RISeBio: we anticipate several dozen more will join the effort. The research interests of these faculty align with multiple research themes related to Neuroscience, Aging, Infectious Disease, Microbiome, Stem Cells, RNA Biology, Molecular and Translational Medicine, Plant Biology and Agriculture, High-Performance Computing, Large Data, and AI. In addition to discipline, the participating faculty are balanced by gender, background, and career stage.

    The UC RISeBio will not only support current teams and projects but also serve as a catalyst for new projects on campus by helping to establish interdisciplinary collaborations through training, seminar series and symposia. The Center will offer seed grants to boost collaborations across campus and support the competitive submission of new program project grants, center grants and training grants. A dedicated Steering Committee has been assembled to administer and grow the Center in an inclusive, transparent, and equitable fashion that fosters responsible and ethical conduct of research. It is composed of a director and co-director, both with active research programs and considerable leadership experience, as well as four other faculty with distinguished research careers and leadership experience. A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee will be composed of three UCR faculty with notable personal and professional expertise in DEI STEM issues. The Center will build on UCR’s considerable investment in interdisciplinary graduate programs and multidisciplinary research infrastructure. It will offer a rich scientific environment to help lead the nation, and the world, in tomorrow’s scientific discovery and at the same time train the next generation of scientists in the new frontier of Integrative Systems Biology.

  • UCR Aging

    PI: Ilana Bennett   

    The proposed Campus Interdisciplinary Research Center (CIRC), UCR Aging, will be an interdisciplinary research center focused on the multifaceted effects of aging – from individuals to molecules – in diverse older populations. It represents an extension of the UCR Aging Initiative (, which was established in 2018 and includes more than 25 faculty from Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE); College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS); College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS); and School of Medicine (SOM). Our mission is to develop and implement cutting-edge multi-disciplinary research on aging, educate the next generation of aging researchers and the public, and serve as a resource hub for older adults in the community. To achieve this goal, our immediate plans (1-5 years) will focus on advancing our human research infrastructure and portfolio. We will formalize Administrative (Ilana Bennett, CHASS), Behavioral (Rachel Wu, CHASS), Neuroimaging (Xiaoping Hu, BCOE), Biomarker (Marcus Kaul, SOM), Statistics (Esra Kurum, CNAS), and Outreach (TBD) CIRC “cores” with Directors that will work together to apply for grants to support key infrastructure and shared resources (e.g., centralized recruitment and outreach, participant database, data sharing, fluid biomarkers, collaborative seed funding) as well as specific research programs that address the unique needs of diverse older adults in our region, state, and the nation (e.g., neuroinflammation, ethnic disparities, people living with HIV). The Cores will also create a longitudinal database (R’Aging) to promote large-scale, team-science aging research on campus and serve as a valuable resource for worldwide, open-science studies of aging. Finally, we will immediately work to build partnerships with community members. Our short-term plans (3-7 years) are to expand the CIRC by formalizing an Animal/Tissue/Cell Core (Joshua Morgan, BCOE) to develop and share additional biological resources that will position UCR Aging for cross-disciplinary and translational research. In addition, we will work to leverage our expertise and resources with complementary aging centers across the UC and state. Our long-term plans (5-10 years) are to apply for training grants to develop an education/research pipeline for the next generation of aging researchers through interdisciplinary courses, workshops, and research opportunities; and to serve as a hub for the community by centralizing resources, providing public education, and deepening partnerships with community members.

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