Beverly Hills billionaires give UC Davis $50 million to build agricultural research hub
Beverly Hills billionaires have given $50 million to expand their universities’ food-production research centers.
The University of California, Davis, has been awarded $50 million in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the California Community Foundation in a partnership between the schools.
The $50 million gives the university about $50,000 per student in a two-year period, said Mark A. Wilson, a UC Davis professor of plant and soil sciences.
In the same meeting as the funding announcement, UC Davis Director of Research Brian Macdonald told the college community he will focus on improving food production and agricultural science education in the coming year.
“We are in the midst of a dramatic food production revolution,” he said Tuesday. “We need to leverage this tremendous opportunity to help California become the global leader in agriculture.”
This isn’t the first time private philanthropy has been tapped to fund research at UC Davis.
In 2011, the university received a $6 million gift from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The money helped buy an experimental field, which is located on the campus of the Oak Knoll Experimental Farm in the eastern Sierra Nevada.
The university is preparing to move the field east on to its current campus.
Last year, the university received $22 million in private funds to expand its Center for Urban Horticulture.
As the school receives the grants, it also gets $1 million to expand its research laboratory, said Wilson, who will run that lab with funding from the Gates Foundation and the California Community Foundation.
“These projects are really fundamental to the advancement of our agricultural science and its ability to meet the challenges of feeding growing populations,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. “Research here will ensure the UC Davis legacy of excellence in food and agriculture stays the best in the nation for years to come.”
The UC Davis research center will now get