Winter 2020 Update

Happy New Year! Throughout UCLA’s Centennial Celebration, we have been fortunate to share 100 years of achievements with alumni and friends in Los Angeles and around the world. We are also laying the groundwork for all that’s to come in the next 100 years — things that we hope Bruins at our bicentennial will look back on as major accomplishments that improved society. Read on about ways we will continue this legacy of achievement and discovery into UCLA’s second century.

In this issue

01. Advancing Timely and Vital Scholarship

02. Record-breaking Year for Research Awards

03. School Spotlight: UCLA Nursing

Advancing Timely and Vital Scholarship

I have always been excited and inspired by UCLA’s ability to channel resources, research and analysis into vital subjects that matter. Our campus demonstrated that recently with the creation of two new institutes: One to advance scholarship on Armenia and its diaspora and the other to support world-class research on kindness — something our world clearly needs more of today.

The Bedari Kindness Institute, established with a gift from philanthropists Jennifer and Matthew C. Harris, will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding this fundamental human need. UCLA anthropologists are examining how kindness spreads from person to person and group to group. Sociologists are analyzing how unkind people might be encouraged to engage in kind acts. And psychologists on campus are researching how kindness can improve our mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

Housed in the division of Social Sciences, the institute will create opportunities to translate research into real-world practices, and serve as a global platform to educate and communicate its findings. It will enhance UCLA’s ability to empower citizens and inspire leaders to build more humane societies.

The Promise Armenian Institute, as part of the UCLA International Institute, will build upon our 50-year history of Armenian studies at UCLA and was created with a gift from the estate of philanthropist and entrepreneur Kirk Kerkorian. This new venture will have two pillars: The Center for Armenian Studies and the Public Impact Program. The institute will focus on the study of Armenian history, culture and language as well as coordinate new and ongoing projects in archaeology, business, law, medicine and more to engage Armenian communities in Los Angeles, Armenia and across the globe.

The institute will coordinate existing projects like our Armenian Genome Project, which studies genetics and familial diseases, and our collaboration with the Armenian Health Ministry on the country’s public health. Nurturing our relationships with the Armenian population in Los Angeles and beyond, the institute is well positioned to become a model for UCLA’s engagement with our global and local communities.

Record-breaking Year for Research Awards

In the last fiscal year, UCLA was awarded a record $1.27 billion in grants and contracts for research, up from $1.12 billion the previous year and far exceeding any other year in our history. As we begin our second century, these awards are testament to the outstanding work by UCLA’s exceptional faculty and researchers, who are driving innovative projects from the arts to medicine.

Part of our record-breaking year included two large grants from the National Institutes of the Health to fund AIDS clinical trials and the U.S. Department of Energy to support the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The federal government supplies nearly 60 percent of UCLA’s research funding, with the rest from state and other governments, nonprofits and charities, industry and subcontracts.

Campuswide, faculty requested more than $4 billion in funding last year through nearly 6,000 proposals, indicative of the exciting ideas percolating across UCLA. To support their research, our dedicated staff provide critical assistance, reviewing and submitting proposals and managing funds.

We also want research to translate into real-world applications that improve society. Concerted efforts to foster entrepreneurship across campus are paying off: Just a couple years ago, a Milken Institute report found that UCLA was the top university for startups created as a result of campus research, surpassing MIT, Caltech and Stanford. The groundbreaking research accomplishments that characterized our first century — from discovering cancer treatments to sending the first message over what would become the Internet — leave me excited to see how we will advance knowledge and discover breakthroughs in our second century.

School Spotlight: UCLA Nursing

With 2020 declared the Year of the Nurse by the World Health Organization, this is an important moment to recognize the world’s largest group of health care professionals as well as the outstanding contributions of UCLA’s School of Nursing, which routinely ranks among the top nursing schools in the country.

Since 1949, the school has helped transform the nursing profession and its programs have produced clinical nurses, educators, scholars and leaders. Utilizing state-of-the-art simulation, research and clinical experiences such as a dedicated education unit with UCLA Health, our school ensures students keep pace with changes in health care by fostering an atmosphere of teamwork and interprofessional learning. Demand for the school’s undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral programs is high as the need for nursing professionals continues to grow.

At the core of the school’s mission is research that is addressing a range of vital issues, including the stigma of depression, heart health risks from smoking or vaping, the opioid crisis, developmental disabilities, and memory loss and brain changes in adolescents born with congenital heart disease.

Dean Linda Sarna shares my commitment to service and consistently demonstrates this through a variety of programs, including through the Caring for the Underserved program, which allows family nurse practitioner students to work in the community.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for nursing — my mother was a nurse and I know the difference she made in many people’s lives. This makes me that much prouder of the extraordinary leadership, academic excellence, innovative research, strong community partnerships and global initiatives established in nursing here at UCLA. Seventy years on, we are inspired by the school’s accomplishments and excited for all that the next generation of nurses can achieve.