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Banking on Science to Support UC San Diego’s Newest Researchers

Top higher ed pub features UC San Diego case study

Currents Cover Jan 2014

Click on image to read article.

Our newest researchers are looking for breakthroughs—in science and fundraising—and UC San Diego is here to help with its innovative Young Investigator Program. This successful program, which connects faculty at the start of their academic careers with sources of private funding, is the cover story in the January 2014 issue of CASE Currents, the official publication of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Banking on Science” is a case study offering guidance for higher education institutions looking at ways to secure private support for their stellar young faculty. The UC San Diego Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, in collaboration with the Division of Academic Affairs, Research Affairs and other campus partners, launched the Young Investigator Program in 2012.

Keith York, senior director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and author of the article, said he is already getting calls from other campuses. “It is encouraging to see the article make immediate waves across the nation,” he said. “Several universities have contacted our office already for additional guidance on how they can model their efforts after our Young Investigator Program.”

In the case study, York notes, “The program is a rarity in higher education: Few, if any, corporate and foundation relations offices focus on new scientists, according to our informal survey of local and regional institutions. But they should. Teaching junior faculty members how to secure private resources and steward funders pays off in the long run—enabling researchers to sustain their work and the institution to maximize private support.

Working with the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, assistant professor Suckjoon Jun received nearly $2 million in private support to initiate research that could result in a better understanding of the runaway cell division that leads to cancer. Image by Calvin Feng

“The Young Investigator Program also helps the university develop a culture of philanthropy: Just as we teach students as early as orientation how to be engaged alumni, we're supporting faculty members and teaching them from the start about the role philanthropy can play in their careers. And that will pay dividends for years to come.”

Today, the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations is hosting “Making Philanthropy Count: Foundation Support for Young Investigators” on campus. Program officers from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Ray Thomas Edwards Foundation will join campus leadership, faculty and staff in meaningful discussions and exploration of new funding opportunities. The foundation participants will also share information about their philanthropic investments in early career scientists, including a long history of support for UC San Diego.