The University of California Office of the President announced its biennial Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MRPI) grants, funding 16 collaborative projects encompassing issues from management of the citrus industry and homelessness to immigration and equality.
UC Merced sociology Professor Zulema Valdez is one of five co-PIs on the UC Collaborative to Promote Immigrant and Student Equity, which garnered a $270,000 grant.
Valdez is joined by faculty members and graduate student researchers from UCs Irvine, Berkeley, Los Angeles and Riverside. The project will address the significant academic, financial and social-emotional strains on the UC system’s immigrant students. The project’s goal is to reduce inequalities and guide policy across the UC system and beyond.
Valdez said the collaborative will develop and implement community-engaged and policy-relevant research aimed at improving the education and well being of undocumented students and U.S. citizen students from mixed-status households (those with undocumented or lawful permanent resident immigrant parents).
The project includes conducting a UC-wide survey of 1,800 students across nine campuses, aimed at understanding how changing immigration policies affect undocumented students and students from mixed-status families.
“The study will evaluate the extent to which institutional programs support students in reducing educational barriers and inequalities,” she said. “This collaborative brings together a diverse group of top scholars in the field to conduct cutting-edge, policy relevant research to strengthen the UC system's capacity to address the needs of our students and achieve greater educational equity.”
The highly competitive MRPI program seeks to leverage the world-renowned research capabilities of the UC system to develop real world solutions to significant problems facing our state and world. This year’s competition garnered 179 proposals that spanned the breadth of UC’s expertise in the humanities, arts, engineering, public policy, and biological, health, environmental, natural and social sciences.