Focus on the Future

Fifty Years of Achieving the Extraordinary

The University of California, San Diego celebrates fifty years of visionaries, innovators, and overachievers.

The University of California, San Diego is a place where futures begin, creativity is celebrated, and intellectual pioneers shape history. Since its founding fifty years ago, the university has achieved the extraordinary in education, research, and innovation. Sixteen Nobel laureates have taught on campus, and faculty members have been recipients of Fields Medals, Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur Fellowships, and many other significant awards and honors.

During the 2010–11 academic year, UC San Diego will celebrate the visionaries, innovators, and overachievers who shaped the first five decades of university life. Looking ahead to the next half-century, the university that came so far so fast continues to reexamine and reinvent itself; transcend traditional boundaries of knowledge in science, arts, and humanities; and exceed expectations. The entrepreneurial spirit prevails—even in difficult economic times.

$1 Billion Funding Milestone

UC San Diego was awarded more than $1 billion in research funding in fiscal year 2009–10, a historic milestone for the campus. The record-setting amount was especially gratifying in a year when state support for higher education continued its dramatic slide. Typically, about 70 percent of research funding provides the salaries of faculty, staff, and students conducting that research. Many of the projects evolve into larger endeavors and generate discoveries, inventions, patents, and licensing agreements that lead to additional job creation.

UC San Diego's Ballet Folklorico

UC San Diego’s Ballet Folklórico

Total research funds included more than $160 million in federal stimulus money for 345 campus projects under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). UC San Diego received more ARRA dollars than any other University of California campus. In a highly competitive funding environment, the campus quickly mobilized to apply for ARRA dollars in support of selected research programs. Channeled through existing federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, ARRA funds support research in medicine, biology, chemistry, oceanography, engineering, and other fields.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography received a $100 million ARRA grant for construction of two new laboratory buildings dedicated to ocean science. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) approved the grant for the campus buildings, which will include state-of-the-art marine life tanks and cutting-edge science labs.

In 2010, the U.S. Office of Naval Research chose Scripps as the operator of a new scientific research vessel that will usher in the next era of ocean exploration. The navy is providing more than $88 million to fund the design and construction of the vessel, which will be home ported at the Scripps Nimitz Marine Facility on San Diego Bay.


“UCSD has done a wonderful job in fulfilling the mission of the Hellman Faculty Fellows Awards by stewarding its young faculty members toward the tenure track.” —Warren Hellman

THE HELLMAN FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM was established at UC San Diego in 1995 with a gift of $2.5 million from Chris and Warren Hellman to provide financial support and encouragement to young faculty who show capacity for great distinction in their research and creative activities.

Warren Hellman

With the decline in state funding, private support for faculty research is critical to attracting and retaining the nation’s top professors and researchers. In fiscal year 2009–10, $375,000 was awarded to the 2010–11 Hellman Faculty Fellows at UC San Diego to support thirty faculty members in their scholarly work as they strive for tenure with the university. The winning proposals included twenty-two from the Arts and Humanities, and Social Sciences divisions, and eight from Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Engineering.

Supporting the Community

UC San Diego is a primary engine of economic development, a powerful catalyst for the advancement of knowledge, a critical force for improving human lives, and a vital investment in the future. The 2008 economic impact analysis shows that the university contributed approximately $4.74 billion in direct and indirect spending and personal income to the California economy, and generated 39,400 jobs in fiscal year 2006–07. Over the last fifty years, the university’s faculty and alumni have created more than 500 start-up companies, including many local biotech firms.

By 2016, new UC San Diego Health System facilities will transform health care in the region and draw patients from around the globe. The state-of-the-art Jacobs Medical Center will bring 245 additional new beds to the La Jolla campus. A new Medical Education and Telemedicine Center will deliver specialty care to remote areas via telecommunications, while a planned Clinical and Translational Research Institute will speed the delivery of new treatments from laboratory bench to patient bedside.

UC San Diego’s Technology Transfer Office (TTO) manages the university’s large technology portfolio, which includes innovations in biomedicine, bioinformatics, engineering and physical sciences, nanotechnology, clean technology, and several other fields. This portfolio includes more than 1,400 active patents and 3,000 active inventions, of which more than 1,800 are available for licensing.

TTO facilitates the transfer of innovations created at the university to industry partners for further development as commercial products and services. Through its activities, TTO fosters an entrepreneurial climate and economic expansion within the greater UC San Diego community and beyond. At the end of fiscal year 2009–10, there were more than 380 active license agreements for university technology. One-third of these licenses were with companies designated as small businesses. Of the total active licenses, more than half were with California companies or organizations.

Global Reach: Licensing by country

At the close of fiscal year 2009–10, there were more than 380 UC San Diego active license agreements with companies throughout the world.

Diversifying Revenue Sources

To sustain its excellence in teaching, research, and service, UC San Diego continues to strengthen its community ties and diversify its revenue sources. In fiscal year 2009–10, the university’s total revenues were $2.95 billion, representing an 82.4 percent rise since 2001, and 35.7 percent since 2006. The campus received 37,714 gifts totaling $147.4 million in private support from alumni, parents, faculty and staff, students, and other friends of UC San Diego.

Educational appropriations from the state of California increased by $37.7 million to $282.3 million in 2010, principally as a result of a one-time federal grant to the state. California’s fiscal crisis in 2009 and 2010 necessitated special-session actions by the legislature and the governor that led to midyear budget reductions, both one-time and permanent, that took place over an eighteen-month period. Because of the complexity and timing of these actions, it is important to look at year-over-year changes over a two-year—rather than one-year—period. While the one-year change between 2009 and 2010 appears to reflect an increase in state educational appropriations, when compared to 2008, there was actually a decline of $19 million over the two-year period.

Systemwide fees for resident undergraduate students grew at a substantially higher rate in 2009–10, the result of a fall 2009 increase of 9.3 percent plus a midyear increase of 15 percent. This compares to a total student fee increase of 45.9 percent over the past five years, with an annual average of 9 percent per year since 2005–06. For the fall 2009 quarter, enrollment for undergraduate and graduate students rose by more than 3 percent over the previous fall.

Grants and contracts, and health-care revenue remain the university’s two largest funding sources. In fiscal year 2009–10, revenues from grants and contracts totaled $882.1 million, with a one-year increase of 8.5 percent. Medical Center revenues were $854.8 million, a one-year increase of 6.1 percent.

When considering all sources of revenue for fiscal year 2009–10 (campus operating revenue, campus nonoperating revenue, and the Medical Center), the educational appropriations from the state of California comprised 9.6 percent of total revenue. This compares to 9.3 percent for fiscal year 2008–09. This source of funding is critical to the university’s core mission, but current fiscal year support is less than it was nine years ago in fiscal 2000–01, when it provided 18.4 percent of total revenue.

Graduate Education, Uncommon Scholars, and the Public Good

Graduate education fuels the engine of economic and social prosperity. By 2020, UC San Diego plans to increase its graduate school enrollment to 20 percent of the overall student body—a 5 percent rise from the current ratio. Invent the Future, UC San Diego’s three-year, private support campaign, will help in recruiting and retaining excellent candidates by underwriting graduate fellowships.

Graduate students help to attract and retain top faculty, mentor undergraduates, provide a high-quality workforce, and support regional industry. They are critically important to the intellectual productivity of the campus by bringing new perspectives, energy, and enthusiasm to their respective fields. Those who remain in San Diego after completing their education may go on to teach at UC San Diego, launch start-up companies, or stay in the community in other capacities and contribute to the region’s cultural and educational vibrancy.

New graduate and professional degrees established in 2009–10 include a doctoral degree specialization in anthropogeny within the graduate programs of anthropology, biological sciences, cognitive science, linguistics, neurosciences, and psychology. Anthropogeny is the study of human origins and evolution from a scientific perspective. The Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) established an M.A.S. (master of advanced studies) degree in international affairs; the Jacobs School of Engineering introduced an M.S. and Ph.D. in nanoengineering; and an interdisciplinary M.S. program in computational science, mathematics, and engineering is a recent addition to university graduate programs.

The social mission of the Division of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego is central to a great public university: to learn and to teach others to live fully and creatively in society. The university’s founders brought a stellar faculty of writers and critics, philosophers and historians, artists, musicians, and performers to the campus. The heart of arts and humanities, then as now, is teaching undergraduates, training future scholars, and fostering creative life. The division has plans to develop new graduate programs in dance, and interdisciplinary computing and the arts.

UC San Diego is both a magnet and a catalyst for leading minds and uncommon scholars. Carol Padden, a scholar of sign languages, was named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She will receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years. She is the sixteenth UC San Diego scholar to receive a MacArthur Fellowship and the seventh from the Division of Social Sciences. A professor in the Department of Communication, she is also an associate dean in the Division of Social Sciences, an affiliate of the Center for Research in Language, and a doctoral graduate of the Department of Linguistics. Her research focuses on the unique structure and evolution of sign languages—how they differ from spoken language and from one another—and on the specific social implications of signed communication.

UC San Diego has 155 endowed chairs, 5 of which were established in fiscal year 2009–10. Faculty searches on the general campus were put on hold during that period because of fiscal constraints. General campus searches will resume in academic year 2010–11; funding for the 40 new positions will come from the Academic Affairs operating budget. Committed to making positive changes in the campus atmosphere and broadening the richness and diversity of its community and curriculum, Academic Affairs has authorized 33 new faculty searches for the 2010–11 academic year and identified 12 of these searches—or 36 percent—to contribute to diversity, equity, and a campus climate of inclusion. In addition, a pool of seven faculty positions has been established for 2010–11 to respond to opportunities to address diversity, spousal, or extraordinary faculty hires that may emerge throughout the year.


In the early 1960s, Scripps researcher Charles Keeling provided the first proof that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were rising. His Keeling Curve is now a scientific icon that quantifies a fundamental way that humankind has affected the planet.

A twenty-first-century leader in climate science research, UC San Diego works to promote sustainability solutions throughout the region and the world. Through its Climate Action Plan for the campus, the university is tracking progress toward achieving 20 percent water use reduction by 2015, zero waste by 2020, and carbon neutrality by 2025. UC San Diego provides 82 percent of the power needs for the daily campus population of 45,000 students, faculty, and staff with a micro utility that has a growing portfolio of solar photovoltaics, fuel cells utilizing renewable methane, and a natural gas-fired power plant recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of the cleanest and most efficient in the country.

In 2009, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) awarded $11 million in incentives to UC San Diego for the installation of an innovative fuel cell energy generation and storage system. Scheduled for completion in 2012, this smart-grid project is the largest of its kind in the world, and the nation’s first advanced energy storage project to receive state incentive funds.

The system, which pairs a 2.8-megawatt fuel cell with a 2.8-megawatt advanced energy-storage system, will allow the university to store power produced at night for use during peak daytime hours. The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) is administering the program within the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) service territory. BioFuels Energy, LLC of Encinitas in San Diego County will build the plant, which will use methane allocated from the city of San Diego’s Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant that will be piped to the campus.

UC San Diego offers some 200 courses under the environment/sustainability umbrella. A new Sustainability Solutions Institute has been established on campus to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to strengthen research programs in water, energy, and climate change; provide robust curricular offerings at the undergraduate level; and develop outreach programs with the potential to achieve major societal changes.

UC San Diego was included on a list of the greenest college campuses compiled by Princeton Review; was named among the nation’s top 20 “coolest” schools by the Sierra Club for efforts to reverse global warming and operate sustainably; received a U.S. EPA 2010 Energy Star Combined Heat & Power Award for its high efficiency, low-emission cogeneration plant that provides more than 80 percent of the campus electricity needs; won three California Higher Education Sustainability Conference Best Practice awards; and was runner-up for the San Diego Excellence in Energy Efficiency award for Special Achievement in Energy by a Government or Institution.

More than eighty student groups have a sustainability focus, and three of them (Green Campus, AQUAholics, and EcoNauts) have received regional and national recognition for their work. The recently established Student Sustainability Collective (SSC) focuses on engaging the campus in proactive change and, in 2009, UC San Diego’s Sustainability Resource Center opened, establishing a central campus location to promote sustainability.

Hands-On Learning and Discovering: Undergraduate Research Opportunities

UC San Diego provides undergraduate students with valuable hands-on research opportunities outside the classroom in virtually every discipline. Students can work one-on-one with internationally distinguished faculty, participate in cutting-edge projects, and make important contributions in their field of interest. Faculty interaction with undergraduates in research activities has grown steadily over the past ten years and continues to be an important instructional emphasis.

Division of Physical Sciences undergraduate research experiences have propelled students into spectacular careers such as developing the Apple Macintosh or coaxing bacteria into creating synthetic human insulin, human growth hormone, and human tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) for use in therapeutic medicine that launched Genentech.

Research opportunities are not limited to scientific areas but encompass all academic disciplines. Research in the arts and humanities and social sciences includes a range of creative and artistic projects from costume design to playwriting to curating a fine arts exhibit, and archival work in the library or on the Internet.

In 2009–10, the university expanded the Regents Scholars Research Initiative, a partnership between Research Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs, to recruit outstanding students to UC San Diego by opening enrollment in independent research courses to freshman Regents Scholars as early as their first quarter on campus. Approximately 144 scholars have participated in this program since its debut in 2007–08, with 58 students participating in 2009–10.

In collaboration with Student Affairs, the Advisory Committee for the Center for Undergraduate Research, Internships, and Entrepreneurships (CURIE) is promoting increased participation in structured research experiences by undergraduates, establishing new internships and entrepreneurial training programs, increasing the number of students applying to graduate and professional schools, and providing assistance in finding faculty mentors. In 2009, the Office of Research Affairs initiated collaboration between Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and the Council of Provosts to create an undergraduate research Web portal and a center for unifying various activities related to undergraduate research, internships, and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Global reach

A great research university must be innovative, international, and interdisciplinary. The answers to today’s local, national, and global challenges are not likely to be found in isolation. A major campus priority is to expand UC San Diego’s international presence through a series of partnerships. The Office of International Affairs (OIA) develops campuswide initiatives that improve the flow of communication and collaboration on international matters between administrative offices and academic and research units.

In 2009–10, OIA provided consultation on thirty-nine partnership proposals, and negotiated, drafted, and vetted eighteen agreements, including UC San Diego’s first international dual-degree program agreement, through which IR/PS will receive students funded by the Korea Development Institute in 2010–11 for the one-year M.A.S. program in international affairs. Other efforts include a Talentia fellowship agreement providing full funding for students from Andalusia, Spain, to pursue graduate degree programs beginning in 2010–11, and four academic and research agreements with universities in China and Mexico, UC San Diego target countries for the development of international partnerships.

In 2010, UC San Diego signed an initial three-year agreement with Saudi Arabia’s national science agency and national laboratories, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Saudi Telecom Company (STC), to collaborate on the development of information technology systems and advanced communications. In 2009, UC San Diego Health Sciences and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur signed a preliminary agreement to collaborate in developing an international medical center at IIT Kharagpur.

During the 2008–09 academic year, UC San Diego ranked seventh nationally among major research universities that send students abroad in full-year programs, and seventh among U.S. research institutions in the number of international scholars hosted. Approximately 22 percent of UC San Diego’s undergraduates participated in programs abroad (calculated as a percentage of undergraduate degrees conferred), and 12 percent participated in long-term programs compared to 4 percent nationally. Programs such as the two-year-old Summer Global Seminars continue to kindle student and faculty interest in studying abroad; in summer 2009, 195 students participated in eight global seminars.

About this report

The UC San Diego Annual Financial Report 2009–10 is produced by Creative Services and Publications for Steven W. Relyea, Vice Chancellor for External and Business Affairs.

Senior Director, Creative Services and Publications: Michele Humphrey
Writer: Sylvia Tiersten
Designer: Katie Koteen
Project Coordinators and Editors: Julie Dunn, Heidi Yuen, Sarah Andrade, Judy Piercey
Web Design: Matt Hale
Web Production: Gabe Shahbazian

Featured Photographer: Erik Jepsen
Historical photos courtesy of Lynda Claassen, Director, UC San Diego Mandeville Special Collections Library

For a printed copy of this report, please contact the office of the UC San Diego Vice Chancellor for External and Business Affairs,