Beverly Hills billionaires give UC Davis $50 million to build agricultural research hub
In 2012, the University of California, Davis – “home to a small farm to a campus that can match it,” was awarded a 20-year, $60 million contract to build an agricultural research facility at the Davis campus. Since then, the university has made three separate announcements regarding its proposed “Agricultural Innovation Center – the center where agricultural researchers, researchers in animal science and environmental science and faculty from other departments can come together to study problems related to all aspects of research and policy related to agriculture.”
And there it is – the Ag Center – with its research, facilities, staff, and administration. The center would be a home for researchers, and a place where faculty and students from other departments could come to learn new techniques and work on agricultural research. And, the center, which would be part of a new $400 million agriculture complex on the Davis campus, would be a source of research funding and a place to learn best practices.
Why is the $60 million farm being made available to an institution that isn’t UC Davis? Here’s my answer: because there aren’t enough good academics.
UC Davis is in the middle of a recession of its own making and, according to a 2007 survey, the state of agriculture “is in a deep and difficult recession.” As a professor at UC Davis, I have seen it first hand. I have seen the way administrators cut corners. I have seen how research budgets have been cut dramatically, research projects have left the UC Davis campus, and how the “big science” institutes of Silicon Valley have been shut down and moved to places like San Diego and Irvine.
UC Davis is among the worst of what has become an epidemic of “big science” and it is not due to a lack of desire from the school – on the contrary, the school is doing what it can to grow its research budget, and to recruit top students. Yet