2008/09 Support Budget

2008/09 Budgetary Challenges

Applied Research ($12 Million)

The CSU is requesting $12 million to perform applied research in four areas critical to California’s economic well-being: Agriculture ($5 million), Biotechnology ($3 million), Marine Studies ($3 million), and Fresh Water Studies ($1 million). These four programs share several common elements:

  • Address areas of research vital to the current and future well-being of the State of California
  • Align with the CSU educational mission and the CSU’s role in providing the educated workforce needed to drive California forward
  • Utilize a peer-based, proposal evaluation process to ensure that state funds are expended only on projects that are deemed to have high value to the state and a solid scientific basis for support
  • Yield many times their state funding in matching and/or additional research funds

Agriculture: Agriculture is recognized as a vital element of the state’s economic engine. Agricultural enterprises contribute in excess of $32 billion to the California economy and are essential to the state’s economic vitality. The CSU produces over 52 percent of California’s college graduates in agriculture-related majors. Closely related to and integrated with its core educational mission, the CSU is also a leader in performing applied research to improve the efficiency, productivity, profitability, and sustainability of California agriculture and its allied industries.

Providing additional funding for applied agriculture research funding will prevent the loss of jobs, the loss of crops, the loss of the economic value of crops, the degradation of agricultural resources, the loss of farms and farmers, and/or the loss of opportunities to derive greater value from agricultural enterprises. This funding will support innovative approaches such as sustainable agriculture in an effort to promote farming practices that are ecologically sound and economically viable, Funding for sustainable agriculture would provide matching resources to similar efforts on the federal level through the SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research Education) programs. Failure to advance state-of-the-art research and remain at the cutting edge of knowledge and technology will result in California agriculture losing its competitive edge and leadership in a global market. And, finally, failing to invest in agricultural research would forego the external resources that flow to the state in leveraged research projects.

Students in ClassroomBiotechnology: By 2003, revenues from biotech products had increased to $39.2 billion nationally, and employment in the industry was increasing at roughly 15 percent per year. More significantly, California is home to at least one-half of the biotechnology companies in the country and more than two-thirds of the workers in this industry are at the Bachelor of Science (BS) or Master of Science (MS) degree levels. California currently is, and has the potential to continue to be, the leader in this increasingly important, knowledge-based industry.

As manufacturing jobs and industries decline, it is vital for California to do everything possible to secure its leadership role in high-paying, knowledge-based industries like biotechnology. The CSU serves a crucial role in the two-pronged strategy to help secure the benefits of this industry for California. The CSU educates the BS and MS graduates that make up two-thirds of the workers in the industry and is a critical partner to perform the collaborative research to move the industry forward. Failing to provide additional applied biotechnology research funding could make it difficult for the state to maintain its leadership position in a growing industry with high-paying jobs.

Marine Studies: California has the largest ocean economy in the nation, totaling over $42 billion in gross state product in 2000. And yet, the coastal margins of California are coming under increasing pressure from land use, growing volumes of commercial trade, invasive species, harmful algal blooms, marine pathogens, and declining fisheries—all of which are taking place within a context of climate change. The consequences of failing to provide additional marine studies applied research funding fall into three distinct categories: lost opportunities, increased risk, and lost political capital. Given the importance of the coastal environment to California (and the nation) and the emergence of a wide range of new threats, expenditures (of resources and intellect) to preserve and protect the quality of the coastal environment are essential to maintaining the economic vitality of the state.

Fresh Water Studies: Water is critical to the future growth and the quality of life in California and, therefore, ensuring the availability of affordable and adequate supplies of high-quality water is among the state’s highest priorities. Fulfilling this goal demands an integrated and concerted research program. The fresh water research activities in the CSU address the critical policy and research needs of agricultural, urban, and environmental water uses in California. With an ever-growing population, water use, water policy, water products, water quality, water technology, and water research will become even more critical to the future economic well-being of the state and its citizens. The majority of the citizens of the state assume that affordable and adequate water supplies will always be available, and it is the responsibility of government to ensure that these expectations for the future are met by funding water studies.


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Chris Canfield
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Last Updated: October 29, 2007