Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- February 6, 2004

Cal State L.A. Join Forces to Advance Environmental Research

In order to find answers to some of California’s most pressing environmental questions, California State University, Los Angeles, has joined forces with University of California counterparts and a host of federal agencies to share expertise. The new partnership, dubbed the California Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU), is part of a national network providing research and educational assistance to federal land management, conservation, and environmental research agencies.

“The CESU is a unique endeavor that joins government agencies and environmental research groups in a common mission,” says Carlos Robles (Pasadena resident), Cal State L.A. professor of biology, and member of the CESU Executive Committee. “It opens up cross-disciplinary projects and gets us thinking about things we might not have imagined.”

Cal State L.A. is one of only three California State Universities asked to participate in this prestigious cooperative, along with several UC campuses and federal agencies including the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Agriculture.

Robles points out that the collaboration enables government agencies to make use of a tremendous infrastructure of university researchers, allowing all parties to expand their work, and preventing researchers from duplicating their efforts when they could instead work together and save time, money and energy. “A streamlined management process allows federal agencies to fund new projects with Cal State partners in a matter of days from the time the projects are conceived,” he adds.

“These partnerships will also be incredibly beneficial for students,” explains Robles. “As a result of the collaborative, Cal State L.A. students will not only be involved in groundbreaking research, but they’ll also have the opportunity to enter internships and take part in summer trainee programs that will increase their employment opportunities when they graduate.”
Robles notes that CESU will not only look at environmental sciences in the future, but at social and cultural sciences as well. “This means that a broad range of disciplines will be involved. The potential exists for very diverse and unusual collaborations,” says Robles.

The cooperative has the potential to make a very real and positive impact on the state of California by helping to maintain its biodiversity and protect its ecosystems. Robles says, “My students want their work to have immediate social value. And through this collaborative, we’re putting societal interests together with science.”

For more information on the California Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, contact Professor Robles at (323) 343-2067.


Media Contact: Carol Selkin, Media Relations Director, (323) 343-3044


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