Research and Community Impact

CSU students apply the knowledge gained in the classroom to find solutions to real-world problems through involvement in applied research and service learning. Under the guidance of world-renowned faculty who are experts in their fields, students develop leadership skills while benefiting their communities.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

A hallmark of CSU research is immersive student learning and discovery that addresses California’s most urgent challenges, including those in agriculture, water, fire prevention and cybersecurity. Undergraduate students who participate in faculty-mentored research are better prepared for future careers, graduate education and leadership roles that contribute to their respective communities.

CSU and Climate Action

The CSU seeks to create lasting partnerships with California communities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, the private sector and philanthropists to enhance the application of climate change adaptation and climate action research and education.

The California Climate Action Seed Grants and Matching Grants, for example, is administered by the University of California system with $22 million in competitive funding going to 11 CSU campuses in 2023-24: Chico, East Bay, Humboldt, Long Beach, Monterey Bay, Northridge, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San José and San Luis Obispo.

Student-Led Projects

Undergraduate and graduate students compete on their campuses and systemwide with presentations of their research, scholarship and creative activity at the CSU Student Research Competition. Additionally, graduate students present three-minute pitches of their theses at CSU Grad Slam, and student entrepreneurs participate in the Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition.

Multi-Campus Research Consortia

The CSU has 10 multi-campus research consortia that provide experiential learning opportunities for students, prepare them for the workforce and address California’s vital needs. They conduct research on a breadth of topics including agriculture, biotechnology, desert studies, and water resources and policy.

The CSU’s Agricultural Research Institute, for example, supports students and faculty who are adapting cropping systems to climate change by utilizing remote sensing to manage water and fertilizers, detect disease and insect damage, and breed crops to withstand heat and use less water and fertilizers.

Another CSU consortium, STEM-NET, has supported faculty throughout the system by hosting webcasts on topics such as climate change, inquiry-based learning, virtual and augmented reality, makerspaces, and the diversification of the professoriate. Over the last four years, STEM-NET has catalyzed and facilitated the development of projects generating over $50 million in extramural funding to support research at 17 CSU campuses.

Learn more at calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/research

Community Engagement At The CSU

For 26 years, the CSU Center for Community Engagement has amplified campus efforts to immerse students in a range of community-based learning and service experiences that foster belonging, civic commitment and academic knowledge.

During the 2022-23 academic year, campus centers for community engagement and service, in partnership with 1,100 faculty and 3,700 community organizations, have:

  • Offered more than 2,700 service-learning sections to nearly 34,000 students who contributed more than 650,000 hours of service connected to their coursework.
  • Engaged nearly 20,000 students to provide an additional 1.6 million hours of direct service through a range of programs like AmeriCorps, days of service, alternative breaks and other civic engagement opportunities.
  • Raised a groundbreaking $30 million to support community engagement, a return of $30 for every dollar invested by the state.

Learn more at calstate.edu/cce​