UC ANR leadership is proud of its outstanding network of nine Research and Extension Centers across the state. Including academic salaries and temporary funding, UC ANR invests close to $14 million annually in the REC system. We are committed to continuing to make an investment of this magnitude, recognizing the importance of each individual REC, and the REC system to our research and extension missions.
A freeze on state operations and maintenance funding since 2006, and a virtual absence of deferred maintenance funds, necessitates a close look at how the annual investment is used so as to position the RECs for a long, successful future. UC ANR leadership is taking the long view to its programmatic collaboration and growth. As a result, we are developing a strategy for cost recovery to continue to operate and improve the facilities so that we can better serve researchers and their research and extension activities – well into the next decade, not just the next three to five years.
Key attributes of the strategy include:
- Improved clarity of how full-cost research rates are calculated and how researcher costs are derived, based on a researcher's specific and agreed upon needs for labor and facilities
- Establishment of rates four to six months in advance of the effective date for the rate (i.e. rates published in January for projects beginning in July, or some variation thereof) in recognition of the need to project costs in advance of research start date
- Development of a cost structure that reflects different project needs and differences in costs required to support the needs
- Ability to confirm researcher costs for specific, itemized research needs over a multi-year timeframe at time of proposal submission to a funding agency
A move to this new way of calculating research rates will take some time to establish across all nine RECs. Our goal is to have this rolled out between January and March 2018 and to go into effect for any projects (new, renewed or expanded usage) beginning July 1, 2018. This is an ambitious goal given the review and approval process in place that ensures fairness of proposed methodology and charges. However, we are committed to making this a high priority in order to improve the research experience.
To assess feasibility of the approach, the Desert REC will move to a new model in the very near term and serve as a pilot study for the July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 timeframe. The new model includes different rates for different services (land, water, pesticides, labor, etc.). The new model applies at Desert REC for both new and continuing projects and provides the opportunity to identify any issues early on and make the necessary adjustments. The remaining RECs will develop research rates for REC services over the next few months and the new model will be refined and adapted in 2018-2019 for the remaining eight RECs.
For 2017-2018, researchers continuing projects at all RECs, except Desert REC and West Side REC, should plan on an additional 10 percent to their 2016-2017 research rate to cover increases in salaries and benefit rates and reflect a reduced subsidy by center funds applied to the full cost rate. New and renewed projects will be billed at a researcher rate of $27.46 per hour. A new project is one that has not been submitted to, and approved by, the REC previously. This higher rate reflects the need to reduce the subsidy applied to the full cost rate.
Researchers at West Side REC will be billed at a rate 10 percent above the 2016-2017 West Side REC research rate for all projects.
Developing a new strategy for setting research rates based on different rates for different services will take time, thus the decision to move forward as outlined above. The pilot assessment at Desert REC will illustrate the impacts of a new strategy on both researchers and business operations and help identify best practices to support the transition to a new strategy. We are committed to maintaining a system of RECs that are positioned to address present and emerging research needs for the long term and meet the planning needs of researchers.
Research and Extension Center
New projects and projects renewed at the end of the 3-year cycle
Continuing projects (2nd and 3rd year)
Charges based on services utilized (acreage, water, labor etc.)
2016-17 rate + 10%
2016-17 rate + 10%
Hansen, Hopland, Intermountain, Kearney, Lindcove, Sierra Foothill, South Coast
2016-17 rate + 10%
Associate Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources
Condition changes are those long-term outcomes of our work that are the evidence of how our work makes a difference. Condition changes are at a level higher than that of the personal benefit our clientele receive as a result of direct participation in our programs. Rather, the condition change represents environmental, health, or economic benefits at a societal level (e.g. improved water quality, improved nutrition and health, increased market opportunities, etc.).
How you can provide feedback
Program Team Leaders, Statewide Program Directors, Institute Directors and Strategic Initiative Leaders have worked together to develop the current list of condition changes. They will be reaching out to you to solicit your input. I would ask that you share your thoughts with those who reach out to you and they will collate all feedback they receive and provide it back through a Collaborative Tools site so that the development team can see the feedback as it is received. In early October, we will assemble all of the feedback and make decisions how to move forward.
Why this is important to you?
The final list of condition changes will be coded into the new Project Board (UC ANR program information system that will be replacing DANRS-X and integrated with the merit and promotion process for UC ANR academics. We will be asking academics to assign a percentage of time you spend working towards the condition changes. This will replace assigning your FTE to the federal Knowledge Areas. In addition, you will be tagging condition changes to your work when you write your outcome/impact narratives. You will be able to tag multiple condition changes to a single narrative provided you have quantitative evidence of the effected condition change.
How will this information be used?
The condition changes will be used in multiple ways. First, the condition changes and aggregated effort associated with each condition change will be used to determine if we have sufficient capacity working towards the changes needed to achieve our 2025 Strategic Vision. This will help guide future investments by UC ANR and help you, as an individual, identify priorities for directing your own effort. Second, the outcome/impact narratives that are tagged to specific condition changes will provide us the evidence needed to share all of your good work with supporters. The condition changes will serve as a sorting mechanism for the outcomes/impact narratives. The narratives themselves provide quantitative evidence of your outcomes including how they contribute to condition change indicators, as well as frame the work (what was done, where, why, who were the partners, etc.). Because of the intended uses of the information, it is important that we have a complete set of condition changes that represent the work we need to do to achieve our vision.
Why the rush?
The new Project Board is on track for roll out in March. In order to have the condition changes be part of Project Board and not a separate, additional reporting request, we need to have them coded in the system. The development team has indicated that they need the information in early October. Therefore, we are requesting that all Program Team Leaders provide their collective feedback (1 document per Program Team) by October 1. We will review the feedback, draw up a revised list of condition changes, and have that turned around to the Project Board team quickly.
What happens after the feedback is provided?
We will continue to talk about condition changes and condition change indicators throughout the fall and into spring. We are planning to offer training in the winter and spring to address condition changes, condition change indicators and how they tie to Public Value Statements that are currently in draft form. The Public Value Statements will be reviewed and modified yet this fall. If you have interest in being part of a small-ish group that will review and revise the Public Value Statements, please let me know via email. Note that condition change indicators and public value statements will not be part of the reporting in Project Board or any other form; only condition changes will be reported against in Project Board.
Tips to consider
- Condition changes must be measurable; condition change indicators are the metrics used to quantify the magnitude of change in a condition
- Condition changes should not be audience-specific but rather apply to any/all of our audiences as appropriate
- While I am an incurable ‘lumper' it is best to be a ‘splitter' when it comes to condition changes because it provides greater clarity as to what the evidence that support change really is and will allow for improved aggregation of your impact stories making it easier to share your work with others (easier to find, easier to understand and convey appropriately).
- Having more, rather than fewer, condition changes in Project Board will not cause you to have to report the same thing in multiple locations – the coding is planned to provide opportunity to use multiple tags for the same report.
A generic logic model used for reporting to USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture can be viewed at http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/270919.pdf.
Associate Vice President
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The 2017 UC Master Gardener Conference was buzzing with activity as participants learned about the latest research in home horticulture and networked with fellow gardening enthusiasts in Long Beach on Aug. 22-25.
“It turns out there is far more to the UC Master Gardener Conference than talk about gardening!” AVP Wendy Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog. “I was unable to attend as many talks as I had hoped but those I made were great – filled with timely information from UC ANR advisors.”
The attendees took field trips to tour gardens at Rancho Los Cerritos in Long Beach, South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and Huntington Botanical Gardens.
For shoppers, the conference MarketPlace was stocked with handcrafted items from UC Master Gardener volunteers, gardening tools and UC ANR publications. Funds raised from the sales will be used to support the county programs.
- Direct link: http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/2016-2020_Strategic_Plan/
- “Squished” link: http://ucanr.edu/strategicplan
- Mini URL: http://ucanr.edu/p/58630
- Keyword search of any ANR website for "strategic plan."
The website is designed to give UC ANR academics and staff updated information on the plan and its ongoing implementation, and their role in reaching the plan's goals. It's also a place where stakeholders can offer feedback to leadership. Please let your stakeholders know about the site.
For more information about the Strategic Plan, read AVP Wendy Powers' blog post Updates on implementation of the strategic plan./span>
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
AVP Wendy Powers announced the letters of intent (LOIs) for which principal investigators have been invited to submit full proposals to ANR's Competitive Grants Program and High-Risk/High-Reward Grants Program. The list of 51 approved projects can be found at http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/files/261626.pdf.
This year ANR received a total of 108 letters of intent — 97 for the Competitive Grants Program and 11 for the High-Risk/High-Reward Grants Program. Strategic Initiative leaders and their respective panels reviewed all letters of intent thoroughly to address the appropriateness of the proposals in addressing the goals and criteria outlined by each funding opportunity.
ANR Competitive Grants Program
The purpose of the ANR competitive grants program is to address high-priority issue areas identified by at least one of the strategic initiatives: Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases (EIPD), Healthy Families and Communities (HFC), Sustainable Food Systems (SFS), Sustainable Natural Ecosystems (SNE), and Water Quality, Quantity and Security (Water).
ANR Competitive Grants Program 2017 Cycle:
- Full proposals due June 19
- Technical peer review: mid-June – early September 2017
- Strategic Initiative review and recommendations: end of September 2017
- Program Council review and recommendations: October/November 2017
- Announcement of funded grants: November/December 2017
High-Risk/High-Reward Grants Program
Given the complexity of societal problems, high-risk research is necessary to achieve gains for real progress in addressing present and emerging challenges. This program will provide funds to initiate and complete research and proof-of-concept efforts that serve as the basis for larger funding opportunities. These projects must be of a high-risk/high-reward nature that are best conducted in a controlled, research setting and, if successful, lend themselves to subsequent larger funding opportunities and/or intellectual property development.
Proposed projects must be within the scope of the ANR Strategic Vision. All ANR academics with PI status are eligible to apply. Proposals will be accepted using the same timeline as outlined for the traditional competitive grants program, but reviewed separately due to the nature of the proposal.
For questions about ANR's competitive grants program or high-risk/high-reward grants program, please contact Melanie Caruso at firstname.lastname@example.org.