We are pleased to report on some of the progress that has been made by UC DRN since our December 2021 newsletter, especially concerning our deliverables. Specifically, we would like to report on the following:
- Expertise portal – All researchers listed in the wildfire knowledge portfolio were contacted to inform them of UC DRN and the expertise portal. They were invited to provide recommendations of additional researchers and to update their own information. The next steps are to: 1) have users test the portal and provide feedback; 2) improve the user interface based on this feedback; 3) contact additional experts and centers in the portal to inform them of its existence and give them the opportunity to update their listings; and 4) organize a launch event.
- Innovative research incubation – financing of a multi-campus research initiative around wildfires in partnership with the UCSB Natural Reserve System is under discussion with the Moore Foundation and we are seeking co-funders together. A series of workshops is being planned to discuss the use of the $185 million proposed in the Governor’s Budget for UC work on climate actions and resiliency. These would include campus-based gatherings and a systemwide workshop in Sacramento with state representatives and legislative staffers.
- Workforce development and education – Confronting California’s Concurrent Crises, our online systemwide course was approved at Berkeley for Fall ’22 for full credit at quarter campuses and 3/4 credit at Merced and Berkeley. Next steps are to secure UCOnline approval and financial support and finalize the syllabus, including mapping topics onto the overall course objective of addressing California’s Concurrent and Cascading Disasters and revising presenters and content as needed.
- Service learning – At UCSB, the Dean’s Disaster Resilience Fellows have been improving the expertise portal, developing this newsletter, and updating the website. Stipends for the initial two fellows to continue activities in support of UC DRN have been approved and both Fellows have been hired to support systemwide UC DRN activities (especially communications). Advisory Board member Abby Browning has offered a state internship for one of the fellows. At UCSD, Provost Ivan Evans is ready to on-board at least one student as an intern, with a research focus. This could be linked to and supportive of UCSD’s campus-based committee when it is established.
- Partnerships – a Memorandum of Understanding is being finalized between the American Red Cross and UC DRN to codify the partnership. The American Red Cross is also preparing a grant to UC DRN to support the partnership. UC DRN is working with the International Science Reserve on a crisis response workshop and a wildfire tabletop exercise while our Executive Director has agreed to serve on their executive board. Our partnership with the University of Chile is progressing, with working groups being established in six areas of common interest (the pandemic, climate resilience, seismic risk/resilience, wildfires/drought, research and policy, and online learning/student exchange). The next steps are to: 1) form the joint working groups; 2) initiate working group meetings; and 3) organize a knowledge-sharing workshop.
We look forward to having you participate in some of these initiatives before our next newsletter comes out. And you can keep on top of our ongoing work at www.ucdrn.org.
Prof. Sarah Anderson, UC DRN Faculty Director;
Dr. Joe Leitmann, UC DRN Executive Director