Establishment of Interschool Initiatives

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce the establishment of three new Interschool Academic Initiatives:

  • Data Science across the University
  • Medical Humanities
  • Water UCI

These will join Sustainability and Exercise Science as Provost-sponsored multidisciplinary projects that permit the campus to work together on issues that transcend traditional academic boundaries
The missions of these new Initiatives are as follows:

Data Science across the University (Padhraic Smyth, Director)
This campus-wide Initiative focuses on the increasingly central role of data science in modern research, education, medicine, and business.  With faculty governance from almost every school, this project will engage overlapping interests across the campus to consider all relevant aspects of these transformative developments, including methodology, infrastructure, theory, policy, and education.

Medical Humanities (Douglas Haynes, Aaron Kheriaty, and Johanna Shapiro, Co-Directors)
This Initiative will bring together faculty stakeholders in medical humanities, medical ethics, and spiritual care to advance a holistic understanding of the conditions and possibilities for health and illness.  It will equip existing and future students, practitioners, and community members to promote a model of health, healing and wellbeing that is patient-centered, culturally sensitive, and responsive to community needs.

Water UCI (David Feldman, Director)
This campus-wide Initiative will serve as a coordinating vehicle to facilitate seamless collaboration across campus units around questions of fundamental and applied water science, technology, management, and policy.  Water UCI will have as its central mission the provision of a platform to permit access to external constituencies, including public agencies and user-groups with an interest in water, that wish to connect to UCI researchers on large-scale, complex problems more effectively.

Respondent to a campus-wide announcement, 34 proposals were submitted for consideration for this year’s competition.  These were discussed and ranked independently by the Academic Planning Group and the Deans, who forwarded their recommendations to me for approval.  Some proposals were deemed more appropriate to be considered as potential research centers or graduate programs, and these will be forwarded to the Office of Research and the Graduate Division, respectively, for further consideration.   Many other proposals described projects of significant potential value that did not easily fit into this Initiative or either of those other categories, so we must continue to explore new and innovative ways to support such creative thinking in the future.

I want to thank all of the applicants for their ideas and enthusiasm and all reviewers for their thoughtful consideration.  Another call for submissions for Initiatives will be forthcoming in the fall.  I look forward to that opportunity to hear more of your ideas concerning cross-disciplinary collaborations that you would like UC Irvine to undertake.


Howard Gillman
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor