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News In Brief 5/2/2017

UC Irvine Receives $1 Million Donation for Rocket Launch


The University of California, Irvine is looking to become the first university to shoot a rocket into space. That dream moved closer to reality after nonprofit STEM company Base 11 gifted $1 million to the school last week.

The “Moonshot Initiative” will help create a rocketry program and lab at UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Funds will also provide a mobile center and assembly trailer for off-site repairs.

Students will start by constructing a rocket that can launch 25,000 feet high, then 50,000 feet high. The school plans to have a rocket that can reach the Karman line at 328,000 feet in the next two years. This line represents the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.

The lab, which will be located on the ground floor of the Engineering Tower, is expected to be finished by the end of summer 2017.


Samueli Foundation Donates $30 Million to UC Irvine


The Samueli Foundation pledged $30 million to UC Irvine last week to construct a new science building that will be able to perform large-scale engineering, computing and physical sciences research. Additionally, the school has obtained $50 million in state funds and $40 million in campus funds for a total of $120 million.

In an email message to the UCI community, Chancellor Howard Gillman stated, “As UCI continues to grow and develop, it is vital that we are properly equipped to address a broad range of global challenges, working together on multidisciplinary projects that will change lives for the better.”

“A key component of our strategic plan is to develop appropriate programs and structures to facilitate interdisciplinary, problem-based scholarship and teaching. This includes establishing campus-wide opportunities for extraordinary faculty to engage in cutting-edge research, promoting team science as an area of excellence, and constructing a physical space for this important work to flourish.”

With this recent donation, Henry Samueli, a UCI professor, and his wife Susan Samueli tie with Paul Merage for the second-largest donation in university history. The couple gave $20 million to the the School of Engineering in 1999 and $5.7 million in 2001 to establish the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine.

The 100,000-square-foot facility will be located near Frederick Reines Hall. Construction will begin in fall 2017 and is expected to finish in three years.


UC Irvine Receives $9.6 Million Malaria Research Grant


The National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases has awarded a UC Irvine study $9.6 million over the next seven years. The study examines the effect of environmental changes on malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. With this funding, UCI is also established as one of the International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research. Public health professor Guiyun Yan leads the UCI study.

According to the World Health Organization’s 2016 World Malaria Report, there were approximately 212 million new malaria cases and 429,000 malaria deaths in 2015. A malaria vaccine has yet to be approved for widespread use.

UCI will work with researchers from the U.S., Australia, Kenya and Ethiopia on three main projects. The first will weigh the impact of environmental modifications on malaria, the second looks at the impact of environmental changes on vector ecology and third strives to ascertain environmental effects on malaria pathogenesis and immunity.


UC Irvine Named One of Forbes’ Best Value Colleges


UC Irvine has landed a top ten spot on the Forbes 2017 Best Value College survey released last week.

Forbes surveyed 300 universities and institutions to find which school had “the best bang for the tuition buck based on tuition costs, school quality, post-grad earnings, student debt and graduation success.”

UCI earned the eighth spot with UC Berkeley, UCLA and UC Davis at number one, two and nine respectively. UC San Diego just missed the top ten at number eleven.