A group of students are inventing a "jalapeno popper" which is a cross between a bell pepper and a jalapeno pepper. The group has been cross breeding the plants for five seasons and are a few seasons away from a final product. The group was photographed at the student farm where they meet every Tuesday to tend to the plants and discuss their progress. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

PIRI Grantees 2022-2023

Learn About the 2022-2023 PIRI Grant Recipients

The Public Impact Research Initiative (PIRI) was established through Public Scholarship and Engagement (PSE) to recognize and support research that is cogenerated with community partners, is of mutual benefit, and has a positive public impact.

Yolo Family Poverty Reduction Pilot

Associate Professor Catherine Brinkley, Center for Regional Change and Department of Human Ecology, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, with collaborator Associate Professor Vikram Koundinya, Department of Human Ecology.
Partners: Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency and Yolo County Children’s Alliance

This project supports a pilot program focused on families experiencing homelessness with children under the age of five.

Stewarding and Improving Asian Specialty Crops with Second Generation Seeds

Assistant Professor Ga Young Chung, Department of Asian American Studies, College of Letters and Sciences, with collaborators Professor E. Charles Brummer, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Katharina Ullmann, Director, UC Davis Student Farm, Antonia Palkovic, Researcher, Department of Plant Sciences, and Laura Roser, Junior Specialist, Department of Plant Sciences.
Partner: Second Generation Seeds

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have long contributed to California agriculture and cuisine, but the legacy of sociopolitical challenges, including exclusionary land and citizenship laws, low working wages, and language barriers in accessing resources still impacts AAPI farmers today (Tsu 2013; Garcia 2012; Daniels 2011).

Empowering Young Female Scientists: A Collaboration with Davis Senior High School

Associate Professor Jennifer Funk, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.
Partner: Davis Senior High School

Scientific research experiences for high school and undergraduate students enhance educational outcomes, including increased content retention and broadening participation and diversity in science.

Youth-Elder Cartographic & Cultural Encounters in Northern Guatemala

Associate Professor Liza Grandia, Department of Native American Studies, College of Letters and Sciences.
Partner: ACDIP, the Indigenous Peasant Association for the Integrated Development of Peten

In reciprocal collaboration with a Q’eqchi’ peasant federation in northern Guatemala representing 162 villages (roughly one tenth of the country’s territory), this project will continue our preparation of a Q'eqchi' Atlas for mapping land use in their autonomous indigenous villages as a planning tool for climate reforestation and sacred site protection.

UC Davis-Huron Middle School Partnership for Promoting Mental Health Resilience in Middle School

Assistant Professor Maciel Hernandez, Department of Human Ecology, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences.
Partner: Huron Middle School

Latinx youth in the United States, which are about 50% of children in California, often face limited academic opportunities and heightened health disparities (Santacrose et al., 2021; Yosso & Solórzano, 2006).

Stacking Solar Energy and Ecological Systems for Public Powerful Impacts Through Co-Development

Associate Professor Rebecca Hernandez, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources with collaborators Associate Professor Majdi Abou Najm and Assistant Professor Rebecca Lybrand, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Assistant Professor Steven M. Grodsky, Cornell University, Lydia Jennings, Postdoctoral Scholar at University of Arizona, and UC Davis graduate student Yudi Li.
Partners: Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Electric Power Research Institute (EPR), Xerces Society

Recognizing the potential impacts of ecological restoration at ground- mounted solar energy facilities in California for biodiversity conservation (e.g., pollinators, California tiger salamander) and ecosystem service delivery (e.g., soil carbon sequestration, visual amenity) to the local community, project partners (Wild Energy Initiative, UC Davis; Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Electric Power Research Institute; Xerces Society, local tribes) seek to pursue the co-development of two novel experimental demonstration sites at two ground-mounted solar energy sites: UC Davis (monofacial) and Rancho Seco II (bifacial).

The Murky Politics of Clean Air in the San Joaquin Valley

Associate Professor Jonathan London, Department of Human Ecology, College of Agricultural & Environmental sciences.
Partner: Central California Environmental Justice Network

This project will document the impacts of the implementation of a new state law (Assembly Bill 617) that seeks to improve air quality and public health in some of the most overburdened communities in the state.

Open Letters from Prison: Mobilizing Communities of Collective Care

Assistant Professor Benjamin D. Weber, Department of African American and African Studies, College of Letters and Sciences, and collaborator Assistant Professor Ofelia Ortiz Cuevas, Department of Chicana/o Studies, College of Letters and Sciences.
Partner: California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP)

Growing out a year-long collaboration between UC Davis faculty, students, and staff and California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) members, this project seeks to amplify the voices and expand the reach of Open Letters Writing Group members inside four California prisons by creating and distributing a special issue of The Fire Inside prison newsletter featuring their original writing and artwork.

Meeting Health Needs of Newly Arrived Afghan Refugees: The Impact of Cultural Health Navigation

Serena Yang, Professor and Division Chief, General Pediatrics; Vice Chair, Community Engagement, Dept of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, with collaborator Michael Wilkes, Director of Global Health, School of Medicine.
Partner: Opening Doors, Inc.

Sacramento has the largest community of Afghan refugees in the country, which has continued to grow with the newest wave of refugee resettlement following the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan in Aug 2021.