AI is an enabling technology that can help us develop the next generation of intelligent farm equipment and implements. These machines could potentially be more efficient, easier to operate and could reduce production costs

– Professor Reza Ehsani (pictured)

Photo caption: A machine developed in Professor Reza Ehsani's lab improves almond harvests by reducing the amount of dust stirred up as the nuts are gathered from the ground.

New AgAID Institute Expands UC Merced’s Smart, Sustainable Agriculture Effort

With a new $20 million federal grant, UC Merced becomes part of a multi-institutional research collaborative to develop artificial intelligence — or AI — solutions to tackle some of agriculture’s biggest challenges related to water management, climate change and integration of new technology into farming.

The new institute is one of 11 launched this year by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and among two funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The newly announced AgAID Institute is shorthand for the collaborative USDA-NIFA Institute for Agricultural AI for Transforming Workforce and Decision Support.

UC Merced Leads Innovative Effort to Secure Water for Agriculture and Ecosystems

The USDA has given UC Merced its largest single grant, $10 million over the next five years, to form the Securing a Climate Resilient Water Future for Agriculture and Ecosystems through Innovations in Measurement, Management and Markets (SWIM) collaborative, focusing on developing more robust, data-driven information systems for decision-makers such as land and water managers; train graduate students; and enhance UC Merced’s college-going pipeline to train future generations of researchers and decision makers.

There are a lot of challenges in balancing the needs of agriculture and ecosystems, and climate change and drought are only exacerbating difficult decisions about how to sustain water resources




Future of Food Innovation

$30,000,000 shall be provided to the University of California, Merced Future of Food Innovation Fund for the collaboration with California State University (CSU), Fresno and other partners to establish the Innovation Center for Research and Entrepreneurship in Ag-Food Technology and Engineering.

experimental smart farm

$10,000,000 shall be available to UC Merced to establish a Center on Food Resilience through Equity, Sustainability, and Health (FRESH) and a Center of Analytic Political Engagement (CAPE).

Naughton Lab Creates Dashboard to Track Global Wastewater Testing for Covid-19

Naughton’s lab created an online dashboard titled “COVIDPoops19” to plot the location of global wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 during the pandemic. With the help of graduate and undergraduate students, Naughton's team scanned Twitter, publications, news articles and webinars to find the latest information on testing results. The dashboard was made possible through an emergency seed grant from CITRIS and now a sub-award from Michigan State University as part of a global data center for COVID-19 wastewater monitoring.

The pandemic is awful, but it made me want to help and apply my expertise,” Naughton said. “It is a good thing that we are able to monitor community spread in this way




NSF Awards CCBM Center $5 Million to Continue STEM Research

UC Merced’s NSF-CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines (CCBM) has been awarded an additional $5 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue its mission. In total, the NSF has invested $10 million in the center, an indicator of the importance of the Center’s work and its faculty, student and staff contributions. The CCBM, which is funded as a Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology, was established in 2016 at UC Merced, and brings together scientists and engineers from bioengineering, physics, chemistry, materials science, molecular cell biology and applied math.

centers & institutes