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New Top-Ranked ARCS Program Answers Big Questions About Earth’s Future

Posted on Tuesday, March 10, 2020

University of California, Davis Graduate Group Approved for Funding from ARCS Foundation

LaGrange, GA—March 10, 2020. ARCS is pleased to announce it has approved a new interdisciplinary program of study within the University of California, Davis (UC Davis): The Soils and Biogeochemistry Graduate Group (SBG). This program marks the 612th approved program for ARCS Scholar Award funding across its 49 top ranking US universities for science, technology, mathematics, and medical research. 

The program was approved by ARCS National University Relations Committee during the January 2020 National Board Meeting in Tempe, Arizona, for its distinguished efforts to involve its students in cutting edge scientific research focused on one of Earth’s most important resources, soil. SBG is ranked second in Ecology/Evolutionary Biology by the US News & World Report America’s Best Graduate Schools 2020 and second in Agriculture and Forestry according to QS World University Rankings 2020.

Hosted in UC Davis’s Land, Air and Water Resources Department, the SBG group explores the physical, chemical, and geological reactions to a natural environment. Students and faculty work to answer big questions such as how to feed nine billion people by 2050 with less land and how to increase production while maintaining soil health. Students also research and evaluate the impact of forest disturbances and explore practices that help capture carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The size and diversity of interests of the faculty allow specialization in a number of fields including environmental quality, general soil science, and soil-plant-water relations.

Students in the graduate group have the opportunity to study soil conditions locally in California, regionally in the United States, and globally in international projects. “Their jobs now and in the future involve finding solutions for humans to live in this crowded space without degrading the planet,” said Department Chair, Dr. Anthony “Toby” O’Green.“These students are mother nature’s superheroes.”

The graduate group joins a growing number of approved interdisciplinary programs that are now eligible for unrestricted support for ARCS Scholars conducting basic research within the programs. Nationally respected faculty in the program include experts in agriculture and biosystems engineering; environmental science and policy; environmental science and policy; and plant sciences.

“More and more of our ARCS approved programs are interdisciplinary,” said Linda Celesia, Chair of the National University Relations Committee. Interdisciplinary programs combine traditional coursework with social or clinical experience, cutting across fields of study. This multi-purpose focus leads to a more advanced understanding of the subject and propels research and American Competitiveness in STEM forward.

To read the full list of approved academic partners and their University programs, follow this link.


About ARCS® Foundation: ARCS Foundation is a national nonprofit volunteer women’s organization that promotes US competitiveness by providing financial awards to academically outstanding US citizens studying to complete degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and health disciplines at 49 of the nation’s leading research universities. The organization has awarded more than $115 million to more than 10,500 scholars since 1958. ARCS Foundation Scholar have produced thousands of research publications and patents, secured billions in grant funding, started science-related companies, and played a significant role in teaching and mentoring young people in the STEM pipeline. More information is available at