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Public Service Research Program

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The Public Service Research Program


The Public Service Research Program (PSRP) is a unit in the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment that fosters science outreach and communication and prepares students for careers as environmental professionals and scholars within or beyond academia. This section presents some history of PSRP and describes the evolution to the present programs and initiatives.

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Our Approach

The "Fully Engaged" University: Universities are at a critical time in their existence, and there is a widespread and sustained call for a re-thinking of university engagement in the issues and problems of society. PSRP since its beginning has addressed the question of how universities, especially Land Grant ones, contribute to society for the improvement of the public good.

The focus on outreach or engagement, as it is also called, is an essential element of the UC Davis academic mission. To do scholarly outreach is to engage with public entities on issues of concern to the university and society at large. In former Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef's words the mission is to "create real partnerships with our communities, partnerships in which we define problems together, share goals and agendas, develop common definitions of success, and pool or leverage University, public and private funds."

The Public Service Research Program addresses environmental issues at the interface of research and scholarly outreach and contributes to the translation of science for the betterment of society. Goals are to increase the public understanding of science and the environment, to apply university-based knowledge and research findings about the environment to real world problem-solving, and to get science into decision-making. The Program also focuses within UC Davis to increase the capacity of university members, particularly graduate students, to conduct environmental outreach, to collaborate with communities, public entities, and policy makers for improved decision-making, and to practice scholarly and civic engagement. Partnerships, projects, and research focus primarily in California. 

Photo: Program History

Program History

PSRP has been on the UC Davis campus since 1976 creating bridges on issues of public concern between the university and the world beyond, from government entities and policy makers, to other institutions of higher education, to communities and the general public. The Sacramento Connection was critical in the early years as PSRP explored ways to connect researchers with agency scientists and decision makers to address critical issues facing California. PSRP was instrumental in the formation and management of the Putah-Cache Bioregion Project.

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Current and past directors and staff


Photo: Contact Information

Contact Information

John Muir Institute of the Environment
The Barn
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 752-5643
(530) 754- 9141 Fax