The Air Resources Board (CARB) awarded about $850,000 in research grants to UC Davis and UC Berkeley last week to study health impacts from poor air quality in California, adding to a number of grants provided to UC campuses in recent years. According to board member Dean Florez, this follows a trend of awarding scholars outside of the Central Valley, a region that tops the list for the nation’s worst air quality.

“It always feels like Berkeley, UCLA and some of the other institutions have a big handle on the research dollars,” said Florez. He asked whether “the only big brains in the world are at our UC system” and encouraged staff to reach out to colleges in Fresno and Bakersfield, though he did not mention UC Merced.

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“How do we forge a relationship with our research institutions that are literally in the Central Valley around these large inland port hubs?” he said.

Two board members are affiliated with UC Davis and had to abstain from voting on the grants.