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UC Global Food Initiative: Multi-campus Asset Mapping Testbed

The UC San Diego Bioregional Center for Sustainability Science, Planning and Design has recently launched a Multi-Campus Asset Mapping testbed. Researchers from UC San Francisco, UC Davis and UC Merced are collaborating on a pilot project lead by UC San Diego to test, learn from, and improve, asset mapping aimed at strengthening food system research and cross-campus collaboration across the UC system. This testbed is funded by the wider UC Global Food Initiative (UCGFI).

 The UCGFI strives to align the University of California’s research, outreach and operations to develop, demonstrate and export solutions for local and global food security, health and sustainability. The initiative seeks to build upon and existing collaborations and create new networks amongst the UC’s ten campuses, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. This is in order to translate research into policy, helping communities to eat more sustainably in the face of a changing climate, whilst protecting cultural heritage and practices.

The multi-campus testbed sees each campus submit a statement of work for their research before funding is distributed via UCSD. This funding will enable the development of a variety of surveys which will feed asset maps on topic areas identified in the statement of work. This work will learn from UCSD’s development of the AGILE Network, Advocating Green Infrastructure for Learning and Equity.

Primarily, each campus will contribute to the compilation of a gallery of GFI expertise for campuses participating in the pilot. Authors active in GFI-related areas, their papers, and co-authors from each campus will be collected using Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG). This helps the testbed analyze existing collaborations and suggest additional promising areas for collaboration. The information gathered from the MAG will reflect specific strengths of each campus. This is based upon a set of search phrases each campus provides to aid in retrieving information from MAG.

UCSD Faculty Gallery of researchers working on food systems
UCSD Faculty Gallery for food systems research

The team at UC San Diego and its Bioregional Center are providing the interested campus collaborative leaders with an adjustable process model and technical instrumentation that can be tailored to distinct campus interests/needs/values. This comes from UCSD’s experience in developing its AGILE network.

The three other campuses in the Asset Mapping testbed have now submitted their statements of work and are developing their surveys. Meanwhile UCSD is “scraping” public sites based on campus provided search phrases to build out the tool’s database. Early cross-pollinating of the asset maps will be part of this work to see where the synergy lies. UCSD will work with campuses to train on tool functionality and how to continue to grow their database.