Preserving Quality Research at the University of California
UC's diversion of an estimated $16.2 million in funds budgeted for professional researcher salaries over the past six years raises serious questions about University accountability to its public and private funding agencies. It also raises serious questions about the University's commitment to its research mission.
Quality research is the result of a team effort. The 3,800 UC research professionals are the central part of the research team, providing day-to-day implementation and management of UC research projects. The astounding turnover rate among research professionals threatens the quality and productivity of this research.
As a result of stagnating salaries and increased at-will, temporary employment, skilled, experienced research professionals are leaving UC for more lucrative career opportunities in the private sector. Their departure results in serious delay and setback in critical research programs.
By allocating salary funds as intended and reversing the policy of temporary employment, UC could make significant progress in preserving quality research.
All stakeholders - citizens who depend on the findings of UC research, private organizations, taxpayers, and policymakers at all levels of government - share a common concern that the University be held to high standards of accountability for the way in which it spends research grant monies. This accountability has been glaringly absent in the University's diversion of funds budgeted for researcher compensation.
Further, all stakeholders share a common concern that the University reverse its misguided management policies and take concrete action to reaffirm its commitment to staff retention as a foundation for quality research.