layout University Affiliated Research Center - UC Santa Cruz - NASA Ames Research Center

About the UARC

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the UARC?

The University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) is a performance-based task order research contract between NASA Ames and the University of California that is managed by the Santa Cruz campus. The UARC was established to increase the safety, effectiveness, and scientific impact of NASA's missions through the infusion of new technologies and research knowledge. The UARC's primary mission is to perform mission driven multi-disciplinary, integrative research and technology development that supports NASA's long term program requirements. An additional objective in creating the UARC was to foster scientific collaboration between UC faculty and students with NASA Ames scientists.

When did it begin, how long will it last, how large is it, and where is it?

The UARC began September 15, 2003 as a ten year contract. It is currently operating in extension years. The UARC management offices are in the open campus of the NASA Research Park adjacent to the Silicon Valley Center in historic Building 19 at Moffett Field. The majority of the staff and students are located at NASA Ames Research Center.

How does it operate?

NASA Ames requests that the UARC conduct research on tasks in one of five technology areas: Aerospace Systems (which includes air traffic management and rotorcraft research), Earth Sciences, Information Sciences, Space Sciences, and Nanotechnology.  The UARC responds with a Task Plan.  The UARC determines the appropriate staffing level and associated proposed budget.  Most work is conducted by 140 UC Santa Cruz employees hired by the UARC that are collocated with NASA collaborators at the NASA Ames facilities.

How many tasks?

The UARC manages 35 - 40 tasks annually that are assigned to one of two categories. Alt I tasks (1/3 of the total) address fundamental research without restrictions on publications. Alt II tasks (2/3 of the total) require NASA review and approval of all publications before they can be released. UC policy prevents faculty and students from working on Alt II tasks.

Who can I contact for further information?

Please visit our contacts page to view a list of UARC staff members who can help with questions regarding the UARC.

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