Research in the CSU Hero Image

Funding for Research Helps Advance CSU Student ​Success

Research, scholarship and creative activities are essential components of a Californ​ia State University education. Through these activities, the CSU advances student success, enhances faculty excellence and addresses challenges facing California and beyond.


​​At a time when external research funding for higher education is decreasing nationally, funding for the CSU has increased steadily over the past several years. In 2017-18, the CSU received nearly $648 million in external funding for faculty-led research, which is an increase from the previous year's $590 million in funding.

Unlike state funds that are used exclusively for basic university operations, faculty compete for these external funds, which are used for innovative projects that benefit local communities and prepare students for the careers of the future.

Faculty Mentor Next Generation of Scientists

Manny Flores Research Presentation

Emmanuel Flores presenting his undergraduate research project at the Emerging Researchers National Conference, which helps prepare students for science careers in a global workforce.

Faculty research benefits students, particularly as faculty weave their research into curricula and include students in the process.

Emmanuel Flores, a master's student studying biology at California State University, Fresno, says it was the guidance of his faculty mentor Tricia Van Laar, Ph.D. that first piqued his interest in research as an undergraduate student.

“I was drawn to Dr. Van Laar's lab because she was doing some pretty innovative work in biology," says Flores. “I hadn't even thought about doing research before that, but I became fascinated by the work and have developed a passion for it because of her mentorship."

While working in the Van Laar Lab as an undergraduate student, Flores conducted his own research project for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and was encouraged by Dr. Van Laar to participate in several opportunities to present his research, including at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington D.C. 

“The conference was for student researchers from underserved communities—students from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) like Fresno State," says Flores. “It was really eye-opening to participate in workshops and career networking events with fellow emerging scientists."

As the CSU works toward achieving Graduation Initiative 2025 goals of reducing time to degree, increasing graduation rates and closing equity gaps, undergraduate involvement in research plays a key role in reaching these goals.

This high-impact practice fosters skills needed to be prepared for future careers and provides significant faculty-student interactions, building relationships and resulting in better retention rates.

Learn more about how student involvement in research at the CSU benefits both students and communities by visiting the CSU's page for research, scholarship and creative activity.

CSU Faculty ​Addressing Califor​nia's Most Challenging Issues

Cutting-edge faculty-led research can be found on all 23 CSU campuses and focuses on addressing the needs of local ​communities, California and beyond. Here are just a few examples:


Understanding Fire

San José State University's Craig Clements, Ph.D., and his team with the campus' Fire Weather Research Lab are transforming wildfire research​, using meteorological techniques to study fire behavior in an effort to help battle future blazes.

Learn about SJSU's work

Defending Coastlines

California State University, Long Beach's Christine Whitcraft, Ph.D., is researching how human activities and climate change impact wetlands through the Wetlands Ecology Lab in an effort to combat rising sea levels.

 read about csulb's research

Building Better Roads​

Chico State's DingXin Chen, Ph.D., is working to find ways to preserve roadways and develop sustainable alternatives to traditional roadway materials through the California Pavement Preservation Center.

see Chico state's efforts