About Us

The Pacific Rim Research Program is a multi-campus program established to encourage Pacific Rim research on the ten campuses of the University of California. It sponsors a competitive grants program that provides funds for University of California faculty and graduate students who do research on Pacific Rim topics in a variety of disciplines.

Its priorities are: (1) comparative investigation across national, cultural, linguistic and/or regional boundaries; (2) focus on interactions, flows, or major issues affecting the Pacific Rim region and specific to it; (3) collaboration of scholars in different countries and, where appropriate, different disciplines. Multi-disliplinary, multi-region research is encouraged. Proposals will be evaluated for scholarly merit, originality, purpose, relationship to existing research, theoretical framework, methodology, participants’ qualifications and roles, adequacy of available resources, budget justification, anticipated products, schedule, and dissemination plan.


The Pacific Rim Research Program was established to help focus the University of California's intellectual resources toward the study of the Pacific Rim as a distinctive region. For the purposes of this Program, the Pacific Rim includes all states and nations that border the Pacific Ocean. Taking as its premise the proposition that the increasing interaction among the peoples and states of the Pacific Rim generates new issues of common concern, the Program places priority on research that is new, unique and specific to the region and that fosters the development of scholarly collaboration across national boundaries and among disciplines.


The systemwide nature of the Pacific Rim Research Program is reflected in its advisory and governance structure. Its Executive Committee is composed of a representative of each of the ten campuses and the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources program. It is chaired by a Director selected by a search committee after a systemwide competition, and appointed by the Vice-President for Research. Executive Committee members are appointed by the Executive Vice-Chancellors of the campuses after consultation with the PRRP Director and the relevant constituencies on their own campuses. The Executive Committee reflects the range of disciplines and area expertise supported by the program.

Executive Committee members will serve staggered terms of up to five years. The Director is appointed for a five-year term. For their duration of service, the Director and members of the Executive Committee forgo the opportunity to apply to any of the Pacific Rim Research Program granting competitions.


Approximately $450,000 per year is available for Pacific Rim grants. Three categories of grants are awarded: (1) Faculty Initiative grants, inthe range of $30-50,000 which may be expended over mulitiple years; (2) Faculty Research/Planning Grants, in amounts up to $25,000; and (3) Advanced Graduate Student Research Fellowships in amounts up to $20,000.

Projects Funded 1986-2014

Over 800 projects have been funded since the inception of the program, involving over 500 University of California faculty, 300 graduate students, and well over 350 scholars from institutions on both sides of the Pacific and in both northern and southern hemispheres. Projects have addressed questions as varied as how to control infectious diseases across vast distances and cultural gulfs, how to re-engineer industry to compete in a multi-national regional economy, and how to comprehend cultural fusion taking place in the arts. Research foci have included aspects of environmental science, education policy, and psychology; issues related to cross cultural communication and second language acquisition; and the impact, across regions, of film, dance, music, oral performance and literature. Projects have addressed both historical and contemporary issues, and have demonstrated how historical events shaped modern perceptions in the region.


Awardees have reported over 600 publications and research reports, with many more in progress. Over 100 conferences and research workshops have also involved hundreds of participants from around the world. The Program has also published a Program Brochure, Currents newsletter series and The Pacific Rim States Asian Demographic Data Book in conjunction with UC Data Archive and Technical Assistance at Berkeley.

Campus Impact

The Program has strengthened existing faculty research on Pacific issues and has attracted faculty who have not previously worked in this region to undertake new lines of research. It has been particularly useful in enabling University of California faculty to establish relationships with faculty in institutions around the Pacific. Because most research grants include allocations for graduate research assistants, the Program has also become a vehicle for training a new generation of researchers who will have a regional perspective from the earliest stages of their careers. And by accepting proposals from all disciplines, the Program has helped to diminish the barriers between "area studies" and disciplinary concerns.