University of California Firearm Violence Research Center
About the University of California Firearm Violence Research Center (UCFC)
Firearm violence is a significant health and social problem in California and across the United States. The lack of basic information on the epidemiology of firearm violence and its prevention has led to widespread misunderstanding of the problem and has impeded prevention efforts. Evidence of the effects of state policies and programs for reducing firearm violence as well as basic information on benefits, risks, and prevalence of firearm ownership in California are also lacking.
The University of California Firearm Violence Research Center (UCFC) is the first state-funded center for firearm violence research, founded to address these gaps in knowledge on firearm violence and its prevention in July 2017.
UCFC, according to Section 14231 of the California Penal Code: the California Firearm Violence Research Act, will conduct interdisciplinary work to address:
- The nature of firearm violence, including individual and societal determinants of risk for involvement in firearm violence, whether as a victim or a perpetrator.
- The individual, community, and societal consequences of firearm violence.
- Prevention and treatment of firearm violence at the individual, community, and societal levels.
In addition to rigorous research on firearm violence, UCFC is dedicated to its role in policy development, public dissemination of research findings, training of new investigators in the field of firearm violence, and supporting non-UCFC investigators conducting firearm violence research through its small grants program.
UCFC is located at UC Davis, with Dr. Garen Wintemute as its director. The UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, which for more than thirty years has conducted firearm research and policy development, will closely work with UCFC and provide unique opportunities; VPRP core investigators come have a variety of backgrounds related to firearms and firearm policy, including medicine, epidemiology, statistics and biostatistics, criminology, the law, economics, and policy studies.
UCFC is supporting efforts at 3 affiliate UC campuses: Berkeley, Irvine, and Los Angeles.
UCFC Research Projects
UCFC research projects will fall within one of six domains:
- Initial or foundational research to guide future prevention efforts
- Evaluation of existing and potential policies and programs
- Assessment of other approaches to firearm violence prevention
- Exploration of important specific questions
- Research that explores new frontiers
- Research that advances the science of violence prevention
Initial projects include a study of the epidemiology of firearm violence in California, a study of the effectiveness of comprehensive background checks and denial for violent misdemeanor convictions, and a state-wide survey of firearm ownership and use and exposure to firearm violence, and a study of risk factors for recurrent firearm-related injury.
Dissemination of Research Findings
Results of UCFC research will be disseminated primarily through publication in the peer-reviewed literature. Publications may appear in peer-reviewed journals in the fields of medicine, epidemiology, public health, criminology, and public policy, among others.
UCFC research results will also be disseminated through conferences, briefings, and meetings.
Research reports and other resources related to UCFC will be made available online at the UCFC Research Findings page. The first UCFC publications and reports are expected in Summer 2018.
The center shall work on a continuing basis with policymakers in the Legislature and state agencies to identify, implement, and evaluate innovative firearm violence prevention policies and programs.
UCFC Principal Investigators will brief policymakers on the most recent research and seek to translate results of research into policies and programs for violence prevention.
The pool of junior and senior investigators of firearm violence is disproportionately small when compared with those of other public health burdens. UCFC has a unique opportunity to engage the next generation of firearm violence researchers and experts. Training this next generation is crucial for a sustained and successful firearm violence prevention effort.
To help ensure a long-term and successful effort to understand and prevent firearm violence, the center shall recruit and provide specialized training opportunities for new researchers, including experienced investigators in related fields who are beginning work on firearm violence, young investigators who have completed their education, postdoctoral scholars, doctoral students, and undergraduates.
UCFC aims to increase the number of investigators working on firearm violence research. This includes existing faculty from related fields, entry-level researchers, postdoctoral scholars, doctoral students, and others.
UCFC Small Grant Program
As a supplement to its own research, the center may administer a small grant program for research on firearm violence. All research funds shall be awarded on the basis of scientific merit as determined by an open, competitive peer review process that assures objectivity, consistency, and high quality. All qualified investigators, regardless of institutional affiliation, shall have equal access and opportunity to compete for the funds. The peer review process for the selection of grants awarded under this program shall be modeled on the process used by the National Institutes of Health in its grantmaking process.
In addition to training new investigators in firearm violence research, UCFC seeks to enlarge the pool of researchers of firearm violence through a small grant program. The small grant program will support investigators in conducting feasible, preliminary studies on firearm violence in California, in part allowing them to strengthen proposals to other sources of more substantial funding.
UCFC small grants program awards will generally be for a maximum of $10,000 over two years. Proposals will be evaluated and given an overall impact score based on:
- Significance of the proposed project
- Strengths of the team of investigators
- Project innovation
- Project approach
- Research environment
The UCFC small grant proposals will be evaluated by a joint team of UCFC investigators from various campuses. The small grants program will be administered by UC Davis staff.
More information on the UCFC small grant program applications will be available at UCFC’s website.
Key Academic Personnel
Director, Violence Prevention Research Program
Director, University of California Firearm Violence Research Center
Inaugural Susan P. Baker-Stephen P. Teret Chair in Violence Prevention
Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine
UC Los Angeles
Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences