Chancellor’s Innovation Impact Awards Program

The UC Santa Cruz Chancellor’s Innovation Impact Awards Program (IIAP) recognizes and celebrates university faculty, researchers, staff, students, and community partners for their valuable contributions to innovations that have catalyzed transformative change and societal impact.

IIAP appreciates that innovation emerges from all academic disciplines and areas of study – the arts, engineering, humanities, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences – and broadly reflects the development of new or improved technologies and tools, products and services, artistic and creative works, systems and processes, and business models. Innovation impact occurs through implementation, adoption, and disruption that creates value, addresses unmet needs, advances social change, and improves lives.

The 2023 recipients have been announced. Stay tuned for nominations in 2024.

The IIAP recognizes contributions and provides awards in three main categories:

  1. Innovator of the Year – recognizes faculty and associated project teams that may include staff and students for their work on innovations that, in the past 12 months, have resulted in a demonstrated societal impact or have reached a key milestone that positions the innovations for near-term societal impact. Up to two awardees are recognized in this category and the lead faculty member’s lab or project receives a $10,000 research award to further advance their innovative work. Nominations for this category are collected through an open call and can be submitted by UC Santa Cruz faculty, staff, and students; no self-nominations will be accepted. 
  2. Lifetime Achievement in Innovation – recognizes a faculty member whose career accomplishments include innovations that have led to significant, long-term societal impact and who is an inspiration and positive influence for students and colleagues. The recipient receives an award of $5,000 to direct to a division, department, or lab of their choosing to support innovative research activities. Nominations for this category are provided by the IIAP Review Committee.
  3. Community Changemaker – recognizes an external leader or organization in the Santa Cruz region that has contributed significantly to driving regional economic prosperity through innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, or support for growing the innovation ecosystem in close collaboration with the university. Nominations for this category are provided by the IIAP Review Committee.

Awardees are selected by the chancellor, campus provost and executive vice chancellor, and vice chancellor for research, informed by input from the IIAP Review Committee. The committee is chaired by the assistant vice chancellor for Innovation & Business Engagement and also includes one representative identified by each of the following: dean of the Division of the Arts, dean of the Division of Humanities, dean of the Division of Physical & Biological Sciences, dean of the Division of Social Sciences, dean of the Baskin School of Engineering and vice chancellor for the Office of Research. In addition, the previous cycle’s Innovator of the Year awardees will be invited to participate on the IIAP Review Committee.

IIAP is managed by the Innovation & Business Engagement Hub.

See the Chancellor’s Innovation Impact Award recipients from the 2022 cycle

Last modified: Apr 23, 2024