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UC Merced receives $100K grant from Wells Fargo
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A generous grant from Wells Fargo will go towards funding University of California, Merced students’ efforts to devise technological solutions to water, energy, and food issues pertinent to the Central Valley.

The Wells Fargo’s Clean Technology and Innovation Grant, which totals to $100,000, was awarded to UC Merced’s School of Engineering on Monday as part of the company’s ongoing effort to encourage technology advancements for a clean energy future.

The money will go towards funding the school’s Water, Energy, Food Challenge, which gives student teams the opportunity to develop preliminary designs in order to solve challenges determined by community members and agricultural companies.

“Investing in UC Merced’s Water, Energy, Food Challenge makes sense because it aligns with Wells Fargo’s vision and values to foster economic development and accelerate the global green economy,” said Wells Fargo Central Valley President Sandy Raco. “Additionally, this program provides Valley students the opportunity to learn about real-time issues affecting our community and, more importantly, take steps to help solve them.”

The aforementioned challenge is conducted under the senior Innovation and Design Clinic (IDC) program. Upon completion, students will present their designs at the annual Innovate to Grow competition at the end of the spring semester.

Among projects included in this year’s challenge is an automated ion-exchange system for water production for the California Department of Water Resources; a low-flow siphon and spillway hydraulics for Pilcarcitos Dam under the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission; and an automated system to plant sweet potatoes for O&S Farms.

Winning contestants will receive a number of prizes, places in the UC Entrepreneurship Academy, as well as invitations to join UC Merced’s startup incubator, which launched this year.

Since 2012, the Wells Fargo Clean Technology and Innovation grant has supported the company’s goal to provide $100 million to environmentally focused nonprofits, colleges, and universities by 2020.