University of California, Irvine

Spotlights on Innovation

Research areas

University of California, Irvine has an unyielding commitment to academics, innovation and leadership excellence. As a result, we've become one of the top research universities in the world with an internationally recognized faculty and integrated programs that shine. Click below to learn more about the university's Spotlights on Innovation. We will be posting new Spotlights as they are developed so please be sure to check back often.

Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel

Turning Plastic Bottles into Energy

Scientists at the University of California, Irvine have discovered a way to turn plastic bottles into energy by breaking them down to the molecular level and converting them into a readily usable fuel. It's a major breakthrough that could positively affect energy consumption and pollution across the globe.

Press release: Chemists find new way to recycle plastic waste into fuel »


Malaria-blocking Mosquitoes

Using a groundbreaking gene editing technique, UCI scientists have created a strain of mosquitoes capable of rapidly introducing malaria-blocking genes into a mosquito population through its progeny, ultimately eliminating the insects’ ability to transmit the disease to humans.

Video: Fighting Malaria with Modified Mosquitoes

Better batteries

Better Batteries in Our Future

UCI researchers have found a way to move us close to a battery that would never have to be replaced. This breakthrough could lead to batteries with greater lifespans for computers, cars and even spacecraft.

Video: What if? Nanobattery at UC Irvine »

Key Rankings

Top 10 Public University

"Top Value University" and "#1 College for Beach Lovers" by Money; "#1 Top College Doing Most for Low-Income Students" by The New York Times, and "#1 Coolest School" (again) by the Sierra Club.

UCI YouTube channel »

Heading off concussions

Using Our Heads

Our researchers are working with UCI water polo athletes to better understand the effect of head impacts during matches. Using a crash test dummy and a barrage of sensors, insights are uncovered. And a safer sport is being born.

Video: James Hicks Heading Off Concussions »

Applied Innovation’s The Cove provides entrepreneurial ecosystem under one roof

Breakthrough Business

At The Cove, UCI’s new space for collaborative venturing, students, professors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists work together to move new technologies from the idea phase to the marketplace. The result is a thriving environment for startups, job creation and local economic growth.

UCI, fellow chemists find a way to unboil eggs

Unboiling an Egg

Chemists at UCI have found a way to unboil an egg, returning solidified proteins to the original liquid state, a discovery that simplifies protein folding, a key step in therapeutic treatments for cancer.

Squid skin protein could improve biomedical technologies, UCI study shows

Squid Skin Protein

A protein in squid skin called reflectin can conduct positive electrical charges, making it useful in helping medical devices communicate with the human system.

A vision for success

A Vision for Success

Orange County has become the center of vision care research in the world, with more than 20 companies operating here. (PDF)

Water UCI

Water UCI

Dozens of faculty members in the sciences, engineering and policy promote excellence in water research, education and outreach. (PDF)

UC Irvine Means Business

Innovation and Commercialization

From enabling start-ups in high-tech and biomedical industries, to educating the next generation of global business leaders, we're tackling the issues of our changing economy. (PDF)

Brain Research

Brain Research

UCI has some of the brightest minds in the world of neuroscience looking for the next breakthrough.

School of Law

Legal triumphs

Our law school students have provided over 35,000 hours of pro bono, hands-on legal services to the underserved in our community each year. For some, that meant helping to secure safety for domestic abuse survivors and their children.

Measuring Earth's Meltdown

Greenland Research

Through underwater mapping of Greenland glaciers, UCI scientists are uncovering new information about the effects of climate change. By mapping glacial topography, they have uncovered greater exposure to warm ocean currents, which could raise sea levels higher than previously predicted.

A moveable feast for the homeless

Giving Hope

While at UCI, Ian Daelucian founded The Heart of Delight, a charity dedicated to helping homeless and low-income families get back on a rising trajectory. While there are many ways to get there, the Heart of Delight starts with a good meal.

UCI: We’re the coolest

Greenest Campus

UCI was again named the nation's No. 1 "Coolest School" by Sierra magazine, and we couldn't be more proud. More than 200 faculty and staff members are engaged in sustainability research, covering renewable energy systems, environmental challenges and air pollution.


Saving Memories

UCI's Alzheimer's disease research suggests there are many contributing factors to the reduction and severity of the disease such as lifestyle, environment and genetics. Using successful therapeutic intervention techniques to promising drug trial results, UCI is saving memories.