Finding Solutions for Communities in Developing Countries

The Blum Center for Developing Economies, now present across all University of California campuses through the UC Blum Federation, started at UC Davis in 2010. The center complements our unique strengths in Agriculture, Engineering, Environmental Science, Public Health, and Veterinary Medicine in funding vital hands-on learning experiences for our students—and in finding solutions that have a lasting and tangible impact on communities of people living in poverty. 

Martin Kailie, Peter Nasielski, and Dana Armstrong in Sierra Leone.
Dana Armstrong, international agricultural development graduate student (right), and Peter Nasielski, design and sustainable environmental design undergraduate student (center), used Blum Center grants to team up with 2017 UC Davis Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow Martin Kailie (left) to test ethanol fuel as a more sustainable source for cooking in Kailie's home country of Sierra Leone.

Transforming Students into Leaders

Through high-quality education, hands-on application, innovation across disciplines, and competitive grants, the Blum Center provides experiential learning opportunities that focus on service and foster the intercultural capacity and professional skills of our students.

The Blum Center partners with UC Davis colleges and schools to provide grant opportunities to all students. Over 200 students have taken on projects in a range of fields, including but not limited to:

  • Renewable energy
  • Food security
  • Water access
  • Education
  • Social inequality
  • Human, animal, and environmental health

By stepping out of their comfort zones to tackle projects in these complex fields, students contribute to a better world while developing resilience, empathy, and critical thinking skills.

blum center student
Carolina Tavarez Varela (center) was awarded Blum Center grants as an undergraduate and graduate student for education projects in Haiti. The experiences sparked her passion to start a non-profit aimed at increasing language learning and high school graduation rates.

Sponsoring Student Experiences that Better the World

Linking academic curriculum, innovative technologies, and service learning, the Blum Center provides UC Davis students with opportunities to receive invaluable awards to take on their entrepreneurial projects. Grants are paired with seminars and mentorship programs, enabling students to develop the skills needed to thrive in being agents of social change.

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  • Big Bang! Competition

    The Blum Center sponsors an $8,000 prize for the Graduate School of Management's Big Bang! Business Competition, to support innovations designed to improve the quality of life for small-scale farmers in developing areas. Awarded projects consider solutions for social, financial, regional, cultural, and environmental challenges.

    Big Ideas

    The Blum Center at UC Davis participates in the University of California's Big Ideas contest, an annual opportunity of the Blum Federation that aims to provide funding, support, and guidance to interdisciplinary teams of students with "big ideas" that have promise to make an impact around the world.

    Tech for Social Good

    The Blum Center also partners with the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), Center for Regional Change, and Institute for Social Sciences on the Tech for Social Good Program, which provides: up to $5,000 for interdisciplinary student teams to develop pilot projects for underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world; and grants up to $1,000 for student clubs to host hackathons, guest speakers, conferences and events that promote healthy, connected and sustainable livelihoods

    Worldwide Child Relief Foundation Fellowship

    The Worldwide Child Relief Foundation (WCRF) helps communities in Nicaragua become economically self-sustaining. Fellows work in La Calle Real, Nicaragua, developing programs and activities for a newly constructed Community Development Center.

Contact Information

More Information

For information on more Blum Center opportunities, as well as application details, deadlines, and contact information, visit the center's website.