As the United States reflects on Black history and great leaders in February, UCLA experts are at work researching equality and access in society.

National Science Foundation funding favors white researchers

Aradhna Tripati
Tripati, who is the faculty director and founder of the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, researches and teaches about climate change across multiple departments in the physical and environmental sciences at UCLA. In collaborative research led by early career fellow and geoscientist Christine Chen at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and colleagues from multiple institutions, their recent research found racial disparities in National Science Foundation funding.

“Over the last two decades, white researchers have usually been funded by the National Science Foundation at higher rates than researchers from other groups, including Black, Latinx and Asian applicants. It’s unfairly pushing out good scientists and erasing the desperately needed variety of perspectives we need to solve pressing societal problems and innovate in science.”

There’s an obligation to ensure that education drives social mobility

Tyrone Howard
Howard is the Pritzker Family Professor of Education to Strengthen Families at the UCLA School of Education & Information Studies. His research addresses issues tied to race, culture, access and educational opportunity for minoritized student populations. Howard is incoming president of the American Educational Research Association Education.


“Educational inequities continue to be a staple in our schools across Los Angeles. Transforming educational policy and practice must be a priority. We must develop the courage and political will to recognize the link between poor education outcomes and racialized poverty. Malcolm X said that ‘education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.’ We must do a better job preparing our youth for tomorrow.”

Leverage the housing market to solve the housing crisis

Michael Lens
Lens is associate professor of urban planning and public policy, and associate faculty director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. His research and teaching explore the potential of public policy to address housing market inequities that lead to negative outcomes for low-income families and communities of color.

“A profound aspect of our housing crisis is how it reflects our devaluation of Black property and Black life. The history is long and complex, but the present is clear enough — in Los Angeles Blacks are seven times more likely to experience homelessness as the rest of the population. Such disparities require many solutions all at once, but one is to better leverage the very housing markets that produced some of these negative outcomes in the first place. That is very counterintuitive for many but inevitably necessary.”

The legacy of UCLA alumnus and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Ralph Bunche

Kal Raustiala
Raustiala is director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations and professor of law. He recently published the book “The Absolutely Indispensable Man: Ralph Bunche, the United Nations, and the Fight to End Empire.”

“Ralph Bunche, the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize, fought to end empires abroad and racial injustice at home. He said, ‘In a true sense, the Black Americans’ struggle for equality and full citizenship, for freedom, is a continuation of the American revolution. That revolution has not yet been fulfilled for all Americans.’