Strategic Research Projects

Electrification of Transport: Challenges and Opportunities for the US-Mexico Transportation Industry

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gil Tal – Director, The Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle (PH&EV) Research Center, UC Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS); Professor, UC Davis

This project aims to create a Mexico-US High-level Task Force for the Electrification of Transport, to develop a managed industry transition that ensures prosperity, competitiveness, and inclusion for the US-Mexico auto industry.

Existing pressures to reduce emissions and transition towards electrification provide an opportunity to enhance the North American auto industry’s global competitiveness. Both Mexico and the United States face essential policy decisions that will affect the production of electric vehicles and the management of natural resources required for the production and recycling of rechargeable batteries.

To inform the organization of this task force, this project asks several critical research questions:

Can the existing US-Mexico auto production infrastructure be used to produce electric vehicles at competitive prices, especially vis-à-vis China?

Do current trade relationships and the emerging principle of "nearshoring" favor investment in the EV sector in Mexico, or are additional policies required?

Can Mexico attract EV systems suppliers to create a locally robust supply chain infrastructure, from car manufacturing to extraction of minerals for batteries?

What types of coordinated action does the North American auto industry require to address the disruptions associated with the rapid adoption of EVs?

The goals of this research include the following:

Identify the challenges raised by the electrification of transport

Propose a roadmap with policy recommendations for transforming these challenges into opportunities

Engage stakeholders to facilitate coordinated actions between Mexico and the United States

Strategic Research Projects

The Economics of US-Mexico Migration: Policies, Opportunities for Employment, and Economic Growth

Principal Investigator: Dr. Giovanni Peri – Director, UC Davis Global Migration Center; Professor of Economics, UC Davis

This project aims to create a binational graduate program in the economics of international migration and to propose policies and actions that will maximize the growth and employment potential of immigrant workers, students, and professionals, as well as to evaluate their impact on the communities where they live.

The large diaspora population of Mexican-origin migrants to the United States (about 11 million born in Mexico and up to 40 million second-generation individuals and those of Mexican origin) is a highly significant potential asset for both the US and Mexican economies. However, changes in the dynamics of Mexican migration to the United States over the past decade require analyzing the economic impact of emergent trends.

The focus of this research includes the following topics:

Strength of the Mexican diaspora and its impact on US and Mexican local economics

Immigrant labor force and its effect on US productivity

Changing mobility of Mexicans in the United States in response to economic shocks

The economic effects of regularizing undocumented migrants in the United States

The transition of immigrants in the United States from college to the labor force

The goals of this research include the following:

Organize and host multi-campus, bi-national zoom seminars with faculty and students

Produce academic papers that enrich our understanding of core topics in the economics of migration and give scientific visibility to this group

Consolidate research partnerships between UC campuses and Mexican institutions, especially departments of Economics and Business

Produce policy briefs that provide crucial recommendations to policymakers and stakeholders on both sides of the border

Strategic Research Projects

Water Resources Management in Agriculture and Ecosystems: Improving Climate-Extreme Resilience in Mexico and the United States

Principal Investigator: Dr. José Medellín-Azuara

Associate Director, Agricultural Issues Center; Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Merced

This project aims to explore promising water management alternatives for agriculture, ecosystems, and communities in response to climate extremes, with a strong emphasis on groundwater. It will match case studies from California and Mexico, organize workshops to compare research findings and prepare proposals for outside funding. 

Recent global climate extremes have highlighted the rapidly changing conditions that affect water supply, particularly in semi-arid regions. The geographies of California and Mexico provide compelling opportunities to study how water resource availability and demand are affected by policy actions and system shocks. California has a long history of precision irrigation, water conservation, managed aquifer recharge, and water recycling, but it also has much to learn from Mexican water governance and decentralization.

This project will support ongoing research in critical areas:

Drought resilience and groundwater management

Effects of climate extremes on hydrology

Water management and farm labor

The goals of this research include the following:

Extend collaboration to expand the user base of applied research, providing policy and management insights through open access web-based platforms

Establish or enhance enduring research links between Mexican and US researchers, including faculty, staff, and students

Produce research reports and outreach products that inform policy discussions on management strategies and potential alternatives for managing drought, groundwater sustainability, and sustainable agro-ecosystems

Strategic Research Projects

Projects in the Pipeline

Several other Strategic Research Projects have been selected for support by Alianza MX, and more information will be shared on these projects shortly. They include the following:

Reimagining Ecological Planning and Placemaking in the Binational San Diego – Tijuana City Region

AI for Oceans: A Binational Partnership to Create Solutions for Shared Ocean Health Challenges

Data Science for Sustainable Cities in Mexico and the United States

Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship for Mexican Academic Entities and Research Institutes

Additional Information

Alianza MX is currently accepting proposals for additional Strategic Research Projects.
The application for Strategic Research Projects can be found here.
 

For questions on the scope and administration of ongoing Strategic Research Projects, or for inquiries regarding proposals, please contact Aaron Melaas, Alianza MX Associate Director for Research & Innovation, at aaron.melaas@ucr.edu.