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CITRIS Institute for Drone Education & Research (CIDER)



Photo of CITRIS Institute for Drone Education & Research (CIDER)

The CITRIS Initiative on Drone Education and Research (CIDER) brings together diverse students, researchers, and industry partners from many sectors to fuel research and innovation, and develop a diverse drone workforce.

This initiative showcases UCSC’s growing statewide leadership role in the drone tech fields, building on regional partnerships both within academia and industry. CIDER is the first ever UC undergraduate drone academic training program that will prepare our diverse students for success in the drone and automation fields.

UCSC CIDER consists of three pillars that operate within the context of increasing and supporting DEI in the drone industry and providing first-rate experiential learning opportunities for students. Here are some of the activities that fall within each category:

Education and Training:

Experiential Learning

  • Pilot Training Program, UAV piloting and application training
  • Mentoring and leadership development from diverse program leadership
  • Data capture using a variety of sensors and drones
  • Data processing and interpretation using diverse software
  • UC Drone Camp

Future goals

Identification of drone applicable courses
Creation of Drone Minor

Research Support & Contracts:

  • Provide licensed pilots and equipment to UCSC PIs
  • UCSC community outreach and engagement
  • Coordinate complementary research and support grant submissions
  • Secure contracts with federal, state and local agencies and industry for paid work (CA State Parks, etc.)
  • Financial support of program
  • Built-in “internship” and job opportunities for students
  • Scholarship, workforce, and professional development opportunities

Industry outreach:

  • Find opportunities for companies to engage with students and sponsor focused projects
  • Explore research collaboration and support aimed at helping companies solve pressing challenges
  • Work with industry to create relevant educational and workforce development curriculum
  • Identity internship opportunities and create future career pathways for graduating students