The idea for the UC AAPI Policy Multi-Campus Research Program (The MRP) was conceived in early 2004 by Paul Ong (UCLA Professor in Asian American Studies and the School of Public Affairs) and Andres Jimenez (Director of the UC California Policy Research Center). The concept was to establish a UC system wide program that would bring together policy relevant UC faculty research and the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. During the Fall of 2004, an initial planning group was formed, which included Professors Yen Le Espiritu (UCSD Ethnic Studies) and Michael Omi (UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies), as well as Paul Ong and Andres Jimenez. CPRC provided travel funds to support the planning group. They envisioned a multi-campus research unit or program to support applied and policy research on AAPI policy issues, bridge the “gown and town” divide, and develop a curriculum that would train graduate and undergraduate students through direct engagement in community-oriented research. By the Spring of 2005, the planning group was able to form a larger group that included faculty representatives from all campus and to secure a small grant from UCOP (UC Office of the President) to hold convening meeting during the 2005-06 academic year. 

With support from UCOP, CPRC and UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center (AASC), the MRP held two initial meetings for the campus representatives in Fall 2005 to refine the MRP’s goals and objectives. During Winter 2005, the Executive Committee met with Dr. Larry Coleman, the UC Vice Provost for Research, and Dante Noto, the Director of Humanities, Arts and Social Science Research, to make the case for establishing a MRP. During that year, the MRP also co-sponsored a research seminar on the impacts of welfare reform on AAPIs. The symposium bought together university and government researchers, as well as community representatives and legislative staff. It examined current research on this population, discuss the implications for policies and programs, and identify new research.

Also in 2005, the joint API Legislative Caucus decided to sponsor the project, which advanced the goals of the MRP and the joint Caucus by identifying emerging issues confronting AAPI communities in California that can be addressed through future collaborative applied research projects.