Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 78.50
Liaison Kira Stoll
Submission Date Aug. 16, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Berkeley
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Jack Chang
STARS Assessment Fellow (ERG)
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) is designed to involve Berkeley undergraduates more deeply in the research life of the university. The program provides opportunities for students to work with faculty on the cutting-edge research projects for which Berkeley is world-renowned. One of the eight Areas of Interest is "Environmental Issues."


UC Berkeley funds graduate research into sustainability through several channels. They include energy and environmental research conducted at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is run by UC Berkeley and employs a wide range of Berkeley graduate students. Additionally, The Green Initiative Fund finances sustainability research initiatives such as the Gill Tract Farm Student Initiative, which teaches and advances sustainable farming practices. Finally, individual labs on campus have helped graduate students apply for National Science Foundation and other funding and otherwise directed university research dollars to a wide range of sustainability research, including the Global Policy Lab and the Climate Impact Lab, which is conducting pioneering research into the global economic and social impacts of climate change.

Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Several organizations and programs at UC Berkeley support and incentivize faculty applying for external sustainability research funding.

The California Institute for Energy and Environment conducts public-interest energy research and implements energy research programs involving experts at the University of California, other universities, government, industry and nonprofit groups. CITRIS and the Banatao Institute also leverage research conducted at four Northern California UC campuses to develop sustainability-related applications, platforms, companies and new industries.

Until 2016, the Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute, which has since consolidated with the California Institute for Energy and Environment, also funded the Energy and Climate Research Innovation Seed Fund program, which sought proposals to advance UC Berkeley research in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The fund included a special interest in multi-disciplinary projects that address current gaps in the scientific, technological and policy areas of Berkeley's renewable energy portfolio as well as projects to further define the frontiers of energy science and policy and have strong potential for scalability and implementation.

Other UC Berkeley organizations that support sustainability research include the Energy and Resources Group (ERG), an interdisciplinary program that connects academia, government, industry and civil society in international sustainability research. ERG faculty work with graduate students across campus and with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on a range of energy and sustainability research.

Additionally, the Energy Institute at the Haas School of Business brings together research and curricular programs on energy business, policy and technology commercialization. In particular, the institute works with scientists to commercialize promising energy technologies.

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

UC Berkeley is a strong supporter of interdisciplinary research, as evidenced by the creation of organized research units (ORUs) and centers on campus, several of which are related to energy, environment and climate.

Further information on purpose and policies regarding ORUs can be found here: https://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/research-policies/oru-policy-procedure.

Information about research programs are here:



As part of UC Berkeley's policy to promote interdisciplinary research, review committees for faculty promotion and tenure are instructed to use flexibility in evaluating work that "departs markedly from established academic patterns."

The policy reads: "In evaluating the candidate’s qualifications within these areas, the review committee shall exercise reasonable flexibility, balancing when the case requires, heavier commitments and responsibilities in one area against lighter commitments and responsibilities in another. The review committee must judge whether the candidate is engaging in a program of work that is both sound and productive. As the University enters new fields of endeavor and refocuses its ongoing activities, cases will arise in which the proper work of faculty members departs markedly from established academic patterns. In such cases, the review committees must take exceptional care to apply the criteria with sufficient flexibility."

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

UC Berkeley libraries offer a wide range of support for sustainability research and learning.

The library system designates a subject specialist for faculty and students in each campus department and program. As liaisons to the department, the subject specialists:

Provide information on library policies and procedures.

Offer specialized reference consultations.

Teach classes and individuals how to maximize use of library resources for research.

Purchase library materials such as books, journals and data sets.

In addition, specialists are available for areas such as natural resources, energy, environmental engineering and earth and planetary science.

The libraries also provide Research Subject Guides for a similar list of subject areas. In addition are specific Course Guides, including for Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Information in this field was provided by the Berkeley Energy & Climate Institute, the UC Berkeley library system and the Berkeley Research Development Office.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.