|Submission Date||March 4, 2021|
University of California, Berkeley
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research
|4.00 / 4.00||
SDG & OS Engagement Fellow
Office of Sustainability
Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
A brief description of the student sustainability research program:
The Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) program encourages faculty and undergraduate students in the Rausser College of Natural Resources to collaborate on research projects by providing a grant to support their joint project. Students in the College of Natural Resources have many opportunities to work with outstanding faculty on research projects.
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."
The Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) was formed to study the economic, social, environmental, and technological aspects of sustainable transportation. It is housed at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Since TSRC was founded, it has been a leading center in conducting timely research on real-world solutions for a more sustainable transportation future. The TSRC team is comprised of dedicated research staff, support personnel, and student researchers.
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 academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:
Several organizations and programs at UC Berkeley support and incentivize faculty applying for external sustainability research funding. Here are highlights:
The California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) conducts public-interest energy research and implements energy research programs involving experts at the University of California, other universities, government, industry and nonprofit groups. CIEE has been conducting, leading, and managing energy research for thirty years. To date, CIEE experts have received 470 research awards and managed nearly 1,000 subawards at more than 160 universities, national labs, and research centers. The total value of these awards exceeds $205 million.
The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute create information technology solutions for society’s most pressing challenges. CITRIS and the Banatao Institute leverage research conducted at four Northern California UC campuses to develop sustainability-related applications, platforms, companies and new industries. They bring the expertise of multiple disciplines to bear on critical challenges such as designing sustainable energy, water, and transportation systems; improving the human experience with robotics and inclusive intelligence; modernizing health care delivery; fostering responsible tech policy; promoting diverse perspectives; and examining the future of work and the global economy in the age of automation.
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 copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
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:
Research Unit Finder: https://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/research-units
Energy, Climate & Environment Research: https://vcresearch.berkeley.edu/energy
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."
The Consortium for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR) supports and develops interdisciplinary research and programming on the Berkeley campus and beyond. Established in 2013 by UC Berkeley’s College of Letters and Sciences: Division of Arts and Humanities, CIR provides infrastructure to grow and sustain interdisciplinary programs. We produce research activities across disciplinary and departmental lines, leveraging opportunities for exchange, programming, and dissemination within campus and to a global audience. Working closely with faculty leadership, CIR develops and manages grants, plans events, oversees academic publications and programming, delivers outreach and communications, and distributes faculty and student awards for research.
Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:
A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:
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.
Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research 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.