Photo of three students looking with wonder into a reflective, gold machine

You never know where curiosity can lead

At Berkeley, a cafe conversation can turn wonderment into a research collaboration that will change the world.

Research for the Public Good: Illuminating Solutions

Drawing from a wellspring of fundamental research and a deep desire to serve, we have identified several themes that represent complex challenges facing our world that Berkeley is ideally suited to address. Since each problem is much bigger than any single discipline can understand or solve, this campaign, more than any before it, will support groundbreaking research that builds on our historic leadership and integrates the disciplines in ways still unimagined. Your support of these areas will motivate faculty and students to break from the status quo and find a better way forward.

Data Science and Artificial Intelligence — Give students from all backgrounds the skills to analyze and compute data in a rapidly evolving digital world, and then apply them to any field. Ensure that the uses of artificial intelligence are safe, fair, ethical, and compatible with human intelligence.

Energy, Climate, and Environment — Understand the depths of environmental change, speed up strategies for mitigating and adapting to it, and ensure that vulnerable populations can participate in transitioning to clean energy and other needs.

Democracy and Equality — Study the institutions and practices of democracy and how to make them better, such as closing the income gap and making access to education, work, and well-being more inclusive, just, and equitable. Read some of our stories highlighting diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice.

Health and Basic Discovery — Uncover the molecular mechanisms of disease and build new tools, therapeutics, and treatments for human health, particularly for neurodegenerative and genetic diseases.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship — Inspire all undergraduates to become agents of innovation and social change by building their capacity to turn imagination into novel products or new industries that will make a difference in the world.

Related stories

  • Lilou Redon-Gabel ’22 metamorphosed from a self-described “aimless and discouraged” first-year student into a civil engineering major with a prestigious fellowship, research position, and a clear path toward combating climate change and social inequities. Her story reflects what the Discovery Initiative hopes to achieve with every undergraduate.

    Read Story » Undergrad connects her way to purposeful work
  • Over the last several decades the gap between rich and poor Americans has widened considerably, exposing related issues of racial justice and social mobility. UC Berkeley researchers in the social sciences and public policy are at the forefront of revealing root causes and identifying paths toward a brighter future for all.

    Read Story » We do the hard work of democracy
  • Professors Jennifer Doudna, Jay Keasling, and Omar Yaghi join College of Chemistry leadership to look back upon the rich, storied past of chemistry and chemical engineering at Berkeley, and look ahead to the solutions we’ll illuminate in the future.

    Read Story » The past, present, and future of the College of Chemistry
  • See how Kendall Calhoun Ph.D. ’23, a Chancellor’s Fellow, connects with faculty and undergraduates, conducting research out in the field to identify species that are vulnerable to megafires in California.

    Read Story » Grad student monitors wildlife up close after CA fires
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