About the Fellows Program

Discoveries in science and technology are moving quickly from basic research to real-world applications, sometimes with societal-scale impact. As scientists become increasingly involved in developing the applications of their work, they are encountering challenges that fall outside their expertise. We need a new kind of training that prepares scientists to confront the future ethical challenges of their fields, and that creates social scientists, philosophers, journalists, and policymakers who are able to work with scientists and diverse communities to ensure that the applications of scientific discoveries protect and advance fundamental human interests. The Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public (KCESP) aims to build a transdisciplinary community of research and learning that breaks down barriers between disciplines and across academia and society, to work together to envision the futures we want our scientific advances to create. 

The fellowship program is aimed at graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and professional schools who are interested in exploring ethical challenges, advancing solutions, and identifying ways of involving impacted communities and the public in science and technology. Fellowships are awarded for up to two years with funding available to work and study in the center and be a part of a new kind of community. 


Applicants are eligible for the fellowship if they are:

  1.  Graduate students who meet the following conditions:

    • Enrollment in a UC Berkeley graduate degree program in either 

A) a science or technical degree program relevant to one of the three scientific spokes: Artificial Intelligence, Genome Editing, or Neuroscience.


B) a humanities or social science discipline, or a professional school, in fields including (but not limited to) Philosophy, Economics, Sociology, Ethics, Public Health, Public Policy, Journalism, Business, or Law.

  • Completion of the first-year course requirements in their home departments (for those in the sciences and professional schools) and selection of a primary adviser/PI (for those in the sciences), or advancement to candidacy (for those in the humanities and social sciences).

  1. Current or incoming postdoctoral scholars:

    • Who at the start of their fellowship will hold a doctoral degree for research in either

A) Artificial Intelligence, Genome Editing, Neuroscience, or a field closely related to one of these three spoke areas;


B) Humanities, social sciences, or professional fields including (but not limited to) Philosophy, Economics, Sociology, Ethics, Public Health, Public Policy, Journalism, Science Communication, Business, or Law.

Program Elements

The KCESP Fellowship program is designed to bring scholars from the sciences, humanities, and professional schools together to form a transdisciplinary cohort where fellows can “learn the language” of each other’s disciplines. KCESP provides Fellows with many opportunities to engage with one another and with our community, including opportunities to participate in core projects of the center as well as access to skills workshops. 

The center aims to support fellows in a variety of different paths. Some fellows work with KCESP-affiliated faculty to carry out original scholarship that aligns with the center’s research questions and mission. Others use their fellowship to supplement their graduate program, expand their training into an orthogonal field, or to augment their primary research with projects and collaborations that address the ethical and societal implications of advances in genome editing, artificial intelligence, or neuroscience. This variety contributes to a rich intellectual environment. We hope to see people cross the boundaries of typically siloed disciplines and explore the role played by public, stakeholder, or community perspectives in defining ethical applications of science and technology. 

We aspire to create a strong cohort of scholars who will continue to interact during their professional careers, and where connections and collaborations can be formed between current students, postdocs, and program alumni who have moved on to other positions in academia, industry, NGOs, foundations and government. By regularly convening program alumni and fostering connections, we will create a community that goes beyond UC Berkeley to effect positive change in the real world.


  • Attend pre-fellowship orientation and planning workshops (see logistics section).

  • Regularly attend and contribute to program activities which include presenting journal articles for discussion, contributing to or leading group discussions, helping to organize seminars, and exchanging feedback on work in progress. 

  • Attend project or skill development workshops and other center events.

  • Contribute to growing the KCESP community. This may be through any number of activities or projects, small or large, and can include forming or joining a working group, working collaboratively on a project such as a white paper, a public/stakeholder/community engagement event on a specific topic, a policy or regulatory proposal, or any number of meaningful efforts that align with the goals of the center.

  • Present your work to the broader KCESP community.

  • Participate in Alumni activities, returning periodically for cohort retreats and networking.



Fellows have access to rotating desk space and meeting rooms in 621 Sutardja Dai Hall.


Applicants are asked to provide a funding request as part of their application. Because of the wide variety of paths and work that the center aims to support, some fellows may require 20% funding, while others, such as fellows conducting their postdoctoral work entirely within the center, may require up to 100% of their stipend and benefits. Funding requests should be anchored in the anticipated time spent on KCESP-related work or activities.

How to Apply

A call for applications will be announced containing details on how to apply. While the application process may change, past application information can be found here.


Please direct any questions to the Executive Director, Lea Witkowsky, at KCESP-Fellowships@berkeley.edu