Visiting Scholars and Students

Decorative banner for the Visiting Scholars and Visiting Students program page

The UC Berkeley Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public invites applications for visiting appointments from national and international scholars and graduate students in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, and professional fields who are interested in exploring ethical challenges, advancing solutions, or identifying ways of involving impacted communities and the public in science and technology and its governance.

Our center offers a unique environment where visitors can engage in a variety of center and university programs and events and become part of a multi-disciplinary intellectual community. Please be aware that visitors must secure their own funding for their stay.


The Kavli Center's Focus Areas

The Kavli Center aims to advance our understanding of the ethical and societal dilemmas born from scientific advancements; how scientists should be trained to account for these, how humanities, social sciences, professional fields, and the public can and should inform and guide these scientific advancements, and how they should be governed. Prospective visitors should be working on topics related to this vision (for more, see Vision). The center comprises three elements: a “hub,” representing the core activities of the center, where all affiliates come together to address fundamental ethical questions across disciplinary boundaries; “spokes” linking these activities to specific scientific disciplines; and an “axle” connecting the center with the larger society it sits within. Current spoke sciences focus on genome editing, artificial intelligence, and neuroscience. These areas have enormous potential to benefit humanity but also raise questions of practical and existential ethical significance and may affect distinct communities differently. Bringing these three scientific fields together under one center enables the identification of shared challenges and the translation of solutions and lessons learned from one to another.

Areas of Particular Interest

We encourage applications from visitors working on a wide range of topics related to the center's work. We are particularly interested in those visitors with expertise in public, stakeholder, or community engagement who are interested in developing a collaboration, building capacity among scientists, or running an engagement with us around an ethical dilemma in one of our three scientific spokes.

Opportunities & Privileges

  • Connection with the Kavli Center, including access to the center's core faculty and fellows
  • Access to all Kavli Center events and programming including special opportunities such as pilot projects, engagement opportunities, and collaborations with the journalism school. The center periodically hosts diplomats or policy experts or has access to invitation-only events with high-level experts and officials. When visitors' expertise aligns, we regularly nominate or include them in such events.
  • UC Berkeley email account & Cal ID
  • Library borrowing privileges and research database access
  • Ability to audit UC Berkeley courses with the instructor’s permission
  • Access to campus events
  • Access to desk space and meeting rooms in 621 Sutardja Dai Hall


Visiting Scholars and Students should...

  • Strive to cross disciplinary boundaries while visiting the Kavli Center.
  • Fully engage in the programming and activities of the center. This includes collaborating with our affiliated faculty or Ethics, Science, and the Public Fellows, participating in our Colloquium Series, and contributing to our seminars, workshops, and social events.
  • In addition to fully participating in the center, Visiting Scholars and Visiting Students must advance an area of study or research that will benefit from time in the center.

Duration of Visit

Visiting appointments are at least one month and up to one year, with a maximum cumulative appointment time of two years.  


Visiting Scholars and Visiting Students are required to provide their own funding. The Kavli Center will consider modest supplemental funding for those exceptional applicants with financial hardship. Typically, financial support comes from visitors' home institutions, private foundations, or government grants.


  • $910 annual sponsorship charge (this fee is not pro-rated for stays shorter than a year).
  • University Services fees: Visiting Scholar $750 |Visiting Student Researcher $1000. Please visit the Visiting Scholar & Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) website for more details. 
  • All international scholars coming to the Berkeley campus require a visa, typically the J-1 visa, and must pay a one-time, non-refundable processing fee of $650. Please visit the Berkeley International Office (BIO) for more details.
  • Most international applicants must pay the SEVIS fee and a Visa application fees when applying for the J1 Visa at a US Embassy abroad.

Types of Visiting Appointments

Visiting Scholars

A Visiting Scholar appointment allows individuals with a PhD (or the terminal degree in their field), typically earned more than 5 years ago, the chance to participate in short-term educational or research projects on the UC Berkeley campus under the supervision or sponsorship of a UC Berkeley faculty member; in this case, under the Kavli Center.

Scholars must maintain their primary academic position or other employment elsewhere while visiting Berkeley. Visiting Scholars are self-supported from external funding sources appropriate for the duration of the appointment. Remote appointments are not permitted. Read more about the University's definition and requirements for visiting scholars at the VSPA website.

Visiting Postdocs

While the Visiting Scholar appointment is intended for scholars who are 5 years out of their terminal degree, the Kavli Center will also consider visiting appointments for scholars with recent PhDs who hold an active postdoc appointment at another institution and wish to conduct research as a visitor at UC Berkeley. Visiting postdocs must be onboarded as a Visiting Scholar by exceptional approval by the campus.

Visiting Student Researcher

Visiting Student Researchers (VSR) are students currently pursuing a degree in a degree-granting program at another university (not in the University of California system), and possess at least a bachelor’s degree. VSRs do not enroll in UC Berkeley courses for credit. Remote appointments are not permitted; all visits must be conducted on campus.

Please note that students enrolled at any UC campus are ineligible for this type of appointment as they enjoy the benefits of reciprocity at UC Berkeley. Read more about the University's definition and requirements for visiting student researchers at the VSPA website.

How to Apply

To apply to be a Visiting Scholar or a Visiting Student, please follow the steps below.

**Applications are considered on a rolling basis**


1) Kavli Center Application: Complete the Kavli Center's form ( to be considered for a visiting appointment. Promising applicants may be asked for a Zoom interview.

As part of the application, you will be asked to provide the following:

  • Faculty of interest: Please list any faculty with whom you are interested in studying/working while a visiting scholar or student.
  • CV/Resume
  • Interest Statement: Briefly, describe the relevance of the Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public to your academic or professional development. Why are you interested in holding a visiting appointment?
  • Proposed plan of study:  Please provide a brief (1-2 paragraphs) summary of the proposed plan of study/research while a visiting scholar at the Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public.

bright pink "APPLY" button

2) University Application: If the Kavli Center decides to extend an invitation to hold a visiting appointment, applicants will advance to filling out the University's paperwork, including the application through the VSPA and if needed, a visa application through BIO. 

Relevant University Offices

Visiting Scholars & Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) Office

Those applicants selected through the Kavli Center's application process will subsequently work with the Visiting Scholars & Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) Office to complete the campus process. Procedures and university policies can be found at the VSPA website.

Berkeley International Office (BIO)

Information regarding visas as well as useful resources for international visitors can be found at the Berkeley International Office website.


Kavli Center-specific Application Review Time:  we aim to provide a response within a month of receiving an application.

University Approval Timeline:  for domestic applicants, the campus approval process typically takes three weeks once all paperwork is submitted. For international applicants, the approval process may take up to four months due to the need for out-of-country visa processing. We strongly recommend starting the application process as early as possible.


Please direct any questions to