Announcing the Berkeley Discover Departmental Innovation Awardees

July 1, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

In October we announced a new implementation phase of the Chancellor’sStrategic Plan focused on Discovery in the undergraduate experience: The Berkeley Discovery Initiative. This campus-wide effort will transform undergraduate education and support students on a journey of engaged creativity and self-actualization. Thanks to a generous gift from the Chernin family, we launched the Berkeley Discover Departmental Innovation Award Program with a goal of infusing discovery into the fabric of undergraduate education.

The Berkeley Discover Request for Proposals generated great interest, with dozens of pre-proposals submitted from all across campus. We then invited a small number of full proposals from teams with exceptional potential to meet the opportunities and challenges of implementing Discovery atScale.

We are now thrilled to announce the first group of Berkeley Discover awardees. These teams will receive multi-year awards to support a vision of growing Discovery to reach all students in their units. Some teams have three years of full funding and others two years of seed grants. All teams will also contribute to a sustained learning community to share best practices and replicable models for Discovery across campus.

2021 Berkeley Discover Trailblazers

  • Foreign Languages + Reading & Composition: Integrating Discovery into Beginning Requirements
  • Integrative Biology: Discovery for All-Empowering Inclusive Communities
  • Physics + Astronomy: Creative Collaborative Discovery 
  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science: Discovery Experiences at Scale
  • Education, Social Welfare & Public Health: Youth Equity Discovery Initiative (YEDI)
  • Chemistry: Integrating Mentorship and Research Experiences to Support an Arc of Discovery for Transfer Students

Today we celebrate not only these first awardees but also the ethos of engaged, immersive, and personalized learning. UC Berkeley is poised to usher in a new era in higher education: one where allstudents are invited into an empowered and empowering culture of learning.

We are excited about the depth and breadth of commitment to elevating discovery learning across campus and see great potential for growing this initiative. We are grateful to all faculty, staff, and students who made this first round of awards possible and most especially to EVCP Emeritus Paul Alivisatos whose vision helped propel this initiative forward. And we anticipate welcoming new ideas, innovations, and inspiration as we continue to expand our commitment to Discovery across campus. 


Carol T. Christ


Catherine P. Koshland

Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Oliver M. O’Reilly
Interim Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

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