Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants

Berkeley Changemaker™ Technology Innovation Grants

Our grant program takes its name from Rich Lyons’ Berkeley Changemaker™ program. As the University's first Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer, Lyons’ program builds on Berkeley's core identity -- as he's called it, "our common why". UC Berkeley's scientists, humanists, engineers and activists all desire to change the world for the better. Berkeley Changemaker™ Technology Innovation Grants fund transformative ideas with real applications that  benefit the Berkeley campus.

Berkeley Changemaker Technology Innovation Grants provide financial incentives to bring together individual ideas and excellence from across Berkeley's decentralized campus, fostering connections and developing institutional awareness and support to expand positive impact. In Berkeley Changemaker spirit, these awards help visionaries bring their ideas to life, and scale them across the wider institition to make Berkeley more effective, efficient and forward-looking.

The Technology Innovation Grant program launched in Spring 2020, with an invitation to everyone: faculty, staff and students. We received many technology innovation proposals. Some sought to address Berkeley's acute needs (including responding to the Covid-19 pandemic) and many tackled the emerging needs of a large research university-- with a vision to the future. Some examples of proposals received in Spring 2020 include:

  • augmented and virtual reality applications for instruction
  • instrumentation of labs to support better asynchronous remote education,
  • an experiental learning program for integrative biology students employing technology field kits to turn undergraduates into citizen scientists
  • a program integrating data science curricula with community justice serving the public good
  • a data-driven approach to creating better training and a more inclusive University culture

The CTO and our planning team convened a review committee drawn from from different parts of the organization to bring diversity and varied experience to the evaluation process. The design of the evaluation process drew upon staff with experience overseeing other innovation programs at Berkeley (including involvement with Berkeley's Student Tech Fund, which is known for its equitable, well-received award process). The committee evaluated proposals based on criteria such as creativity, equity, impact and risk.

Winners will be announced in June 2020, and will be featured at our Fall Technology Innovation Forum (October 2020), and the Spring Technology Innovation Showcase event (May 2021).