Greater Good Fellowship Program


GGSC Research Fellowships

The Greater Good Science Center offers annual fellowships to UC Berkeley Undergraduate (up to $5,000) and Graduate students (up to $15,000) whose research relates to our mission. The fellowship program aims to attract scholars from across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, with an emphasis on the social-behavioral sciences.
The window for 2017-2018 GGSC fellowship applications is now open! UC Berkeley students (enrolled through at least May 2018) can apply using our online submission form below.

Previous GGSC fellows have come from departments of psychology, integrative biology, anthropology, American studies, sociology, neuroscience, urban studies, and other departments; the school of public health, education, social welfare, and Haas business; and the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. They have secured top research and teaching positions at universities nationwide, providing a significant boost to the science of compassion, resilience, altruism, and happiness. You can read about recent GGSC fellow Craig Anderson’s trailblazing work on the social benefits of awe in this Sierra Club magazine article.
Read on to learn how to apply and to read about our current and former Hornaday Graduate Fellows and Goldberg Undergraduate Fellows.

Current & Past Fellows

GGSC fellowship research has ranged from studying the biological bases of compassion and awe to identifying ways to combat racism among children. Click on the links below to learn more about current and previous fellows’ work.

Application Instructions


  • Application Window: February 13–April 7, 2017
  • Winners Announced: May 12, 2017
  • Funding Window: September 1, 2017–August 31, 2018

Funding levels

  • Two fellowships will be awarded to UC Berkeley undergraduates: One GGSC Fellowship (up to $2,500), one Goldberg Fellowship (up to $5,000)
  • Four fellowships will be awarded to UC Berkeley graduate students: Three GGSC Fellowships (up to $10,000), one Hornaday Fellowship (up to $15,000)

Thanks to our new Andrew Peckham Fellowship Fund, supported by a generous gift to the Greater Good Science Center, current GGSC fellowship awards are larger than in previous years. We hope this will stimulate even more ambitious and influential research!

UC Berkeley students: Click here to submit your application.—>

Key themes

In general, GGSC fellowships are awarded to research proposals that respond to one or more of the following themes:

1. The biological underpinnings of pro-social emotion. Examples of research in this area could address questions such as: How do reward systems in the brain reinforce pro-social emotional experience, humanistic or egalitarian beliefs, or cooperative and altruistic behavior? Which physiological processes are involved in attachment-related processes, such as caregiving, friendship and long-term romantic bonds? What circumstances attenuate physiological activation associated with antisocial (hostile or self-interested at the expense of others) sentiments or behaviors? 

2. The context and cultivation of social well-being. For example, how do children and young adults learn to be compassionate and caring individuals in school, at home, and in other social contexts? What qualities of human environments and institutions (e.g., families, neighborhoods, schools, churches, laws) foster social well-being? What are the trends in social well-being over the last 35 to 40 years? How do people with different ethnic, religious, or class backgrounds, different social perspectives, different cultural values, or different mental health histories peacefully co-exist?

3. Pro-social values, health, and community. How do pro-social values and the emotions and behaviors they promote (gratitude, common humanity, trust, kindness) spread in communities, neighborhoods, cultures, and institutions? How does a pro-social demeanor or cultural norm promote health and well-being?

Application requirements

Applications can be submitted online between February 13 and April 7, 2017. Please complete the submission form and be prepared to upload the following:

  • Research proposal: Summarize your project’s main objectives, methods, analysis plan, projected results, and the potential implications and applications of these findings. Undergraduate applicants should limit this proposal to 500-1,000 words. Graduate applicants should limit this proposal to 1,000-1,500 words.
  • Budget and narrative: List and briefly explain all project costs, and indicate those that you would like the GGSC fellowship to cover. As you create your budget, keep these guidelines in mind: 1) Your project budget may exceed the requested award level; the GGSC looks favorably upon projects with multiple sources of funding. 2) Because the GGSC Fellowship program is designed for currently enrolled UC Berkeley students, international travel/long-term accommodation expenses are rarely approved. 3) GGSC Fellowship applicants are encouraged to engage credit-earning fellow students for assistance (e.g., through Psych 199) rather than including research assistant compensation costs in their budget.
  • Letter of recommendation: Please provide a letter of support for your proposed research from your primary research advisor, who should email it to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by Friday, April 7, 2017.
  • Curriculum vitae

We are especially interested in proposals that include the promise of applying or communicating research findings to the wider community. Our goal is to gather and disseminate knowledge that is directly useful to individuals, teachers, parents, social service and mental health professionals, and communities at large.

In addition to pursuing their proposed research, GGSC Fellows will be invited to contribute to the greater good by contributing approximately five hours per month as a research assistant for the GGSC’s online magazine, Greater Good, or otherwise contributing to another of the Center’s initiatives.

If you have any questions about the fellowships or fellowship application process, please consult our list of Fellowship FAQ; if you don’t see your question there, please email it to our science director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).—>

Submission Form


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The Science of Burnout: What Is It, Why It Happens, and How to Avoid It
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6 CE Hours

The Science of Burnout: What Is It, Why It Happens, and How to Avoid It

A day-long semiar with GGSC Science Director Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., celebrated compassion teacher Joan Halifax, burnout expert Christina Maslach, Ph.D., and UCLA psychiatrist Elizabeth Bromley, M.D., Ph.D.


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