About the Center

The Center for Technology, Society & Policy is a multidisciplinary research and design/build center focusing on the emergent social and policy issues arising from the development and adoption of technology. We seek to build a community of researchers and technologists on campus and beyond who engage with these issues in collaboration with community organizations and advocates, policy-makers, and technology companies.

Co-led by a rotating team of two PhD students, we support relevant projects of UC Berkeley students and their collaborators and host events to discuss new scholarship, action, and platforms. For 2020, our Areas of Focus are Health + Sensors, Sustaining Democracy and Building Community, Integrating Safety & Privacy, and Just Algorithms: Fairness, Transparency, and Justice. We are housed at the UC Berkeley School of Information, and frequently collaborate with the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Working Group and the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity to accomplish these goals. We are proud to be a part of the broader movement for Public Interest Technology at UC Berkeley.

What we do:

  • Fellowships: Our flagship fellowship is open to UC Berkeley students and post-docs and their collaborators. Check out funded projects from 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. RFP for 2020 coming soon!
  • Data for Good Competition: In Spring 2018, we put out a CFP for teams of students from across the UC Berkeley campus to apply data science skills to address a social good problem with public open data. These projects reached the Seed Grant phase.
  • Events: Several times a semester, CTSP supports public facing panels, workshops, or lectures related to our core themes.

 

CTSP was founded in 2015 by PhD candidates Galen Panger and Nicholas Doty with a generous unrestricted grant from Google, which has since been renewed. We are also supported by event funding from Facebook (the Data for Good competition) and the Charles Koch Foundation (for the Digital Security Crash Course).

All CTSP fellowship support is independently determined by the CTSP leadership and is not based on or indicative of funder approval.

CTSP’s Advisory Board currently includes: Morgan Ames, Alex Hughes, Deirdre Mulligan, Mike Rivera, Anno Saxenian, and Steve Weber.

For 2019-2020 academic year CTSP is led by co-directors Anne Jonas and Elizabeth Resor. Learn more about our leadership.

 

Stay informed by subscribing to our email list and following us Twitter.

 

If you have questions or ideas, feel free to send us an email.

Areas of Focus 2020

CTSP will continue with our four primary areas of focus for this year. These written descriptions are intended to prompt engagement with these broad areas and their intersections with technology, society, and policy. They are not a complete description of the interesting and important intersections that CTSP might fund.

Health + Sensors

How can new sensing technologies shift what we know and are able to accomplish? How can we change our use, design, and regulation for technology to improve individual and community wellness and healthcare? Projects can include: exploring the implications of the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities/landscapes, ambient sensors, wearables, audio/video surveillance, personal well-being, promoting healthy communities, enhancing healthcare, and providing universal designs that increase accessibility.

Sustaining Democracy and Building Community

Projects in this area should focus on the “public sector” broadly construed. What are mechanisms for supporting accountability, representation, and robust protection of rights and responsibilities in civic life? Topics may include: democracy, housing, elections, “fake news”, free speech, public discourse, environmental policies and governance, harassment and participation in online media, schooling, welfare, criminal legal system and its alternatives, and empowering citizens through open data and education.

Integrating Safety & Privacy

Questions about security are framed by many as a trade-off between safety and privacy. We welcome projects that challenge or broaden this framing and encourage integration of the two, seeking to identify how safety and privacy are facilitated or limited in multiple scenarios  and where people or groups are “differentially vulnerable.” This focus area includes reimagining cybersecurity online as well as its effects and inputs offline.

Just Algorithms: Fairness, Transparency, and Justice

Algorithmic processes are implicated in allocative and representational harms while driving immense value creation. Researchers are currently investigating questions of fairness and transparency within algorithmic systems, exploring whether and how algorithms are used to further the cause of justice. This focus area expands beyond fairness and transparency to consider more broadly what just algorithmic systems are and highlights the importance of looking beyond just the algorithms. Projects in this focus area may receive joint sponsorship from the UC Berkeley Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity working group (AFOG).

Banner Photo Credit: “Berkeley Sunset” by Joe Parks is licensed under CC BY 2.0