CTSP 2021 Fellows: Call for Applications

The Center for Technology, Society & Policy (CTSP) invites project proposals from small teams or individuals for our annual fellows application cycle. CTSP selects project proposals to fund that fit within our areas of focus, and supports each team member as fellow for the 2021 calendar year. This year’s areas of focus include:

  •   Health + Sensors
  •   Sustaining Democracy and Building Community
  •   Integrating Safety & Privacy
  •   Just Algorithms: Fairness, Transparency, and Justice

More information about these areas may be found HERE.

Statement on Indigenous and Racial Justice

We the CTSP leadership acknowledge that academia, grantmaking bodies, foundations, science, policy, and technology have historically reproduced and reinforced structural and systemic racism, and continue to do so today. As a grantmaking body that is part of an academic institution that sits on occupied territory, we are actively committed to restorative practices such as encouraging and educating fellows and the UC Berkeley community at large to contribute to the Shuumi Land Tax. In addition, we promote active and ongoing reflection on how we can ensure that our research and community is aware of both adverse and positive impacts of research, even social impact and social good research. Therefore, all applications must address racial justice in addition to one of the focus areas.

We also highly encourage applications from students and individuals who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), non-cisgender, LGBTQIA+/queer, disabled, first-generation, and from low-income backgrounds.


Project proposals are due on December 14, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. PST on the CTSP website. To better understand the types of projects CTSP has funded in the past, view the project pages (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) and fellow pages on the website. Selected projects focused on cybersecurity or algorithmic systems are eligible to be co-sponsored with the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC) and the Algorithmic Fairness and Opacity Working Group (AFOG).

2021 Fellowship Model

  •   Individual and Paired teams will typically receive $2,000/each.
  •   Teams with more than 2 members will receive a maximum of $5,000 total, with funding levels determined by project scope. You may optionally submit a budget detailing how your team would allocate up to $5,000.

We encourage external partnerships with community organizations, activists, grassroots organizations, and other schools. However, due to funding restrictions, each team must have at least one UCB student (grad or undergrad) and we cannot fund stipends for affiliates, post docs, and professors (though they can still be on your team).

Fellow Engagement and Commitment

  •   Each team member becomes a CTSP 2021 Fellow.
  •   Fellows are expected to become active members of the CTSP community and attend CTSP events, and will have opportunities to sponsor or speak at CTSP events featuring their work and areas of interest, and to write blogs posts for Citizen Technologist, the CTSP blog. The post can include findings or an update from your CTSP sponsored project, or address a separate topic of interest to CTSP.
  •   Fellows must acknowledge CTSP support in publications and other outputs resulting from their fellowship related work, and complete a final report at the conclusion of the project or fellow year (December) documenting project progress.
  •   Joint CTSP-CLTC and CTSP-AFOG fellows will have additional opportunities and acknowledgement from CLTC and AFOG.


Application Guidelines

CTSP seeks short-term project proposals that address one or more of the four focus areas: Health + Sensors, Sustaining Democracy and Building Community, Integrating Safety & Privacy, Just Algorithms: Fairness, Transparency, and Justice.

In addition, all applications must address racial justice. Project proposals must reference at least one resource from this list of resources or another racial justice resource.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals must be de-identified and describe the project and how it addresses a specific problem or situation in the chosen focus area(s), and should include one or more clearly defined outcomes. The scope of what you or your team may propose to do is open-ended and may include a publishable paper, a detailed design or engineering prototype, a whitepaper or regulatory proposal, a public event or a documentary film. We are looking to fund thoughtful and creative but concrete ideas to advance the state of knowledge, solve problems, and promote understanding in the four areas. (See “De-identified project proposal” under “What to submit” below.)

Evaluation Criteria

Project proposals will be evaluated for impact, or their ability to advance the state of affairs in one or more of CTSP’s focus areas; collaboration, or their building of connections between individuals, multiple perspectives, skill sets and/or disciplines; and reach, or their relevance beyond purely academic or other niche audiences.

Application Requirements

  •   Since close collaboration is a goal of the fellowship, teams of 2-4 people will be preferred to individual projects or large groups. If you are proposing an individual project, please describe any other planned sources of collaboration for your project, such as outside experts or organizations.
  •   Teams led by undergraduates or graduate students are particularly encouraged to apply. A current UC Berkeley student affiliation for one or more team members is required.
  •   Team members (especially more junior members) must have a very clear contribution to the project beyond assisting a more senior member.
  •   Teams may work in collaboration with a faculty member (which must be detailed in the proposal), but CTSP is interested in funding *early* scholars in their work. Tenure track faculty members and other more senior scholars have many other funding opportunities available, and will not be considered as fellows.
  •   Team members may apply on more than one team during this application cycle. However, a fellow will only receive one financial award but will be expected to complete their commitments for all projects accepted.
  •   Past fellows are encouraged to apply again, but CTSP should not be seen as a continual funding mechanism for the same project. We hope fellows will propose new projects or substantial new additions to previously funded projects, and clearly state why continued affiliation with CTSP will help the project succeed.
  •   Projects can be independent endeavors, or can be undertaken with the cooperation or sponsorship of a nonprofit, NGO, or government agency. If your project has a “client” as its beneficiary or collaborator, we will ask that you provide (through an attachment to the application) a statement from them confirming their sponsorship, outlining how the project will benefit their organization, and how your contribution will be maintained (if applicable) past the project’s conclusion.
  •   Projects should be designed to accomplish stated deliverables within the fellow project timeline between January and December 2021. However, projects are encouraged to develop and continue past this tenure.

If the application requirements are unclear, see Frequently Asked Questions. If that does not answer your question, email us.


What to Submit

You must fill out the application include an attached de-identified project proposal.

  •   Application Form
  •   De-identified project proposal
    • Please remove personally identifying information in this first part so that proposal review can be based on the quality of the project idea rather than the identities of those involved, to the extent possible.
    • In 1-2 pages (single-spaced), please describe your project, its length, how it addresses your chosen focus area(s), and the desired outcome(s) of your project. Details are useful, but please be succinct. Figures, sketches, hyperlinks, and references are welcomed though not required, and you can take an additional page to include these if necessary.
  •   Third-party Sponsorship

    • If your project has a “client” as its beneficiary or collaborator, we will ask that they provide a statement confirming their sponsorship, outlining how the project will benefit their organization, and how your contribution will be maintained (if applicable) past the project’s conclusion.

Applications are due Monday, December 14, 2020 at 11:59 PM PST.

Banner Photo Credit: “UC Berkeley South Hall” by Stephanie Snipes for I School IMSA is licensed under CC BY 2.0