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 GGSC is no longer accepting applications for 2015-2016 Fellowships. Please read below to learn about the GGSC Fellowship program, and stay tuned for information about our 2016-2017 Fellowship opportunity which will be announced in the spring of 2016!

Previous GGSC fellows 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 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.

Funding Levels:

  • Undergraduate: One Goldberg Fellowship (up to $5,000) and one additional GGSC Undergraduate Fellowship (up to $2,500)
  • Graduate: One Hornaday Fellowship (up to $15,000) and three additional GGSC Graduate Fellowships (up to $10,000 each)

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!

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 & 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:

  • 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 & 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 by Monday, April 6, 2015.
  • 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).


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Self-Compassion By Kristin Neff Learn to be kind to yourself. A society obsessed with competition doesn't always make that an easy thing to do, but seeking after self-compassion, not self-esteem, is our ticket to happiness.

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