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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 fellowship applications opens Tuesday, February 17th! UC Berkeley students can apply starting that day using the form below.

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 how to apply and to see 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 17- April 6, 2015
  • Winners Announced: May 15, 2015
  • Funding Starts: September 1, 2015
  • Funding Levels:
    • Undergraduate: One GGSC Fellowship (up to $2,500), One Goldberg Fellowship (up to $5,000)
    • Graduate: Three GGSC Fellowships (up to $10,000), One Hornaday Fellowship (up to $15,000)

Thanks to our new Andrew Peckham fund, courtesy of a generous gift to the Greater Good Science Center, current GGSC Fellowship awards are larger than past years. We hope this will stimulate more ambitious and impactful research than was previously possible!

Click here to submit your application.

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:

Applications can be submitted online between February 17 and April 6, 2015.

Please complete the submission form and be prepared to upload the following:

  • Research Proposal: Summarize the main objectives, methods, analysis plan, projected results, and interpretation as well as potential applications of the findings for your project. Undergraduate applicants: 500 to 1000 words, Graduate applicants: 1,000 to 1,500 words
  • Budget & Narrative: List and briefly explain all project costs and indicate those that you would like the GGSC fellowship to cover*
  • Letter of recommendation: Please request a letter of support for your proposed research from your primary research advisor; ask them to email it to by Monday, April 6, 2015
  • Curriculum Vitae

*1) A project budget may exceed the requested award level; the GGSC looks favorably on projects with multiple sources of funding. 2) Because the GGSC Fellowship program is intended for currently enrolled UC Berkeley students, international travel/long-term accommodation expenses are rarely approved. 3) GGSC Fellowship applicants should envision engaging credit earning fellow students for assistance (e.g. Psych 199) rather than including research assistant compensation costs in their budget. 

We are especially interested in proposals that include an application or the promise of 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 week 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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Greater Good Events

Michael Gazzaniga: A Life in Neuroscience
Hillside Club, Berkeley, CA
February 11, 2015

Michael Gazzaniga: A Life in Neuroscience

Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga in conversation with the GGSC’s Emiliana Simon-Thomas


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Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Greater Good Resources


Book of the Week

Why We Cooperate By Michael Tomasello Nature and nurture interact to inform, and reform, cooperative behavior. Infants and apes are both able to share, but only the two-year-old will pick up that thing you dropped in front of her.

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Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

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