Research Opportunities

The Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE), Berkeley Law environmental and energy law faculty, and other members of the Berkeley environmental community frequently recruit graduate students to assist with ongoing research.  Research can often be done for pay (GSRs), for academic credit (297 or 298), or as pro bono hours.  

Please contact us if you have a particular research interest.  Open positions will be posted here periodically, including details about the type of research involved and the application process.


— Summer 2022: Open Positions —


ClimateBreak – Assistant Producer (Also Hiring for Fall!)

Ethan Elkind

CLEE is seeking to hire undergraduate, Business, Law and Journalism School students to help produce a UC Berkeley-based radio show and podcast for a climate change solutions radio program, podcast, and website called Climate Break. The program features 90-second radio spots on climate solutions twice a week. Students can participate in all aspects of program and podcast development and production, including topic selection, scriptwriting, and marketing. Audio editing experience preferred but not required.

This position can be for credit (1 unit) or pay, depending on experience.

Between 4-6 hours a week

To apply, send a resume and a brief cover letter to CLEE Climate Program Director Ethan Elkind at elkind@berkeley.edu.


— Fall 2022: Open Positions —


California-China Climate Institute

The California-China Climate Institute is looking to hire multiple Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) for Fall 2022 and beyond, to support policy research in the following areas:

Appointments will require approximately 4-8 hours of work per week.

Tasks may include:

  • Conducting literature reviews and qualitative and quantitative data analysis to support specific research projects;
  • Collecting data and/or updating databases on U.S. and China climate policies;
  • Drafting academic articles, policy briefs and white papers;
  • Creating guides and handbooks on climate policy;
  • Writing short posts for the CCCI website, blogs and newsletter;
  • Organizing events, workshops and/or trainings; 
  • Attending CCCI events and taking notes;
  • Other tasks depending on the interest and expertise of the GSR.

These positions are available only to UC Berkeley students.  Eligible students may opt to receive either 1 research credit for every 4 hours/week (i.e., LAW297), or salary. 

Strong analytical and writing skills are required. Prior experience or coursework in environmental or climate policy, an interest in U.S.-China relations, is strongly preferred. Mandarin speakers are encouraged to apply.

For further information or to apply please contact Jenn Perron at jperron[at]berkeley.edu

Applications should include a resume, short writing sample, and a cover letter. Applications are accepted on rolling basis.


Research Assistant

Professor Eric Biber is looking to hire research assistants for the fall of 2022 and the spring of 2023. RAs can work on a range of projects in environmental, and energy law, including but not limited to:

  1. Policy responses to fire risks on public and private lands in California and the West
  2. Research on whether competition among states for business adversely affects state environmental laws and enforcement
  3. Research on local and state land-use regulation in California and its impacts on housing production and costs
  4. Research on the environmental regulations being developed by California for the state’s newly legalized cannabis industry
  5. Research on using the federal Endangered Species Act to address greenhouse gas emissions
  6. Research on joint management of public lands by federal land management agencies and federally recognized tribes
  7. Research on the optimal sequencing of climate policy to facilitate aggressive and resilient policy responses to climate change

RAs will have some choice as to which projects they will work on.

Commitments are expected to be between 5-10 hours/week. Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work). Prior experience or coursework in environmental law is preferred, but not required.

Please contact Professor Eric Biber if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


ClimateBreak – Climate Solutions Legal Research and Project Manager

Ken Alex

CLEE is seeking to hire a law student to help develop content for a UC Berkeley-based climate change solutions radio program, podcast, and website called Climate Break and to manage the project as we expand. The program (which features 105 second radio spots on climate solutions once a week) is adding video and other content. We need substantive content and research on climate solutions and some legal research for climate solutions that are legal in nature or face legal challenges, and we need project coordination and management.

Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work), or pay.

Please contact Ken Alex if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


California-China Climate Institute Student Assistant

Fall Semester, 8 hours/week

We’re looking for a Student Assistant for the Fall semester to help us with operational tasks including:

  • Event planning
  • Website editing
  • Communications
  • Social media
  • Designing publications

Familiarity with Microsoft Office, Zoom and willingness to learn new applications is required. Drupal, graphic design and copy editing experience is preferred.

The job requires at least 8 hours per week.

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to Jessica Gordon at jagordon@berkeley.edu


— Closed Positions —


Research Fellow on Methane and Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

California-China Climate Institute 
The fellow will work with the California-China Climate Institute on methane emissions policy and modeling research in China, California and beyond. The fellow will collaborate with project partners other academic institutions, in state government, from the business and nonprofit communities, and other stakeholders. Application due by April 15th. 
 
Description and application: https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/JPF03353
 

Building an Extreme Heat Toolkit

Louise Bedsworth

The Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment is looking to hire one or more graduate student researchers to support a collaborative project to synthesize campus resources and expertise on mitigating risks from extreme heat and interactions with air quality and wildfire. The project will identify actionable and accessible approaches to addressing near- and long-term risks from extreme heat to support emerging California state policies and investments to address extreme heat risk. The project is a collaborative effort supported by the School of Public Health, College of Natural Resources, and the Law School.

The researcher(s) will inventory and synthesize research and work from across campus to develop an accessible tool that can support State and local efforts to address extreme heat risk, including interactions with air quality and wildfire. Specific tasks will include literature review, stakeholder engagement, and key informant interviews.

Please contact Louise Bedsworth if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Climate Law and Policy Summer Research Assistant

Ted Lamm

CLEE and Project Climate are hiring one law student for a full-time paid summer research assistant position. The research assistant will work on projects potentially including tracking environmental rollbacks, analyzing environmental decision-making by federal judges, international methane emission reduction, developing strategies for building decarbonization in lower-income communities, and more. The research assistant will work with multiple CLEE and Project Climate staff and have the opportunity to conduct self-directed research.

Please contact Ted Lamm if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest). Deadline for applications is Friday 3/4.


Research on Environmental Law Topics

Eric Biber

Professor Eric Biber is looking to hire research assistants for the fall of 2021 and the spring of 2022. RAs can work on a range of projects in environmental, and energy law, including but not limited to: (1) policy responses to fire risks on public and private lands in California and the West; (2) research on whether competition among states for business adversely affects state environmental laws and enforcement; (3) research on local and state land-use regulation in California and its impacts on housing production and costs; (4) research on the environmental regulations being developed by California for the state’s newly legalized cannabis industry; (5) research on using the federal Endangered Species Act to address greenhouse gas emissions; (6) research on joint management of public lands by federal land management agencies and federally recognized tribes; and (7) research on the optimal sequencing of climate policy to facilitate aggressive and resilient policy responses to climate change. RAs will have some choice as to which projects they will work on. 

Commitments are expected to be between 5-10 hours/week. Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work).  A limited number of paid positions may also be available.  Prior experience or coursework in environmental law is preferred, but not required. 

Please contact Professor Eric Biber if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


CLEE Student Liaison

CLEE is seeking a law student to serve as Student Liaison.  This position involves drafting and posting CLEE’s weekly newsletter for the E&E community, which includes listings of E&E program offerings and deadlines, on- and off-campus events, internship and job postings, and other opportunities.  The Student Liaison also provides a conduit for providing student input on program offerings and planning.  

The position is paid (4 hours per week).

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please send your resume and a brief description of why you are interested in the position to CLEE Program Manager Cait Cady (caitcady@law.berkeley.edu).


Reversing Trump Rollbacks

Ken Alex

We are evaluating the Biden Administration’s progress in reversing Trump-era environmental rollbacks. We will be looking at agency and executive actions taken since January 2021 and compiling a comprehensive database of the reversal status for over 200 environmental law/policy actions.

Research can be completed for pay (GSR) or for 297 credit (1 credit = 4 hrs/wk).

Please contact Ken Alex if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


California-China Climate Institute Research Assistant

Fan Dai

The California-China Climate Institute is looking to hire several GSRs for Fall 2021 and beyond, to support policy research in the following areas:

Appointments will require 4-8 hours of work per week. These positions are only available to UC Berkeley students. Strong analytical and writing skills are required. Prior experience or coursework in environmental or climate policy, and an interest in U.S.-China relations, is strongly preferred. Mandarin speakers are encouraged to apply.  Students may opt to receive either 1 research credit for every 4 hours/week (i.e., LAW297), or salary. This position does not include a fee remission.

Tasks may include:

  • Conducting literature reviews and qualitative and quantitative data analysis to support specific research projects;
  • Collecting data on U.S. and China climate policies;
  • Drafting academic articles, policy briefs and white papers;
  • Writing short posts for the CCCI website, blogs and newsletter;
  • Attending CCCI events and taking notes;
  • Other tasks depending on the interest and expertise of the GSR.

Applications should include a resume, writing sample, and a brief statement of interest. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

For further information or to apply, please contact Jenn Perron at jperron[at]berkeley.edu. 


CLEE Research Associate

(Supervisor TBD)

CLEE is hiring a cohort of three Graduate Student Researchers to conduct law and policy research for center initiatives in Fall 2021.  Focus areas may include climate, water, oceans, and/or land use, and tasks may include drafting report sections, conducting background analysis, writing concept papers, or other.  We will incorporate researcher preferences and finalize specific projects and assignments in August, allowing researchers to work for the entirety of the fall semester.  The application deadline is April 23, 2021.  

Position can be for credit (1 unit) or pay (4 hours per week) for the fall semester.

Please contact CLEE Executive Director Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply by April 23 (include a resume, unofficial transcript, and brief description of why you are interested in the position).


Promoting Environmental Justice & Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, LLP

Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, LLP, a San Francisco law firm representing community groups and public agencies in environmental, land use, and municipal law matters, funds one semester-long, student-led research project each academic year. To qualify, the project must investigate existing or cutting edge legal or policy tools at the California local/regional level aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Preference will be given to proposals that simultaneously address the promotion of environmental justice in disproportionally impacted communities. The application must propose a final work product, which may include a white paper, detailed research summary, and/or presentation accompanied by written materials.  The application deadline is April 23, 2021. 

Position is paid (4 hours per week) for the fall semester. 

Please contact CLEE Executive Director Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief description of proposed project).


Comparing Environmental Decisions of Trump-appointed Judges

Ken Alex

CLEE is seeking a law student to help review environmental decisions by federal district and circuit court judges and to compare decisions of Trump-appointed judges with others.

The application deadline is April 23, 2021.

Position can be for credit (1 unit) or pay (4-6 hours per week) for the fall semester.

Please contact Ken Alexif you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply by April 16 (include a resume, unofficial transcript, and brief description of why you are interested in the position).


Extending Transfer Development Rights to Environmental Enhancement

Ken Alex

Traditional transfer development rights allow the transfer of the right to develop on land that a jurisdiction wants to retain as undeveloped to a different location in the form of a development bonus (for a fee). How can we best extend this concept to create credits for landowners who affirmatively enhance the environmental benefits of their land that can be transferred to infill developers who would receive development bonuses? We are working with the City of San Jose to create such a system. It raises some legal issues that I want to explore.

Research can be completed for pay (GSR) or for 297 credit (1 credit = 4 hrs/wk).

Please contact CLEE Project Climate Director Ken Alexif you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Making and Using Disaster and Emergency Declarations

Dan Farber and Jordan Diamond

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of storms, altering drought and flood patterns, causing rising seas, and increasing risks of infectious diseases, among other things. Although we can’t say when they will occur, models and forecasts show us that disasters and emergencies are becoming increasingly common. The legal framework for declaring to disasters, however, is based on outdated context, and the confines of what authorities are then unlocked is often unclear. We are looking for research assistants to help us review past declarations of disasters and emergencies, at both the federal and state level, and analyze their context and effect.

Position is paid, and would involve 4-8 hours per week. 

Please contact Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).

 


Reversing Trump Rollbacks

Ken Alex

We are evaluating strategies to rescind Trump’s environmental rollbacks. We will be looking in some detail at some that may be more difficult to rescind and evaluating the implications of different approaches.

Research can be completed for pay (GSR) or for 297 credit (1 credit = 4 hrs/wk).

Please contact Ken Alexif you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Digital Economy & the Environment

Jordan Diamond

The rapid adoption and acceleration of the use of digital technologies is transforming the way we access and process information and live our daily lives, impacting the global economy and our social dynamics. These dramatic technological and social changes also have important environmental and energy implications. This initiative focuses on stimulating technical and policy research focused on ensuring maximum environmental and social benefit and minimal harm (e.g., increasing environmental footprint, algorithmic bias, etc) in conjunction with these new platforms. This fall, the GSR will focus on identifying and analyzing cutting-edge research and helping foment cross-disciplinary conversation and collaboration.

Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work), or pay.

Please contact Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Offshore Wind

Jordan Diamond

CLEE’s Ocean Program is working to ensure the nascent California offshore wind industry is sustainable and equitable. The industry is still being proposed and is not yet entrenched, providing an opportunity to implement holistic and inclusive planning processes. We are looking for a student to assist with a convening, stakeholder survey, and summary report that discusses the key opportunities, concerns, and challenges associated with offshore wind in California.

Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work), or pay.

Please contact Jordan Diamond if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


ClimateBreak – Business Plan Development

Ethan Elkind

CLEE is seeking to hire a Business School grad student to help design a marketing plan for a UC Berkeley-based climate change solutions radio program, podcast, and website called Climate Break.  The program (which features 90 second radio spots on climate solutions twice a week) is in start-up mode.  We need help developing a plan for outreach and marketing to radio stations, on social media, in podcast format, and for the website, as well as to market to UC Berkeley students.

The position will be about six hours a week, and is available for pay.

Please contact Ethan Elkind if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).


Law 298 Group Project
Environmental Justice and COVID-19: Addressing Disproportionate Risks and Impacts in a Changing Climate

Ted Lamm and Nell Green Nylen

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting environmentally and socio-economically disadvantaged communities.  But the broader connections between COVID-19 and environmental justice are only just emerging.  These connections—spanning public health, employment, education, housing, transportation, and the structure of urban spaces—are revealing critical policy needs in a changed (and changing) world.  At the same time, our experience with COVID-19 is highlighting the extent to which climate change will exacerbate existing vulnerabilities to pandemics and the need for resilience and adaptation frameworks that proactively address inequities.

Students in this group project will research these connections and their associated policy implications.  Law, policy, and public health students will work collaboratively to prepare a suite of analyses of high priority law, policy, and information needs at the intersection of environmental justice, environmental health, and COVID-19.  Anticipated student work product may include recommendations for cross-cutting legislation to address the multiple crises; proposals for regulatory actions to better integrate environmental justice and environmental health needs in long-term planning; plans for dynamic mapping and data analysis resources to support future policy development; and/or proposals for increasing resilience to future climate-linked pandemics.

Credits: 1 unit
Meeting times: Mondays 4 – 5 PM

Please contact Ted Lamm and Nell Green Nylen if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, writing sample of your choice, and a brief statement of interest).