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.


— Current Opportunities —

 


 

Administrative, Environmental & Energy Law

Prof. Eric Biber

Prof. Biber is looking to hire research assistants for the fall of 2018. RAs can work on a range of projects in administrative, environmental, and energy law, including but not limited to: (1) a survey of state and federal energy regulation laws and policies and their relationship with renewable energy policy and production; (2) whether and how state constitutional limits on taxes will prevent the implementation of environmental fees and charges (such as California’s cap-and-trade program); (3) Presidential authority to implement federal public lands laws (such as Presidential power to eliminate national monuments); (4) the role of litigation in management of National Forests and responding to fire on National Forests; (5) a survey and analysis of the California Endangered Species Act and how to reform it to make it more effective; (6) research on whether competition among states for business adversely affects state environmental laws and enforcement; (7) designing environmental laws and regulations to make them resilient to changes in political outcomes; (8) research on local and state land-use regulation in California and its impacts on housing production and costs; and (9) research on the environmental regulations being developed by California for the state’s newly legalized marijuana industry. RAs will have some choice as to which projects they will work on. RAs can work for credit (as a 297 class) in the fall semester, or for pay in the summer. Fall commitments are expected to be between 5-10 hours/week. In the summer, commitments can range from as little as 5 hours/week to potentially half- or full-time.

  • Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work) or pay.
  • Prior experience or coursework in environmental law is preferred, but not required. 
  • Please contact Prof. Eric Biber if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).

 


Groundwater Recharge: 

Dr. Mike Kiparsky

Dr. Mike Kiparsky, director of CLEE’s water program, is looking to hire a research assistant for fall 2018 to focus on groundwater recharge. Recharging aquifers will be crucial for bringing groundwater basins into sustainable balance in California and around the world, but a clear understanding of relevant institutional context and potential incentives is often lacking. CLEE is currently working to identify, analyze, and clarify the technical, institutional, legal, and economic elements necessary for decision-makers to select and deploy aquifer recharge. 

Working closely with CLEE, the student researcher would be responsible for researching and developing research to be included in CLEE’s final project report. The work is interdisciplinary in nature, and will therefore include technical, institutional, and economic research in addition to legal research. Coursework or a background in water law is a bonus, but not required. Position is paid, and would involve 8-10 hours of work per week.

  • Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work) or pay.
  • Prior experience or coursework in environmental law is preferred, but not required. 
  • Please contact Dr. Mike Kiparsky if you have any questions, would like to discuss, or to apply (resume, unofficial transcript, and brief statement of interest).

Artificial Intelligence: Maximizing the Environmental & Energy Benefits 

Jordan Diamond & Daniel Farber

Jordan Diamond (Executive Director of CLEE) and Prof. Dan Farber (Faculty Director of CLEE) seek a research assistant to work on on identifying the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for energy and the environment.  AI may yield substantial environmental and energy benefits, if desired; or it may lead to expanded resource drain.  Our research seeks to ensure we have processes in place to ensure we maximize benefits and minimize harms.  The research will likely include conducting extensive literature reviews to evaluate the state of knowledge and scholarship in the field, summarizing key sources, and/or drafting synopses for online purposes.  These efforts will support a large-scale, multi-partner initiative to catalyze interdisciplinary research on AI and the environment.  Interdisciplinary backgrounds are a bonus, but not required.   

  • 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).

– Position has been filled – 


Sustaining and Improving California Climate Policy through the Gubernatorial Transition

Ethan Elkind & Ted Lamm
California is a national and international leader in forward-looking climate policies, including ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, renewable portfolio standards, energy efficiency requirements, electric vehicle goals, and more. Many of these efforts have been initiated or accelerated under Governor Jerry Brown, who has made climate change a top priority since taking office in 2011. As the state prepares for a new Governor in 2019, it will be imperative to sustain the state’s climate policy momentum with research-backed policy recommendations.
 
Ethan Elkind (Director of CLEE’s Climate Program) and Ted Lamm (Research Fellow in the Climate Program) are seeking a research assistant to contribute to legal and policy research on California’s existing climate policies, their success to date, challenges and opportunities for the future, potential reforms, and key priorities. This will involve research and synthesis of published information from academic, legal, and media sources on climate change policy in California. Specific topics may include renewable energy generation and battery storage, electric vehicle infrastructure and adoption, land use and transportation planning and policy, energy efficiency in existing buildings, freight and goods movement, and more. Work product may include background research summaries, contributions to written policy reports, and collaboration on policy workshops. Prior environmental law course experience is preferred.
 
  • Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work) or pay.

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