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 —


BFI Summer 2020 Agricultural Land and Climate Policy Graduate Student Researcher

Ethan Elkind

The Berkeley Food Institute (BFI) and CLEE are evaluating how an accelerated switch to regenerative agriculture and increased carbon sequestration can be financed, and the connection between those strategies and land use policy and land ownership. For example, can we use a mechanism similar to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to improve financing? What are other mechanisms? We are seeking a summer graduate student researcher with knowledge of climate change policy, farming, land use policy, finance, or other related fields. This person will be responsible for helping to prepare for and notetaking during an invitation-only virtual roundtable of experts to be held in June 2020. Following the roundtable, the GSR will conduct additional research and help compile conclusions and policy recommendations into a 5–10 page white paper for public dissemination. The student will critically support the efficacy of the roundtable and subsequent white paper by seeking and evaluating feedback from attendees and non-attendees in key constituencies. This position will report to Nina F. Ichikawa, BFI Executive Director and Ethan Elkind, CLEE Climate Program Director.

Please find more information about the position and how to apply here. 


Climate Law

Ethan Elkind and Ted Lamm

CLEE’s climate program seeks law and policy research assistance for a group of ongoing projects, on topics including insurance and climate change; sustainable investment practices; the electric vehicle battery supply chain; and more.

Anticipated 20 hours per week. Please inquire for funding availability.

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


Environmental Law

Holly Doremus

Professor Doremus is looking for 2 or 3 students to help her compile and finalize teaching materials for Environmental Law and Policy (a new edition of the casebook), Ocean and Coastal Law (to supplement or replace the casebook used in the past), and Water Law (to supplement and update the casebook). Must be willing to devote at least 15 hours per week. Up to full time is possible.

Please send your resume, law school transcript, a cover letter, and the names and contact information for at least two references directly to Holly at hdoremus@law.berkeley.edu no later than Monday, May 4, 2020.


Improving Water Rights Administration and Oversight for Future Droughts

Nell Green Nylen

Work with CLEE staff on a project to support drought contingency planning for the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights. During times of shortage, water right priority rules nominally help determine who may use water, when, and how much. In theory, these rules enhance predictability, help prevent and resolve conflicts, and allow water users to evaluate their risk of not receiving water based on the relative priorities of their rights. However, following these rules—and other applicable legal requirements—is not always straightforward in practice. Effective water rights administration and oversight are needed to help water users understand what water they can or cannot use (and why) and for otherwise ensuring that water is allocated consistent with state and federal law. This project builds on analyses we did as part of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment (described here) to help develop a contingency-based framework to support more effective water rights decision making during future droughts.

20 or 40 hours per week (half time or full time)

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with a final application deadline of Friday, April 24th.

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


Project Climate

Ken Alex

Project Climate is seeking Graduate Student Researchers to assist with research, writing, and action plans for Project Climate initiatives (see a list of ongoing projects here). The project portfolio will likely include work on a CEQA offset protocol for soil sequestration of carbon and a radio program called Climate Fix that focuses on climate progress and solutions. 

Students can receive 297 credit (1 credit for every 4 hours/week of work) or pay (please inquire for funding availability). 

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


Land Use Law

Prof. Eric Biber

The Institute of Urban & Regional Development at the University of California, Berkeley, is seeking Graduate Student Researchers (law students) to assist faculty researchers (Eric Biber and Moira O’Neill) on a state-wide land use study. The goal of this research is to identify which state and local land use laws are the proper focus of reforms to increase housing supply in California. The study draws on data collected on land-use regulation, housing approvals, and also from interviews with stakeholders in the housing development process in key counties across California. The Graduate Student Researcher will support data collection on local land-use regulations and project approvals, as well as data analysis. 

Tasks:

  • Assist Principal Investigator and Co-PI with entitlement data collection.
  • Summarize local land use law relevant to selected jurisdictions.
  • Perform content and data analysis, including reviewing all final documentation and performing legal analysis of documents.
  • Coordinate directly with city planning staff to request lists of approved projects, and to confirm data collection and preliminary analysis.
  • Completion of land-use law preferred but not required.

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

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).


Tracking and Analyzing Rollbacks of Environmental Protections During the COVID-19 Crisis

Nell Green Nylen

Work with a team to track and analyze (1) federal and California statutory, regulatory, and guidance-level actions that relax or reduce environmental protections during the domestic COVID-19 crisis; (2) requests from local governments and industry for these types of actions; and (3) the justifications offered for each. This project is focused on understanding the extent to which particular actions provide necessary, temporary relief in the context of the current crisis, versus furthering opportunistic profit seeking and/or long-term efforts to weaken environmental governance. Prior experience working with databases is a plus, but not required.

20 or 40 hours per week (half time or full time).

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with a final application deadline of Friday, April 24th.

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

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