New USAID Pact Brings $10K Fellowships to Berkeley Grad Students

October 03, 2014

BERKELEY - The University of California, Berkeley is launching a three-year cooperative agreement with the Global Development Lab, an independent bureau of the U.S. Agency for International Development, to provide Berkeley graduate students with access to exclusive, funded summer fellowships opportunities along, it was announced today (Friday, October 3).

UC Berkeley’s Global Development Fellowships (GDFs) will allow up to 20 selected fellows to spend two to three summer months helping USAID partner organizations solve the scientific, technological, organizational and business challenges they face, as they seek to improve the lives and livelihoods of people in seven target countries: Senegal, South Africa, India, The Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia and Brazil. Hosting organizations include universities, local businesses, international private sector companies, non-governmental organizations, and government ministries.

Grad student intern working in a classroom

“With this partnership, we can leverage the commitment and ingenuity of UC Berkeley masters and PhD students to help our partners address some of the most complex challenges these countries face,” said Courtney Matson, fellowships program manager at USAID, which has an organizational mission to end extreme poverty. Additional support has been provided through a generous matching grant from Chevron as part of its ongoing partnerships with both UC Berkeley and USAID.

“Chevron is proud to support the expansion of this initiative and we look forward to seeing the innovative ideas developed by fellows to address global challenges, said Steve Woodhead, Manager, Global Social Investment for Chevron Corporation. "Together with UC Berkeley and USAID we can continue to advance economic development in communities around the world.”

UC Berkeley is one of six universities nationally selected to expand USAID’s Research and Innovation Fellowship program, which until now had been open only to National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows. The other universities are University California, Davis, The University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, Arizona State University, and Rutgers University. Selected students at UC Berkeley will receive fellowships of $10,000 each to cover travel and subsistence expenses.

The Global Development Fellowships program will be managed by UC Berkeley’s Master of Development Practice (MDP) program. To help prepare fellows for their assignments, faculty from the MDP and the Haas School of Business will lead them through an eight-session course during the spring semester.

“This agreement opens up opportunities for students from across Berkeley,” said George Scharffenberger, director of the Berkeley MDP. “They will have a hands-on learning experience while making a tangible contribution to communities across the globe.”

The program will officially launch on October 9 at a 4:30 pm event in the MDP program’s base, 311 Wellman Hall. Interested students are encouraged to attend. A further information session will be held later in October.

A similar event for recipients of NSF fellowships will be held the same day at noon in 370 Dwinelle on the Berkeley campus.

The Master of Development Practice, housed in the College of Natural Resources, is a cross-campus, professional degree program providing students with multi-disciplinary preparation for careers in global development practice through a core curriculum and opportunities to specialize with elective courses and hands-on experiential learning.

USAID is the lead U.S. government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.