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4 UC Berkeley projects awarded MRPI grants

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The four UC Berkeley research projects receiving grant funding cover a wide range of topics and disciplines.


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JANUARY 18, 2023

Four humanities and sciences research projects hosted by UC Berkeley were awarded grants as part of the UC’s Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives, or MRPI, this year.

MRPI grants are awarded to UC research projects every two years, provided the projects use multidisciplinary academic expertise across three or more campuses, according to a UC press release.

One project, the California Interfacial Science Institute, or CISI, will use its $1.1M in funding alongside the help of chemists, physicists and material scientists in an attempt to establish the UC system as a leader in interfacial science, according to CISI primary investigator Michael Zuerch.

“In the core, we hope in CISI to bring theorists and experimentalists together with an overarching vision that by combining advanced models with only very recently developed methods to study such interfaces by experiments, we can provide a much clearer picture of how interfaces work,” Zuerch said in an email. “Having such insights will then enable deterministic improvement of technologies that ultimately will benefit the people living in California.”

Another grant recipient, the Green Building Research Center, or GBRC, will focus its $300K in funding on creating economic, environmental and social sustainability in the design, construction and renovation processes of buildings in California. The GBRC will develop a list of urgent questions, collect data and design a framework for decision making, according to the GBRC research abstract. It also plans to create a website and partner with architecture, engineering and construction companies.

Another project at Berkeley Law, Anti-Asian Violence: Origins and Trajectories at Berkeley Law, received a grant of $250K this cycle. Co-primary investigator of the project Leti Volpp said the team aims to examine local, national and transnational causes of anti-Asian violence, as well as differences in gender, class, nationality and sexuality.

“We hope the impact will be developing more knowledge about the causes of anti-Asian violence as well as how to best address it,” Volpp said in an email.

Volpp noted her team will use their findings to create a report, co-teach an undergraduate course, organize a graduate student workshop and curate a production and mini-exhibition showcasing arts in the response to anti-Asian violence.

The final campus project awarded a grant, Just Transitions In Large Socioecological Systems: Drought, Sea-level Rise & Salinity In the Delta, plans to couple novel computing and locally sourced knowledge to pioneer approaches to managing sea level rise and salinity in the San Francisco Bay Delta, according to the press release. Researchers will use the granted $2.5M to investigate strategies to mitigate challenges arising from salinity levels and create tools to address other issues in the Bay-Delta, such as harmful algal blooms or species recovery, according to the project’s research abstract.

“Ultimately these are funds provided by the State of California to benefit research within the State,” Zuerch said in an email. “What makes this funding in particular impactful is that it does not carry so-called overhead as compared to federal funding.”

Contact Ria Raniwala at 


JANUARY 19, 2023