September 16, 2014

Haas PhD Students Invited to Join Interdisciplinary Green Chemistry Program


Assoc. Prof. Christine Rosen

Haas School PhD students will soon have the opportunity to study and develop innovative solutions to the multi-faceted challenges of manufacturing and developing business policies around green energy and chemistry, thanks to a $3.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Haas School of Business recently partnered with UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, the College of Chemistry, and the College of Natural Resources to form a new PhD program devoted to green energy and chemistry research at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) beginning January 2013.

Christine Rosen, associate professor and Haas liaison to BCGC, explains that green energy and chemistry are closely related. One of the main goals of green chemistry, for example, is to identify hazardous chemicals in wide use and develop safer alternatives for a cleaner environment.

“We are broadening the idea of green energy beyond its conventional focus on energy efficiency and climate change to include green chemistry’s concerns with safety and protection of natural ecosystems," says Rosen.  "This has huge implications for clean-tech innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing etc. But it’s not limited to energy. Many consumer products, such as hazardous flame retardants, contain toxic chemicals and need to be removed or reformulated.”

Rosen will teach a class that focuses on the specific green design challenge posed by society’s need for sustainable energy technologies that not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also reduce human and non-human exposure to toxic chemicals, and minimize water use and damage to natural ecosystems.   

The NSF awarded the Systems Approach to Green Energy (SAGE) Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship grant to the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry last month. The goal: to prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers, toxicologists, policy-makers, and business leaders to shape the country's green-chemistry and clean-energy economy. The grant will help train five to six PhD students annually for five years in the principles of green chemistry and the design of clean energy technologies. By using a systems approach, the program will foster technology innovations in solar energy, biofuel, and energy storage systems.

“We anticipate that SAGE grad students will be fully funded for two years, starting in the spring of their first year and continuing through the fall of their third year. After that, SAGE students will be funded through traditional research and teaching assistant positions. SAGE students will also have access to funding from the National Science Foundation’s Competitive Innovation Fund,” says BCGC Executive Director Marty Mulvihill.

The program will also feature K-12 outreach programs to Bay Area schools, the option of studying at universities in England and Sweden that are developing similar green chemistry and sustainable energy programs, and the opportunity to work with global partners.

Interested students and faculty may attend the SAGE open house and reception on Monday, October 8th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Tan Hall, Room 775.

To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be enrolled in a PhD program in the Haas School of Business, College of Chemistry, College of Natural Resources (including Energy & Resources Group), School of Public Health, Goldman School of Public Policy, or College of Engineering
  • Have at least two years remaining in your graduate program. (Preference will be given to students in their first three years of graduate school)
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

Click here to apply.

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