Top Energy Thinkers to Examine Challenges at Symposium, Oct 20-21

UC Berkeley's status as a hotbed for some of the world's most exciting new energy research and innovation will be on display as up to 800 scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and students convene for the 2011 BERC Energy Symposium Oct. 20-21.

Organizers expect a record crowd for this year's event, themed "The Role of the University in Addressing Today's Energy Challenges." Early-bird registration is available through today, Sept. 26, at

"Berkeley is at the forefront of energy research and policy, and everyone is excited to share that work and show everyone why Berkeley is special," says Darren Woulfe, MBA 12, who is co-chairing the symposium with Jerome Fox, a PhD candidate in chemical engineering.

The two-day event opens Thursday with an Innovation Expo from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The expo has been expanded this year and moved to the Berkeley Art Museum to accommodate nearly 100 poster presentations and up to 20 feature presenters competing for $9,500 in cash prizes. The keynote speaker that night is Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison and CEO of Carbon War Room, a nonprofit that seeks market-driven approaches to combat climate change.

The symposium, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, includes nine panel discussions and a keynote by Dr. Arun Majumdar, director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), formed in 2009 to support transformational energy research and development that is too risky for the private sector.

Panel topics cover the range of clean energy advances, including the push to terawatt solar, the impact of renewables in the developing world, international cooperation, electric vehicles, and the question of whether nuclear can be classified as green or clean. The afternoon plenary panel will be an in-depth discussion on the conference theme: the central role universities play in innovation.

The symposium is organized by the Berkeley Energy Resources Collaborative (BERC), a multi-disciplinary group of students, alumni, and professionals that aims to bridge the gap between research and industry to tackle environmental challenges. Its annual symposium has become the West Coast's largest student-run energy conference.

Visit the BERC website