Graduate Student Positions

  1. Sustainable Design GSR
  2. Innovation Ambassadors (each UC campus)

Undergraduate Student Positions

  1. Innovation Ambassadors (each UC campus)

Big Ideas Contest: Sustainable Design GSR
Summer-Fall 2018
Hours: Up to 40 hours/week (100%) for Summer 2018; Up to 20 hours/week (50% 2018-19 for Fall/Spring semesters
Start Date (Flexible): August 1, 2018

The Blum Center for Developing Economies is UC Berkeley’s interdisciplinary hub for poverty action and poverty studies, bridging technology, scholarship, and practice to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.The Blum Center is not only a university-wide interdisciplinary hub, but also serves as a cross campus center, with Blum Centers now located at all 10 universities within the University of California system.

Managed by the Blum Center, the Big Ideas Contest is an annual competition aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have creative solutions to pressing social challenges. Since its founding in 2006, Big Ideas has inspired innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation. To find out more about Big Ideas, visit our website.

The primary responsibility of the Sustainable Design Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) will be to integrate sustainable design principles into the Big Ideas Contest. The goal is to help student innovators examine the potential environmental impacts of their innovations at the very beginning phase of their invention. We aim to leverage life-cycle analysis, systems thinking, biomimicry, and circular economy in order to help students adopt a whole systems approach to innovation. To this end, the GSR will develop and oversee a suite of workshops and resources that introduce such concepts and frameworks for sustainable design. The GSR will also lead trainings for students on methods to integrate sustainability principles into their work, designs, products, innovations, or inventions.

Duties and Responsibilities:

      • Plan, implement and manage all activities related to a Fall Enviro-Design Innovation Week, including an overview seminar and a Practitioners in Residence series, and Spring Intensive Enviro-Design Workshop.
      • Provide ongoing advice and support to Big Ideas applicants on methods for integrating environmental sustainability into their products, designs or technologies.
      • Develop a sustainable design evaluation criteria that will push innovators to incorporate sustainable design strategies and think through the potential life-cycle implications from the beginning of the project.
      • Curate a comprehensive repository of environmental responsibility tools and resources for Big Ideas teams to easily access.
      • Coordinate with the Big Ideas program manager to incorporate sustainable design concepts into Big Ideas information sessions.
      • Collaborate with Network Coordinator on the recruitment of and judges with expertise in environmental responsibility and sustainable design.
      • Develop a framework for incorporating environmental responsibility into the Big Ideas judging criteria.
      • Augment the current Big Ideas Toolkit to include a section on how to integrate environmental responsibility into innovation contests.
      • Develop, deploy and analyze surveys to assess how participants’ knowledge of environmental responsibility shift and by what means.
      • Participate on panels and present at conferences and events to present findings on the challenges and opportunities to integrate sustainable design in students’ innovations.


      • Graduate level student (Masters or PhD) in a related field with demonstrated experience and expertise in sustainable design, life-cycle analysis, and environmental responsibility.
      • Experience designing and leading student programs and/or student advising.
      • Demonstrated ability to analyze and summarize complex information.
      • Excellent communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal/relationship management skills are required.
      • Demonstrated effectiveness in working with diverse student audience in a team-oriented environment.
      • Accuracy, close attention to detail, exceptional follow-up skills, and the ability to adhere to deadlines.
      • Extensive understanding of the entrepreneurial, innovation, and international development landscape both within and outside of the Bay Area.
      • Strong project management skills necessary to set and monitor progress against goals, to develop plans and timelines, and to measure success toward goals.

Interested applicants (UC Berkeley graduate students only) should send a cover letter and résumé to