Sustainable Research Pathways @Berkeley Lab

Since 2015, Sustainable Horizons Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) partnered on an innovative idea to increase the breadth and quality of the Computing Sciences workforce. This idea led to the development of Sustainable Research Pathways (SRP). The program originated as a method of connecting scientists from underrepresented groups (minorities, women, people with disabilities, first generation scholars, and smaller colleges and universities) with staff scientists to encourage the formation of research collaborations.

The SRP Program consists of two major parts:

A fast paced matching workshop

This workshop provides faculty, students, and staff the opportunity to learn about each other’s research interests and identify possibilities for collaborative work. This process is facilitated through research presentations and a “speed matching” activity. Once faculty-student-staff and student-staff matches are identified, the teams submit proposals for summer research experiences at the laboratory.

A two-month summer research experience

The summer research experience is designed to immerse faculty and students in a rigorous program led by staff at Berkeley Lab.

Many SRP participants also participate in the Broader Engagement program, where they present their research at a major conference.

During its first six years, the SRP Program fostered approximately 250 summer research connections between Berkeley Lab scientists, faculty, and students from a variety of colleges and universities, including a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI), and community and liberal arts colleges like Tuskegee University, Fort Valley State University, University of Puerto Rico, the University of Kentucky, Hood College, and American River College.

Participating faculty increased their own research and technical skills; were exposed to new research, collaboration, and funding opportunities; and increased their confidence in and ability to encourage students to apply for internships.

Lab staff learned that the potential talent pool is large, Department of Energy (DOE) Laboratories have a lot to offer underrepresented students, DOE Laboratories can benefit from collaborations, and interesting research is being conducted at smaller institutions.

We customize our SRP programs for each team and each institution. For each SRP program, SHI handles all the recruiting, workshop applications, speaker invitations, workshop facilitation, summer internship applications, and post-workshop data collection. If you are interested in bringing SRP to your team or your institution, please contact us at

• 50 percent of students indicate the experience changed their vision of themselves as scientists

73 percent of faculty participants indicate the experience impacted their academic/professional lives.

• 70 percent indicated a positive impact on their teaching and student interactions.

• 20% of staff participants increased their interest/desire to support diversity.

• 1/3 of student participants come from minority-serving institutions.

• 1/3 of students are from liberal arts, community colleges, and public institutions.

• 70 percent are undergraduates.

• 23 percent of students are Black.

• 21 percent of students are Latinx.

• 40 percent of students are first-generation scholars.

• 1/3 of faculty and student participants are female.

“The program is excellent. I was able to meet Berkeley Lab scientists and see potential areas for collaboration. I cannot overemphasize the sense of belonging that this diverse professional network provided for me. I was also able to bring a student with me to LBNL for the summer.”

Henry Boateng, Assistant Professor, San Francisco State University

Participating in the summer research program has allowed me to make contacts and to conduct work that will set me apart from other candidates when I apply for doctoral programs this coming winter. I do not believe that I would have been qualified to apply for top-tier graduate schools without the experience and connections that I am gaining from this program.”

Tom Corcoran, student at Hood College

David Brown presenting to SRP participants

“There is an untapped source of enthusiastic, curious and talented individuals, many of them from underrepresented groups, that we haven’t been able to reach in the past. Programs like Sustainable Research Pathways and BE open doors for students from underrepresented groups and faculty by helping them make the connections they need in order to develop collaborative relationships and find opportunities in academia and national laboratories.” 

David Brown, Director of Computational Research Division at Berkeley Lab

Information on the previous SRP Programs:
SRP Program 2015 Overview

SRP Program 2016 Overview

SRP Program 2017 Overview

SRP Program 2018 Overview

SRP Program 2019 Overview

SRP Program 2020 Overview

SRP Program 2021 *Applications now closed*