CITRIS and the Banatao Institute announce 16 student-led projects that won competitive funding in Spring 2017. In parallel with the successful CITRIS Seed Funding Program for faculty innovators, the new CITRIS Tech for Social Good (TSG) Program supports student ingenuity and initiatives. Undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students are eligible to apply for TSG funding for projects that further the CITRIS mission and promote healthy, sustainable, connected, and equitable livelihoods in the United States and abroad.
Launched in fall 2016 at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, the TSG program currently offers two tracks: Tech Development and Events & Programming.
The Tech Development track funds early-stage technology research, hardware, software, web or mobile application development that address issues in Health, Robotics, Connected Communities, and Sustainable Infrastructures.
This year’s funded Tech Development projects involve interdisciplinary teams from multiple fields including Mathematics, Nutritional Science, Business Administration, and Computer Science. At UC Berkeley, 50% of awarded teams include women and 25% include graduate students. At UC Davis, 50% of awarded teams include women and 35% include graduate students. The Tech for Social Good Tech Development Track at UC Davis is made possible through a partnership between CITRIS, the Blum Center for Developing Economies, the Center for Regional Change, and the Institute for Social Sciences on the Davis campus.
The Events & Programming Track funds student-led activities that increase awareness, skills, and relationships related to technology for social good. In addition, this track supports student efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in tech fields.
This year’s funded Events & Programming projects include several large-scale hackathons focused on tech solutions to society’s most pressing challenges, along with seminar series that bring inspiring technology leaders to campus.
UC Berkeley Awardees
Tech Development Track
“Imagine DanceDanceRevolution meets Twister meets math education: that’s Geometris!” Children will play this geometry game by positioning their hands and feet on a 6×6 foot interactive floor mat. They must work together, coordinating their bodies to make each shape before time runs out. By presenting math as tangible and collaborative, the Geometris team aims to bolster children’s identities as capable mathematics learners.
Helping Hands: Playground Edition
This student team is developing a prosthetic hand that is strong enough to enable physical activities currently unsupported by other DIY prosthetic hands—such as the use of monkey bars— for children with upper limb challenges.
Events & Programming Track
Berkeley Builds is an interdisciplinary, social impact designathon that leverages student talent to build app-based solutions for local nonprofit organizations. The event aims to unite the technical and non-technical majors on campus to create effective solutions that last beyond the two days of the event.
Fem Tech Event Series
FEMTech Talk is a Speaker Series that aims to inspire young women to pursue computer science, technology, and entrepreneurship while providing a support system and breaking down gender and social stigmas associated with the industry by inviting women engineers to motivate and empower the next generation.
FoodInno Hackathon is a one-day event that links student creativity with the challenges that local food businesses face. The event is focused on “hacking” business model solutions, which can involve the design of novel products, services, and solutions. The FoodInno organization provides students with the opportunity to work closely with local food companies, co-ops, and organizations during the hackathon.
“How to Build the Future” DeCal
How To Build The Future (CS198) is a semester-long entrepreneurship class aimed at bridging the gap between undergraduate students and successful startup founders. Founders including Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures founder) and Justin Kan (Twitch.tv co-founder) will come to campus and share their startup stories and learnings. Students will also be exposed to the Berkeley startup scene, including professors, student organizations, and startup resources.
Women in Tech: A Panel at the Berkeley Forum
Despite the tech industry’s efforts towards inclusion and diversity, the number of women in some tech-related fields has plummeted. This problem is just as present at UC Berkeley, where only 11% of EECS graduates in 2016 were female. This panel aims to bring together women in the tech field to discuss solutions to the systemic issues they face.
UrsaHacks is committed to changing the exclusive atmosphere of contemporary hackathons. We wish to push the boundaries of a hackathon’s cultural ideology and challenge the notion that coding is reserved for computer scientists. Instead, our goal is to show that anyone from any background can use programming to benefit their lives and the lives of those around them.[/su_column][/su_row]
UC Davis Awardees
Tech Development Track
OneLoop is a diverse, multidisciplinary group of engineers working to design and build a functional, half-scale model of a Hyperloop pod to race in SpaceX’s Hyperloop Pod Competition.
The On-Farm Climate Resilience
Relevant, accessible, and effective climate change information can help small-scale farmers better plan for and respond to climate change effects. The On-Farm Climate Resilience Toolkit will enable farmers to utilize online learning networks, on-farm data collection, and participatory mapping to learn and share long-term climatic risk management strategies.
Together We CAN
Together We CAN teaches food preservation methods for pineapples, a crop with large post-harvest losses in the Mwogo sector, Bugesera district, of Rwanda. Teaching these skills to Rwandan pineapple farming community members can increase local food source availability and socio-economic development.
SER (Saúde-Health, Educação – Education, Renda-Income)
SER empowers smallholder farmers to improve their quality of life, while simultaneously enabling collective social action to alleviate poverty through the development of a vocational center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that supports the development of hydroponic farming.
Mi Vida Saludable
Mi Vida Saludable is a web-based platform to streamline data collection for mental health parameters at Clinica Tepati in Sacramento, California.
Water Filtration Systems for Floating Villages in Cambodia
For those living in the floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia, potable water is difficult to obtain. This team will develop and pilot test a low-cost biosand water filtration system that will convert contaminated lake water into clean water for household use.
Events & Programming Track
HackDavis is UC Davis’ annual hackathon for students, run by students to address the world’s most pressing social issues.
Project Link is a cross-cultural communication platform that combines video-chats and social media to foster engagement between UC Davis students and students at partner universities abroad to discuss global issues.
Tech for Social Good Events and Programming Gallery: