CITRIS Workforce Innovation

Collage of photos of students working in various research and fabrication labs.

The CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program helps UC students pursue world-changing research and accelerate their careers.

The 2024 internship application round has closed.

The program offers select University of California students the opportunity to inform their career decisions through eight-week paid internships, where they’ll build in-demand skills through on-the-job experience. Participants will receive training in leadership and project management, and will be supported throughout the internship program by dedicated CITRIS staff, as well as the community of peers in their cohort.

CITRIS and the Banatao Institute invite undergraduates from all majors at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz to apply for placements in one of six areas of emerging IT innovation important to the state of California: aviation, climate and energy, cybersecurity, data for social impact, digital health, and semiconductors. Graduate students from all four campuses may apply for the semiconductor track.

Note for undergraduates interested in the semiconductor track: You may qualify for expanded opportunities through the NSF Workforce Innovation and Inclusion in Semiconductors and Emerging Research Areas (WIISER) project. Students from all four CITRIS campuses are eligible for a WIISER Summer Fellowship. UC Berkeley students may also be eligible for a full-year WIISER NanoLab Fellowship at the Berkeley Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory, which includes part-time work during the academic year as well as a full-time summer internship. You will be contacted by a staff member after submitting your application if you fulfill the requirements for a WIISER placement.

Students who represent the rich diversity of the University of California, including women, people from underrepresented backgrounds, Pell Grant recipients, undocumented students and first-generation students, are encouraged to apply.

Internship duration: 8 weeks
May–August 2024 (UC Berkeley and UC Merced students)
June–August 2024 (UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz students)

Who can apply:
Undergraduate students at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz (all areas)
Graduate students at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz (semiconductor area only)

Hear from the summer 2023 cohort

Internship areas

  • Aviation: Expanding use of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), electrification of flight, leveraging data to improve air transport
  • Climate and Energy: Improving energy efficiency, water use, environmental monitoring, food tech, ag tech, decarbonization of transportation and other industries 
  • Cybersecurity: Enhancing security of systems and data, increasing availability of cyber solutions, and furthering understanding on the intersection of human nature and cyber risk
  • Data for Social Impact: Using techniques of data science in application areas that may benefit nonprofits, government agencies or other social benefit organizations
  • Digital Health: Delivering quality care and improving access, expanding data analytics and telehealth technologies
  • Semiconductors: Advancing next-generation micro- and nanoelectronics and related emerging technologies, including quantum computing

Intern expectations

  • Earn $6,000 for participating in the Workforce Innovation Program
  • Receive real-world experience (remote or in-person) at an established company, startup, national lab, campus lab, government agency or nonprofit engaging in an emerging area of innovation
  • Participate in a series of co-curricular workshops to gain communication and leadership skills 
  • Learn practices to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset before and during job placements
  • Work on projects to add to professional portfolio 
  • Provide a fresh perspective and creative ideas to address concrete problems
  • Network with peers and industry professionals

Host organization obligations

  • Provide a structured internship experience focused on active mentorship
  • Ensure that 75 percent of work scope is experiential learning and no more than 25 percent of duties are administrative in nature
  • Complete a brief, 30-minute training in best practices for hosting interns to maximize student experience
  • Commit to providing a welcoming and inclusive work environment 
  • Conduct at least two professional reviews — one at midpoint and the other during the last week of the internship


  • November 2023: Applications for students and hosts open
  • December: Info session on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at noon PT (Watch the video)
  • January: Applications accepted on a rolling basis; final submission date for students is Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, at 5 p.m. PT
  • February: Host organizations are selected 
  • March: Students are notified of their selection and potential host organization match; interviews may be conducted to confirm matches 
  • April: Internships are confirmed
  • May–June: Internship training workshops begin
  • May: Internships begin, running through August 2024
  • August: Workshops end, local receptions for students and hosts 
  • September: Closing symposium

For more information, please contact Nicole-Marie Cotton, program manager of workforce development, at

Applicant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Undergraduate students from all majors who are currently enrolled at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced or UC Santa Cruz are eligible to apply. Graduate students from all four campuses are eligible to apply in the semiconductor track.

You will be placed at a company, nonprofit organization or government agency working in aviation, climate and energy, cybersecurity, data for social impact, digital health, or semiconductors.

Your host organization will develop its own scope of work, so projects will vary. Since this is an experiential learning internship, you will apply your skills to solve real-world problems at least 75 percent of the time, and no more than 25 percent of your work will be administrative in nature.

Yes! Even if you have little or no work experience, you can apply to the program to gain skills that will increase your employment prospects when you enter the job market. CITRIS will also provide workshops to prepare you for your internship.

Positions are also available for non-STEM majors so if you are interested in applying your skills to advance technology applications in the sectors listed above, this internship is for you.

The CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program will try its best to match selected students interested in a particular domain of innovation with a suitable host partner in need of interns. Some host partners may have specific requirements. Depending on the number of hosts available, we may not be able to place all applicants. We typically receive many more student applicants than can be admitted to the program. In our first year, one out of every five applicants were selected for an internship.

You will be funded for your eight-week experiential learning internship working no more than 30 hours per week. You will earn approximately $6,000 for the full internship.

As an undergraduate intern, if your appointment is in a campus lab or other campus program, or if the work for a host organization can be completed remotely, you will be employed by your campus. If the host organization requires that you work on site, you will be employed by the company or organization.

Graduate students in the semiconductor track will be employed directly by the host.

Yes, graduating seniors are eligible to apply but they must commit to participating in the full program if matched with a host. Preference may be given to students earlier in their academic careers.

Yes. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen. Fellowship options are available for select internships.

Yes, undocumented undergraduate students can participate in this program. Work authorization has no bearing on eligibility or evaluation of your application.

Final internship placements will be made in early April. Students will have a chance to meet with their prospective host organization in March before finalizing the placement.

The CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program will provide ongoing support to you and your entire cohort. Staff will hold weekly check-ins and be available for “office hours.”

For more information, please contact Nicole-Marie Cotton, program manager of workforce development, at

Host Organization FAQs

Companies, research labs and nonprofit organizations with projects in at least one of the six areas of innovation (aviation, climate and energy, cybersecurity, data for social impact, digital health, and semiconductors) are eligible to apply as hosts.

A committee of stakeholders screens and selects students who fit the criteria described in the  scope of work submitted in the host organization’s application. Host organizations will receive a small selection of proposed matches whom they can interview to ascertain fit. We ask that these interviews take place within one week of the list of proposed students being provided. Matches are then finalized.

The CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program involves students at four UC campuses; UC Berkeley and UC Merced follow a semester calendar, and UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz are on quarter systems. Due to differences in academic calendars, interns and host organizations decide on a start date that works best for them between May and August 2023. Internships are eight weeks long.

CITRIS compensates undergraduate interns who can complete their internships remotely or in-person on one of the participating UC campuses. The intern’s respective campus will onboard the intern.

If the host organization requires the intern to work at the job site, the host organization must compensate and onboard the intern through their organization’s human resources department. We ask that the students are paid commensurate with what they would earn if paid directly by CITRIS: $6,000 for eight weeks at 30 hours per week.

Graduate students serving in semiconductor internships must be employed directly by the host organization, and, in this case, internships may be longer than eight weeks with negotiable hours.