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Faculty Seed Grants

The Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM) is a focal point for research and teaching about new media, led by a highly trans-disciplinary community of 120 affiliated faculty, advisors, and scholars, from 35 UC Berkeley departments, including Architecture, Philosophy, Film & Media, History of Art, Performance Studies, and Music; the Schools of Engineering, Information, Journalism, and Law; and the Berkeley Art Museum. Our mission is to critically analyze and help shape developments in new media from cross-disciplinary and global perspectives that emphasize humanities and the public interest.

BCNM’s seed grant fellowship program aims to identify innovative research incorporating questions of new media, and to support this work across campus, particularly by junior faculty. In keeping with BCNM’s own mission, this research can relate either to explorations of contemporary media in transformation, or to critical questions around the historic transformations and effects of new media on their own time.

This year, the Center will support up to three recipients.

Assistant Professors are invited to apply for a one-year seed grant of $6,000. Interested applicants should send a one page research proposal using this online form.

Work proposed for the fellowship can be a new extension of existing research, or new research grounded in the applicant’s interest and experience. Collaborative applications are allowed. Applications should address the urgency and impact of the research, as well as make clear how questions of new media—historic, contemporary, or both—are relevant. While a detailed budget is not necessary, we ask that you make clear what specific activities are likely to be supported by the fellowship funds.

Applications are due April 2, 2017. Funded faculty will be invited to help shape the larger conversation about new media on campus as part of BCNM’s Executive Committee, with recipients serving for the duration of their fellowship. The Executive Committee includes faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, and meets Monday 1-2pm for a catered lunch; members are expected to attend at least three meetings per semester.

Proposals will be assessed by the current Executive Committee according to three criteria: (1) relevance to new media, (2) academic rigor, and (3) potential for future funding. Funds will be transferred by the end of April.

Seed grants are given with the understanding that future grants arising from funded research should be undertaken with the Berkeley Center for New Media as the administrative home for future award funds.

Past Awards

In 2016, we were pleased to award Abigail De Kosnik, Eric Paulos, Greg Niemeyer, and Ed Campion with faculty seed grants, in our first pilot of the program. Recipients were selected by BCNM alumni. A huge thanks to Tiffany Ng and Reggie Royston, who gave up their time to chair the awards committee!

dekosnikseedgrant200x200 Abigail De Kosnik (TDPS) will receive $10,000 for her project TorrentMap, which will convene a research group to build a digital humanities tool that will measure P2P file sharing and the geographic spread of torrents over time. The tools created will be made freely available for other DH scholars to use. From Gail: “I am deeply honored by [our alumni’s] confidence in my project, and over the course of the next year, I will aim to assemble and lead a research team that will make [them] proud. Because this grant was awarded by our former students, it means more to me than any grant I could get from an institution.”

paulosseedgrant200x200Eric Paulos (Computer Science) will receive $10,000 for his project The Making of Unmaking, which designs for the eventual deterioration and failure of 3D printed objects, so as to inspire discussion not only about the objects made but the role of making. Paulos also hopes designing for degradation will offer greater creative possibilities and encourage participation in making from new communities.


niemeyerseedgrant200x200Greg Niemeyer (Art Practice) will receive $5,000 for his project Internet from the Inside Out, which builds tools to represent information from a radial perspective and will advance the conversation on aesthetics and data visualization. These tools will also be made freely available.




CLUSTER-X_premiere-EIC-Paris2015-200Ed Campion (CNMAT) will receive $5,000 for his project Sound Habitat, which will create a moveable sound installation sphere, suitable for flexible gallery, museum, and site-specific installation work.

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