Visiting Senior Fellows Program

Become part of a vibrant community working together to advance projects related to technology and social impact

The Blum Center invites applications from individuals interested in joining the Center as Senior Visiting Fellows.

The Center leverages the talent, enthusiasm, and energy of the University of California, Berkeley community to address important societal challenges. With faculty from over 70 departments and students from over 50 majors, our interdisciplinary center facilitates a robust research, education and training portfolio that applies technology, innovation and leadership to make positive change in the U.S. and globally.

The Center leverages the talent, enthusiasm, and energy of the University of California, Berkeley community to address important societal challenges. With faculty from over 70 departments and students from over 50 majors, our interdisciplinary center facilitates a robust research, education and training portfolio that applies technology, innovation and leadership to make positive change in the U.S. and globally.

The Blum Center’s programs include educational offerings in Development Engineering (a professional Masters and designated emphasis for doctoral students), the Digital Transformation of Development (DToD) Fellowship funded by a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) grant, and the Big Ideas@Berkeley, a social impact innovation program which challenges students to dream big about how they might change the world and then through a year-long process of advising, mentorship, and seed funding to set students up for entrepreneurial success.

Applications from Senior fellows with the ability to bridge and translate between the classroom and outside academia for real-world impact are particularly encouraged. Senior Fellows should have at least a decade of experience in areas related to Blum Center strategic priorities. We invite senior fellows from the private sector, public sector, startups, academic institutions (e.g. sabbatical posts), or government entities.

Current Fellows

Louise Fox

Louise Fox is an internationally recognized development economist who specializes in strategies for employment creation, opportunity expansion, economic empowerment, and poverty reduction.  She has advised governments in the developed and developing world, international organizations, and philanthropic and non-profit organizations on problem diagnosis, strategies for results, and outcome measurement.  She held full-time positions at USAID (as Chief Economist) and at the World Bank.  She is currently affiliated with the African Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution and the Blum Center for Developing Economies, University of California, Berkeley. She was previously affiliated with the Overseas Development Institute, where she led a major research project on Gender and Agricultural transformation.  Louise has published in the areas of inclusive growth, structural transformation, youth employment, the political economy of poverty reduction, gender and women’s economic empowerment, employment, labor markets, and labor regulation, pension reform, reform of child welfare systems, social protection, effective public expenditures in the social sectors, and female-headed households and child welfare.  

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Sonia Navani
Senior Fellow
Dr. Navani is a global health scientist focusing on decolonial data applications of technology as an organizing principle to shift power asymmetries and improve health outcomes in complex humanitarian emergencies and development settings. She leads the EpiNu project, a community-centric approach using edge deep learning models to address prenatal nutrition security in communities impacted by extreme poverty and climate change.

Navani is the founder and director of DHDI, a not-for-profit digital community health collab working with grassroots organizations in armed conflict and climate-impacted settings. Over the past 20 years, she has held positions at the International Rescue Committee, UNICEF, UNFPA, and Columbia University. Her work has been conducted in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Danny Wilson
Senior Fellow

Danny Wilson is a leading global expert in the use of sensors and data science to enhance development outcomes. He envisions a future where Internet of Things (IoT) sensor-equipped aid, products, and infrastructure transform the development landscape. Such instrumentation opens the door to innovative financial models, including quantified results-based financing, pay-per-use, and pay-per-impact mechanisms. Frustrated with the prevalence of broken, under-utilized, and ineffective development projects, Danny advocates for a more data-driven approach. In his ideal future, instead of funding the construction of yet another soon-to-be-broken water well, backers would pay per liter of pumped clean water that has been verified through sensor technology. Danny was the first graduate of UC Berkeley’s Development Engineering Ph.D. program, and he has authored many papers, several book chapters, and a pair of patents on the subject. Since earning his doctorate, Danny has founded three companies, and has aimed to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental health and energy challenges. Currently, Danny wears multiple hats. He serves as the CEO of Geocene, a consultancy specializing in connected-sensor technology and software solutions. He’s also a faculty member in the Development Engineering department at UC Berkeley, where he instructs a course on harnessing sensors and data science for more effective development initiatives.

Types of Visiting Fellowships Available

Visiting Professional Fellows

Entrepreneur in Residence

Visiting
Lecturers

Visiting Researcher

Gain access to a vibrant community of researchers, students, program partners, and professors working together to advance projects related to technology and social impact

Climate Innovation Technologies
AI/Data for Social Impact
Disaster Preparedness
Social Advocacy
Global Health
Decarbonization Pathways
Environmental Justice
Applicants to our Senior Visiting Fellows Program are expected to hold a professional degree, or equivalent degree from an accredited institution. Alternatively, applicants must demonstrate practical experience that would add substantial value to the Blum Center ecosystem.

Why Apply?

Visiting Senior Fellows enjoy several privileges…

Visiting Fellows will contribute to the intellectual life of the Center by being part of the activities of the Center. Activities might include providing public or course guest lectures offered by the Center, conducting research related to the Center’s programs, participating in lectures and conferences, interacting and collaborating on research with faculty and students, and advising research and education programs.

Visiting Senior Fellows are…

  • Invited to attend Blum Center presentations, lectures, conferences, etc.
  • Provided an email account and access to campus-affiliated resources
  • Welcome to reserve Center zoom-enabled conference and convening spaces.
  • Given shared office space on site
  • Ability to access to a broad range of university resources for visitors
  • Collaborate with other Blum Center affiliates on joint proposals, with the support of Blum Center staff.
  • Increase visibility and publicity of research via the Blum Center website.

How it works

Interested visitors should complete the interest form below.

Visiting Fellows are supported through their own funds whenever possible, through a home university, an employer, a private grant-making institution, an individual philanthropist, or a government program i.e. (Fulbright, Foundations, etc.)

The Blum Center will provide office space and will work with the Fellow to integrate them into the Berkeley activities of most interest. In special circumstances where a Visiting Senior Fellow is highly qualified and can add exceptional value to the work of the Center, the Fellowship will be supported by gifted funds through the fundraising efforts of the Blum Center. 
Blum Center for Developing Economies
The University of California, Berkeley
Blum Hall, #5570 Berkeley, CA 94720-5570 (Google Map Location)
(510) 643-5316 • blumcenter@berkeley.edu
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Host and Fellow Responsibilities

Host Organizations

  • Identify staff supervisor to manage I&E Climate Action Fellow
  • Submit fellowship description and tasks
  • Engage in the matching process
  • Mentor and advise students
  • Communicate with Berkeley program director and give feedback on the program.

Berkeley Program Director​

  • Communicate with host organizations, students, and other university departments to ensure smooth program operations

Student Fellows

  • Complete application and cohort activities
  • Communicate with staff and host organizations
  • Successfully complete assignments from host organization during summer practicum
  • Summarize and report summer experience activities post-fellowship