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Haas School launches Center for Energy and Environmental Innovation

| 08 November 2007

A new cross-disciplinary center just established at Berkeley aims to promote viable global energy solutions. The new Center for Energy and Environmental Innovation is focused on developing the next generation of energy leaders, increasing collaboration among energy disciplines around campus, and accelerating the commercialization of clean-energy technologies.

"The idea is to make Berkeley the premier institution for graduate students and faculty members interested in studying energy-commercialization issues," says Catherine Wolfram, associate professor at the Haas School of Business. She and Haas School adjunct professor Andrew Isaacs will serve as co-executive directors of the center.

Created through the Management of Technology program, the new center serves as a bridge between the Haas School and a number of other campus entities, including the Colleges of Chemistry, Engineering, Environmental Design, and Natural Resources; the School of Law; the Goldman School of Public Policy; the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology; the Energy and Resources Group; and the proposed Energy Biosciences Institute, as well as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The center evolved out of the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative, a two-year-old campus club formed by Berkeley MBA students to help students across campus gain experience in the energy sector through career services, real-world project opportunities, and support for student innovation. The collaborative's membership quickly grew to more than 400, spurring its student founders to seek funding and faculty guidance to establish a sustainable-energy academic program.

"The students wanted to make an impact right away by accelerating the solutions from the lab and research spaces into the public and private sectors, where the results could be realized," says Jit Bhattacharya, an MBA candidate who participated in the launch of the center. "Energy is very much an interdisciplinary field, and the center will foster collaboration among the various organizations at Berkeley that are studying energy solutions."