In 2003, shortly after the UC Berkeley Strategic Academic Plan was adopted, four New Initiative Centers (NICs) were created, with the goal of developing research and instructional programs in promising areas that lie between or among traditional disciplines, thereby offering a range of instructional and research opportunities broader than a single department could achieve.
During their incubation period, the NICs reported for administrative purposes to the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic and Space Planning. In Summer 2016, at the conclusion of a collaborative planning process involving the Division of Academic and Space Planning, several deans, the centers' directors and their faculty, two of the NICs moved to new academic homes:
- The Berkeley Nanoscience and Nanoscience Institute (BNNI), co-directed by Professors Alex Zettl (Physics) and Carolyn Bertozzi (Chemistry), is now part of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, and
- Global Metropolitan Studies (GMS), co-directed by Professors Teresa Caldeira (City & Regional Planning) and Alison Post (Political Science), is now part of the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Science.
Two of the NICs continue to be housed administratively in the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic and Space Planning :
- Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM), directed by Professor Nicholas de Monchaux (Architecture and Urban Design). With more than a hundred affiliated faculty members from over thirty departments, the BCNM brings together humanists, technologists, social scientists, artists and designers. The center offers two graduate curricula (designated emphasis in new media for Ph.D. students, and a certificate in new media for Master’s students) as well as an undergraduate certificate, several fellowships, and a visiting scholar program.
- Center for Computational Biology (CCB), directed by Professor Lisa Barcellos (Epidemiology). The CCB is administratively housed in the Berkeley component of the QB3. Approximately thirty research groups from a dozen departments and five colleges, plus LBNL, are directly involved in the center’s programs. Two interdisciplinary research graduate programs are offered: a computational biology Ph.D. program, and a designated emphasis in computational and genomics biology. In addition, the CCB works with several research centers and institutes, as well as Innovation Fellows, collaborators from other institutions and leaders from the industry, government and nonprofit sectors.