Research Mission

research icon roundUC Berkeley is consistently rated among the top institutions in the world for the quality and breadth of its research programs, the distinction of its faculty, and the excellence of its Ph.D. programs. Berkeley is especially proactive in addressing critical global challenges pertaining to health, energy, and the environment.

Campus Performance Overview

UC Berkeley’s research in energy and sustainability research is changing the world. Combined with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the campus is solving urgent energy and climate puzzles such as how to design better energy distribution systems and develop the most viable biofuels.

About 25% percent of UC Berkeley’s faculty and staff, representing 64% of all academic departments, are engaged in research investigating sustainability topics. The work of diverse research groups, departments and topic-based centers support sustainability research across campus, state, and country, informing policy decisions. See the full inventory of sustainability research for fiscal year 2020 here

QS World Rankings

UC Berkeley faculty and researchers are leading the way in energy, climate, and environment research

For the first time In 2023, UC Berkeley earned the distinction of ranking number 1 for sustainability in the QS World Rankings. Berkeley’s top position was an overall ranking for both categories that QS evaluates–environmental impact and social impact.

Sustainability Related Research Papers Published by UC Berkeley, 2016-2021 

(from 2023 QS Sustainability Ranking)

QS World Rankings's bubble graph of Sustainability research output at UC Berkeley 2016-2021

STARS Performance Overview

Research Category

According to STARS, "Conducting research is a major function of many colleges and universities. By researching sustainability issues and refining theories and concepts, higher education institutions can continue to help the world understand sustainability challenges and develop new technologies, strategies, and approaches to address those challenges."

Berkeley's STARS Performance

Total Points Available: 18.00

Research Points Claimed: 17.12

  • UC Berkeley achieved 95% of available points in the STARS Buildings category. The average among all research universities is, compared to 80%.

  • Berkeley received perfect or near-perfect scores in all areas assessed by STARS: Research and Scholarship, Support for Research, and Open Access to Research.

  • Almost 25% of employees who conduct research are engaged in sustainability research, according to our inventory of sustainability research at UC Berkeley for fiscal year 2020.

  • 64% of all academic departments that conduct research are engaged in sustainability research.


Search for faculty and researchers with expertise in particular areas.

Tractor plowing biomass for agro-sequestration

 Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have proposed an inexpensive agro-sequestration solution for capturing carbon in the atmosphere and storing it safely for thousands of years. Their approach suggests growing biomass crops to capture carbon from the air, then burying the harvested vegetation in engineered biolandfills. Salt keep the biomass dry to suppress microbial activity and stave off decomposition.