Introduction to Discovery Exchange

Through the Discovery Program, the UC Berkeley Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) has built a research incubator that leverages that wide use of data science to enhance student learning opportunities with real-world applications. 

To increase opportunities for student-led research, CDSS has launched the Discovery Exchange, an online hub for Berkeley students doing independent data science projects in summer 2020 and beyond. The Discovery Exchange will provide a platform for Berkeley students to connect with their peers to:

  • Real-World Projects - Develop innovative data science projects with other students and members of the UC Berkeley community.

  • Technical Training - Participate in exclusive remote workshops to build technical and project management skills.

  • Mentorship and Consulting - Exposure and access to mentorship and consulting services from across the Berkeley campus. 

What is research?

Projects can take many forms, informal research lab, working group, or learning support group. Throughout the summer you will learn about ways you can develop your projects and formalize them in the fall through the Discovery Research program.

Who can participate?

Berkeley students from any background and level of exposure to data science can participate. Students with no data science background and curiosity for turning data into information are encouraged to participate. Students can find datasets on the web, through graduate student researchers, the library, or create their own. Remember that the summer yields about two months of research time, therefore it’s important to set realistic goals for what you want to accomplish.

Already working on a data-driven passion project? Post a description with us and get access to exclusive workshops and consulting hours, or recruit other students with diverse skill sets to join your team.

Undergraduate Students

We welcome undergraduate students who want to explore a tool or programming language over the summer with the support and accountability of a working group. Undergraduates can form and lead groups of only undergraduates or a mix of statuses. Students need only to have a project description and a timeline for accomplishing goals to post an opportunity. Upperclassmen can also host a workshop or lead a discussion about their experiences as a data scientist.

Graduate Students

Graduate students from any domain or degree are welcome to offer research opportunities and/or  mentorship to students at any capacity to undergraduate Data Science students. Projects can be related to your thesis/dissertation or they can engage with other topics of interest, including co-creating a project. Graduate students can engage with Data Science undergraduates in an exchange by learning a new tool together, taking on a summer passion project (link is external)(link is external), coaching undergraduates to apply a tool they are already familiar with in a new domain.

We also welcome you to offer your time to mentor students at a lower capacity if you do not have a specific project in mind. Graduate students can choose to be mentors over the summer, committing to at least one informal presentation to undergraduates interested in learning more about their work and academic experiences. Graduates can also practice teaching a lesson on data science applications in their field. 

Why participate?

Student-led data research labs have started to emerge in Berkeley as a way to maximize our capacity to ask questions and do the work to answer them through data analysis. While Data Science can be technically challenging and intimidating, students can reduce their anxiety by working together to learn and create. Tap into the Berkeley Data Science network with a low barrier to entry, collaborative research summer program led by students.  

The Fine Print

Discovery Exchange offers a support network, workshops, consulting, but no financial compensation or course credit at this time. We will be collecting feedback from participants on how to improve future iterations of the program. The main goals of running a pilot this year are: to help students get connected to the Berkeley Data Science ecosystem, stay motivated to learn during this hard time, and build a summer learning community.

Get creative, compensation can come in many forms: meeting learning goals, publishing a blog, paper, or a GitHub page with proper attributions of work contributed. While the Discovery Exchange Program does not offer course credit at this time, what you produce can be used in a portfolio of your work  (link is external)(link is external) that will help find a job or apply to graduate school. Summer research projects can also help students prepare to submit a proposal to the Discovery Research program during the Fall. The Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society also hosts multiple showcases throughout the year where your team can be invited to participate in a poster session or presentation.