Berkeley LSEC - Nucleate Venture Fellowship

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Berkeley LSEC – Nucleate Venture Fellowship

The Berkeley Life Sciences Entrepreneurship Center – Nucleate Fellowship provides current Berkeley graduate students and postdoctoral researchers with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in innovation landscaping and an introduction to due diligence of new technologies. The fellowship lasts 7 months from March 4, 2024 until October 4, 2024. During the first two months, the Fellows will generate a landscaping report of technologies from specific Berkeley departments in order to identify key patterns in early- stage company formation. In the second half of the fellowship, fellows will drive the future of Berkeley innovation by identifying promising new technologies and helping translate the work into new ventures. Through the fellowship, the Fellows will contribute to the Berkeley LSEC and Nucleate mission of promoting the translation of research discoveries into products that reach the public as well as educating future entrepreneurial leaders.


  • Learn to communicate effectively across a diverse range of technologies and biological areas

  • Build the skills to identify value at early stages of technology development

  • Gain hands-on experience required to landscape and perform due diligence of new technologies

  • Demonstrate a track record that enables Fellows to be competitive for internships in biotech venture capital and other related career opportunities


The Berkeley LSEC – Nucleate Fellowship will select three Fellows, one for each “Target Area” identified by the Fellow. Examples of “Target Areas” include departments, faculty members, certain indications, and technologies that might be of specific interest to the Fellow, LSEC, or Nucleate. Work assigned to the Fellows will be conducted independently under the mentorship of LSEC and Nucleate, with a focus on defined deliverables. Fellows will receive feedback and advising throughout the term of the Fellowship. This hands-on training will comprise the major component of the Fellowship, and will be augmented by a core curriculum developed in collaboration with Berkeley LSEC and Nucleate.


The Spring/Summer 2024 session of the Fellowship will run for a period of 7 months, from March 4 to October 4, 2024. After completing the fellowship, the Fellows will have the opportunity to gain hands-on operational experience with Nucleate Bio Bay Area.


Fellows will dedicate up to 10 hours of work per week towards completion of the deliverables outlined below. Fellows will receive a $5000 stipend for the term of the Fellowship.

Program Components and Timeline

The Fellowship will comprise three distinct key components as outlined below. Each component is intended to be tightly integrated with existing Berkeley LSEC and Nucleate infrastructure. 

Curriculum & Training: Fellows will receive training which will be directly and immediately applicable to the effective completion of their assigned deliverables.

Feedback & Advising: Fellows will receive regular feedback throughout the course of the Fellowship to ensure they stay on track with expectations. They will also receive mentorship as they gain experience in landscaping and explore venture capital as a career.

Deliverables: Fellows will be responsible for preparing a series of deliverables which are expected to be of value to the Berkeley LSEC and Nucleate. Specific deliverables will include the following:

This phase of the fellowship consists of two parts:

  1. A retroactive, systematic analysis that maps past company formation efforts in the Target Area within Berkeley, focused on identification of key patterns that enabled the more successful efforts.

  2. Present-day analysis that identifies where innovation in the Target Area is happening now, both inside and outside the Berkeley ecosystem.

These two analyses would serve as the basis for a landscaping report to be submitted to the relevant directors at LSEC and Nucleate. 

Further details:

  • Fellows will survey the competitive space relevant to their Target Area and assess academic and industry activity in the space by reviewing relevant literature (e.g. published research, industry/market research reports). 

  • One of the foci for the Fellows’ retrospective landscaping analyses will be the development of a detailed timeline of the key development milestones achieved by successful in-house companies (i.e., started at Berkeley) in the Target Area. This timeline could serve as a useful benchmark for the Fellows and the LSEC when evaluating the commercial potential of earlier-stage ventures in the Target Area, namely in the context of the Fellows’ present-day landscaping analyses.

  • For the retrospective analysis in particular, the Fellows will be encouraged to reach out and engage with relevant PIs (i.e., those that were involved with successful ventures in the Target Area) with an established track record of interacting with Berkekley’s IPIRA (technology licensing office), with two goals: 

    • Add nuance and context to the overall analysis, especially in regards to the development timeline of the venture(s) the PI was involved with, as well as to help with identification of “under-the-radar” faculty whose ongoing work may particularly benefit from a deeper interaction with the IPIRA. These conversations could also serve as the basis for a “case study” specific to a particular venture.

  • This phase of the Fellowship is anticipated to last two months. It is also possible that fellows could potentially supplement their experience by landscaping additional Target Areas, within the competitive space of the highest priority for the LSEC being selected for the next phase of the Fellowship.

  • Fellows will prepare a landscaping report summarizing their findings and suggesting relevant Berkeley labs active in the Target Area. Landscaping reports will be shared with the relevant campus resources, and a shortlist of PIs for outreach will be decided upon.


Eligibility criteria:

  • UC Berkeley or Berkeley-affiliated PhD students or postdoctoral fellows

  • PhD students must have completed qualifying exams

  • Applicants must be willing to commit up to 10 hours per week for the duration of 7 months

Application timeline:

  • Applications are now closed.

  • Interview invitations for selected candidates will be held February 14-16

  • Fellowship will commence from March 4, 2024 and runs until October 4, 2024

Application material:

  • Applicants shall submit a resume and a cover letter highlighting their interest in the fellowship and background before the application deadline

  • Selected candidates will be invited for an interview with the leadership team.

  • Accepted Innovation Fellows must have consent from their Principal Investigator to participate in the program.

A Few of the Experts our Fellows have met through the Program:

Venture Capitalists and Investors

UC Berkeley Innovation Leaders

  • Susan Abrahamson, Director of Intellectual Property, Innovative Genomics Institute
  • Mike Cohen, Director of Innovation Ecosystem Development, IPIRA
  • Rich Lyons, Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer
  • Laleh Shayesteh, Director of Administration and Associate Director of the Office of Technology Licensing, IPIRA
The fellowship was a great exercise to look at science through a totally different lens and learn through case studies specific to my specific field what the motions are to translate an idea from an academic paper to a flourishing company. I appreciated how each fellow had the scope to tailor their project to their interests to create something unique. It gave me the impetus to spend time learning about the exciting work that's happening on campus outside of my research group and build my network.
Fall 2022 Cohort Fellow
The Berkeley LSEC-Nucleate Venture Fellowship was a rewarding and personally impactful experience to me for many reasons. Coming to Berkeley, I was extremely interested in biotech entrepreneurship, and I have focused my graduate studies and research towards innovation and company formation. The fellowship exposed, educated, and enabled me to understand entrepreneurship from the perspective of a VC and how to evaluate a broad technology landscape, not just a niche field.
Fall 2022 Cohort Fellow