Visiting Researchers and Scholars

Our Program

Our Blockchain Visiting Researcher Program is established as a way to invite academic researchers and industry practitioners from around the world into our rich base of resources. 

We pride ourselves on the network of scholars we attract and our ability to facilitate connections between partners for value sharing and co-creation. 

The 2020 cohort size is limited to 10 Visiting Scholars.


Visiting Scholars embed within Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator and Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (S/CET). They access all resources from the School of Engineering and Haas Business School. 

S/CET also offers the Alternative Protein Lab, Sports Technology Lab, Data Science Lab, 13+ courses in entrepreneurship around emerging technologies and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship.

The deadline to apply for the Fall 2021 Semester is April 30, 2021 for both international and US-based candidates who do not require a visa. 

Program Summary


UC Berkeley Campus

Application Deadline

International Candidates: 

 April 30, 2021 for Fall 2021

Domestic Candidates not requiring visa processing:

 April 30, 2021 for Fall 2021

Program Duration

Option 1 Fall Semester: 

August 1 - December 15, 2021

Option 2 Extended:

August 1, 2021-June 30, 2022

Option 3 Spring Semester: January 1 - May 15, 2022

Program Fee

Option 1 or 3 -  One Semester: 



Option 2 Extended:

August 1, 2021-June 30, 2022




Meaningful Work

Advance Your Work

Advance your work related to blockchain. This experience is akin to a fellowship, sabbatical, executive training, innovation training, etc.

Present Your Research

Research outputs often include reports, conference publications, industry presentations and tangible products.

Share Your Knowledge

Potentially guest lecture or co-teach in our programs, collaborating with other educators. 

Take Intiative

Collaborate with the Blockchain at Berkeley student group to conduct research, consulting and curriculum development. 

Build Berkeley Connections

Connect with Berkeley Haas Blockchain Initiative, which sponsors a variety of events and activities on campus.

Gather Resources

Become eligible to take advantage of funding and support resources at other UC Berkeley departments.

Ecosystem Immersion

Take Your Time

Spend up to 9 months at SCET and our Xcelerator with programs running from August 1, 2021 to May 15, 2022.

Audit Our Courses

Audit one course per semester with prior approval while on campus. Drop in on any S/CET classes that relate to blockchain. 

Join Our Programs

Attend cohort programs and private events of Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator (e.g. lectures from industry leaders, company founders, technology experts and investors). 

Expand Your Network

Access a variety of events on campus and around the ecosystem such as SF Blockchain Week, Crypto Economics Securities Conference and Simon Institute Proofs, Consensus and Decentralized Society Workshops. 


In our first 1.5 year, Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator received over 350 team applications from entrepreneurs around the world. We have just completed Cohort #3 in October 2020, albeit virtually due to COVID.


Our Visiting Scholar program launched in late 2019, and received numerous applications from around the world.  Due to COVID we are delaying in person activities with visitors to Fall 2021.  We feel scholars and researchers would be best served by UC Berkeley through "in person" attendance on our campus. 

Please complete the application form below. Send us a current CV, Statement of Research and biographical information. Program fees are ~$12,200 for any period up to nine months, which includes visa application fees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Researcher Program

What will be my status or affiliation at UC Berkeley?

Visiting Researchers and Scholars will receive an appointment from UC Berkeley. The most common appointments are:

  • Visiting scholars are individuals who possess a Ph.D. or its equivalent, and whose primary purpose for residence on the Berkeley campus is to conduct independent research.
  • Visiting student researchers are applicants who are currently enrolled in a degree program and are working to obtain a degree (note a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required)
  • Short-term scholars are applicants who are restricted to a maximum of six months with no extensions allowed. Short-term scholars are not subject to the “24-month rule”.
  • Non-U.S. citizens will require a J1 Visa which will be processed by our Human Resources and International Office Team. All questions related to immigration policy or visa regulations should be directed to the Berkeley International Office.

What if I am not enrolled in a graduate program or do not hold a PhD degree?

With proper industry experience or technical expertise as demonstrated by your CV, the University may waive the PhD requirement as a Scholar. If you are not enrolled in a program in pursuit of a graduate degree, you may still apply and HR will determine your appropriate J1 visa status after review of your records.

May I extend my visa or research appointment?

Research programs typically do not allow for any extensions beyond the program dates. There are additional fees to incur if an extension is requested by your supervisor. Please note that it is important that you arrive before your program start date. The J1 Visa, if required, has a 30 day grace before and after your program dates, which will allow you to find housing, settle in, etc.

What are the proof of funding requirements?

For researchers or scholars who require a J1 Visa, the University will require proof of funding for the tuition and fees portion of the program as well as sufficient funding to cover costs of living, including accommodation. UC Berkeley currently requires $1,800 USD per month as proof of funding. However, please note that your cost of living will be largely driven by your housing needs. Funding may be from personal funds or other sponsors.

What are the estimated costs of the program?

Research Program Fees:
$11,000 (Includes visa processing for one person - Extended stay) OR
$ 8,000 (Includes visa processing for one person - Spring/Summer or Fall stay)
Effective March 9, 2020 all acceptances are contingent on receipt of a non-refundable deposit of $1,500. University Service Fees:
$750 Visiting Scholars (PhD required)
$1,000 Visiting ResearchersSEVIS/Other visa fees:
$220 + Only for those requiring J1 visas; Amount dependent on country of origin U.S. Health Insurance See next FAQ U.S. citizens do not incur SEVIS fees, but are required to pay the University Services Fee and are required to provide proof of insurance.SCET will invoice Deposit and Research Program Fees to the appointee. All other fees are to be paid directly by the appointee. SEVIS fees are paid directly to the Department of Homeland Security. Each country may set separate visa origination fees that are subject to change.

How long does it take for me to receive a J1 visa, if required (Note this does not apply to those with US

Most visa applications can be completed with the shipment of your DS2019, within 10 weeks. Once you receive your DS2019, you must make an interview appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Depending on timing, including local holidays, interview appointments may take an additional 4 weeks or more.

  1. Once accepted, the SCET Berkeley team will submit your CV, Statement of Research and Passport bio page to Human Resources.
  2. A Human Resources case worker will reach out to you directly within 5 business days.
  3. Prompt and accurate submission of documents to HR is critical. Your case workers manage dozens of cases so incomplete submissions delay the process. HR also manages your appointment via the Visiting Scholar Program Administration. In best cases, this portion of the process takes 2-3 weeks.
    • Please have proof of funding documents ready (current/liquid bank accounts including cash or equities is allowed)
    • Please have proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or IELTS 7) or proof of interview with your SCET supervisor
    • If you are still enrolled in an academic program you will need proof of enrollment from your home university
    • Your submissions are cross-checked carefully. Discrepancies in dates, addresses, etc cause delays
  4. Once HR has completed your file with all of the required information, your case is sent to the Berkeley International Office. The final visa application and completion of your DS2019 takes 10 (ten) business days. Your DS2019 will be sent to you via FedEx overnight. Please be sure your documented address is correct. Forms are NOT provided electronically.
  5. Once you have your DS2019, you can make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. There can be significant delays in obtaining appointments, especially during U.S. or local holidays.
** Do NOT finalize your travel plans or purchase flights until you have your J1 Visa! Once the HR process is complete, the rest of the administrative process is out of UC Berkeley’s control.

Does the University provide healthcare?

The University requires that anyone holding an appointment (regardless of citizenship) must have health insurance. Appointees have two options:

  1. Purchase an approved University healthcare plan
  2. Provide proof of an existing healthcare plan that meets University requirements and apply for a waiver.
Details on insurance plan requirements, cost and waiver forms may be found here.

Will I receive any UC Berkeley academic credit for my research?

Visiting Researchers and Scholars do not receive academic credit and do not receive a transcript from UC Berkeley. Visiting Researchers/Scholars are allowed, with instructor and program permission to audit one course per semester. Audited courses do not provide any evaluations or academic credit.

Can I work while at UC Berkeley?

No. U.S. citizens and J-1 Visa holders are not allowed to work, paid or unpaid. The program is a full time program for academic research purposes which is construed to be at least 32 hours or research and program-based activity during your stay.

Am I allowed to travel on my J1 visa?

You may travel within the United States during program holidays or with approval from your supervisor if travel is required for your research. Travel outside the United States is permitted only for research purposes and must be approved by your supervisor. The J1 visa is for full-time research at UC Berkeley. Frequent travel outside the U.S. or any travel of more than 2 weeks requires written permission. Customs and Border Patrol have the final say on entry to the United States. Proper permission and notification are required to limit your risk of denial of entry. Additionally, please note that travel on the J1 is discouraged, as it may, in some cases, raise red flags. A short trip (less than two weeks) can be manageable if is related to their research or for an emergency. Finally, note that travel within 30 days of the end of the program also requires additional documentation.

Will I be provided an office or workspace?

SCET has an open workspace that at times is busy during the academic term. Conference rooms and breakout rooms are generally reserved for faculty and staff meetings. If you require dedicated workspace there are many hot-desk/rental options in the Berkeley area, and our Center is establishing an agreement for additional space with CITRIS in Sutardja Dai Hall on the Berkeley Campus. Also, note that generally, our researchers enjoy the open collaboration workspace as it facilitates meeting other researchers, our Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator teams, and engaging with the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology ecosystem of Berkeley students, industry faculty and staff.

Is housing provided or available?

Due to the very high demand for housing, UC Berkeley and the SCET staff cannot assist with housing requests. Most Visiting Researchers will find an apartment or house off campus to share with other Visiting Researchers and Scholars . You will find a list of many housing resources here on the University's resource page.