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What is D-Lab?

D-Lab is a new initiative at UC Berkeley to provide services, support, and a venue for cutting-edge research design and experimentation in data-intensive social science. We are building a 21st-century research infrastructure for the campus that will dramatically expand Berkeley’s capabilities, complementing and linking the localized arrangements that have been developed so far. Simultaneously we are opening a new portal for Berkeley social science to the world outside.
Ultimately, D-Lab will serve a full spectrum of users–particularly those who are moving their fields into new lines of research–and will cover the data lifecycle:

  • Project design
  • Acquisition, access, and enhancement
  • Linking and extending
  • Analysis
  • Visualization
  • Curation and stewardship

At the core of D-Lab are its scientific and technical staff. They provide training and consulting, support our data resources and restricted data services, and advise on technical questions and research design. As D-Lab ramps up its offerings starting in Spring 2013, it will add services providing access to specialized software and hardware on campus or off.

Who does D-Lab serve?

D-Lab targets its services at UC Berkeley social science researchers (graduate students, staff, and faculty) and anyone interested in connecting with them. Our online resources are available to the public. We are open to new ways to extend our impact to current and new audiences.
D-Lab works with a catholic and capacious understanding of data. We care more about providing infrastructure and services than about underlying methodological boundaries. D-Lab’s definition of social science extends to researchers who self-identify with the field in disciplinary departments and the professional schools, including students in non-social science graduate programs who want to build a bridge to the social sciences.

Who supports D-Lab?

Funding, counsel, and oversight of D-Lab is a multi-disciplinary and multi-organizational effort. D-Lab reports to the Vice Chancellor for Research and is overseen by a governing board with cross-campus decanal representation. Initial investments in D-Lab come from the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Provost, the Dean of Social Science and the Deans of social science faculties across Berkeley, Information Services & Technology, and our generous donors.

Why do we need D-Lab?

D-Lab provides campus-wide infrastructure that lets Berkeley researchers design, execute, and share their best work. Heading into the era of data-intensive research, the intellectual power of Berkeley social science is amplified by D-Lab’s capacity to take on organizational challenges of providing services and support.

Can D-Lab help my outside organization partner with Berkeley’s researchers?

Yes! D-Lab is interested in deepening relationships between Berkeley’s data-intensive social scientists and collaborators in industry, the social sector, and government. If you are looking for project partners or recruiting data scientists, contact us for a consultation.

Can D-Lab support my restricted use data needs?

Yes! In addition to the California Census Research Data Center, D-Lab is opening a “cold room” (locked, isolated space) for campus researchers’ restricted use data. Contact us if you have a need. We can provide advice on gaining access to restricted use data and help with drafting agreements for using it.

Can D-Lab support my department’s graduate program?

Yes! D-Lab can partner with your department to provide assistance with methods courses, consultations for your students, and out-of-class workshops and training. Contact us to explore what would be useful for your program.

Can D-Lab help me with my grant-funded research?

Yes! D-Lab’s baseline services are available on a common-good basis. For needs above the baseline, D-Lab staff will soon be able to provide consulting on a recharge basis. D-Lab can also help you access other local resources (e.g., programming, analysis support) on a paid basis. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Can D-Lab help me with my master’s thesis / doctoral dissertation?

Yes! D-Lab provides consultation and workshops on many steps of the social science research process. The place to start is with our intake form or our consultants and service listings.

How do I get involved?

For data and research related questions, please complete our intake form or come by Barrows Hall during our hours of operation. For general inquiries, including media requests, prospective funders, potential off-campus partners, and service providers, please contact dlab@berkeley.edu or one of our staff.