UC Berkeley and Harvard Jointly Launch Study of Psychedelics’ Influence on Art, History and Human Existence

November 29, 2023

On November 15, the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University announced a new, collaborative initiative that will expand psychedelic research across the arts, humanities and social sciences. Called “Psychedelics in Society and Culture,” the joint effort between the nation’s foremost public and private universities will foster new ways of thinking and partnering to answer some of the most pressing and intriguing questions surrounding psychedelics and society.

While much research to date has centered on the important potential of therapeutic applications of psychedelics, this groundbreaking collaboration is one of the first comprehensive programs dedicated to exploring the cultural, humanistic and societal significance of psychedelics.

Through generous philanthropy, the initiative aims to advance interdisciplinary research in these under-explored domains, providing students and faculty researchers grants of up to $100,000 for creative and innovative projects both within and between the two universities. This collaborative venture, funded by different donors at each institution, is a testament to the current momentum propelling the expansion of psychedelic research within the nascent field.

Renowned author Michael Pollan, who co-founded the BCSP and is well-known for his book How to Change Your Mind, plays an important role at both universities and has long advocated for expanding psychedelic research into the humanities. 

UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics