OLLI @ Berkeley is aligned with the public research emphasis of UC Berkeley. To that end, OLLI partners with researchers to advance its research focus and to offer OLLI members opportunities to participate in research studies. 

OLLI @Berkeley’s research focus is:

  • The science of learning, specifically lifelong learning for the 50+ adult
  • The science of healthy living and dynamic aging

When research partnerships offer opportunities for interested OLLI members to become volunteer research participants, OLLI’s Advisory Research Team will provide this information along with an overview of the study purpose, eligibility criteria, and study contact information. Selected studies are subject to Institutional Review Board (IRB) oversight through UC Berkeley or other universities.

Past Opportunities

Fung Fellows Gait Project

The Fung Fellowship pairs undergraduate students with community partners and industry professionals to design technology solutions to health and wellness challenges. OLLI proposed a project for a wearable technology to help people monitor and train their gait. Undergraduate students then worked with OLLI members to learn what their priorities were, developed prototypes, and refined the prototypes based on feedback from OLLI members.


SafelyYou is an early-stage spinoff company from a research group in the UC Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory. The company’s initial offering is a monitoring system for fall detection and reduction in dementia care. OLLI members with experience caring for friends or relatives with dementia participated in user engagement interviews for the research group relating to initial design considerations.

Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation “Navigating the Human Path”

How can design facilitate affordable, healthy and meaningful aging in our society? OLLI recruited volunteers for this class, made up of both undergraduates and older adults, as they examined this question through the lens of mobility and interconnectedness in a user-centered, co-design context.

Hillblom Aging Network Study

OLLI helped recruit participants for a UCSF longitudinal study looking at the effects of aging on cognition in order to gain a better understanding of healthy aging and identify the earliest changes associated with degenerative brain disease.

BeFriend Study

The UC Berkeley Friendship, Emotion and Wellness study (BeFriend) recruited women volunteers between the ages of 25 and 80 years old to participate in the study along with a friend in order to investigate the social, emotional, cognitive and biological factors associated with friends helping each other during challenging life events.

THNX4 Gratitude Study

OLLI partnered with the Greater Good Science Center to recruit participants for a study on gratitude. This project used an interactive gratitude journal called Thnx4 to gather research data in order to study the causes, effects, and meaning of gratitude, as well as explore possible differences in the expression of gratitude across the lifespan.

SilverLearning Study

OLLI recruited volunteers for this examination of lifelong learning behaviors of older adults in the U.S. and Germany in cooperation with the University of Tuebingen, Germany.


Gait Project Video