About Us

About Us

The Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation is UC Berkeley’s interdisciplinary hub for learning and making at the intersection of design and technology. We see design and technological innovation as integrally linked: innovation opens possibilities and extends the reach of design, while design links new technologies with human experiences and ensures that innovation truly benefits people and communities. Bringing together technical depth, design methodology, and a focus on societal impact, we aim to educate students who understand both the under-the-hood details that make something work and the big-picture context that makes something matter.

At the Jacobs Institute, technological breakthroughs commingle with Berkeley’s deep academic strengths and consistent focus on social good, uniquely equipping students to tackle the pressing challenges of today and tomorrow. From our home in Berkeley’s College of Engineering, we extend broadly across campus, serving as a welcoming hub: here, engineers, artists, and makers of all kinds can gather and collaborate. In a space designed to mix students of different disciplines, expertise levels, and modes of engagement, we provide a range of opportunities for hands-on, team-based learning, from courses to independent tinkering and co-curricular offerings.

As the Jacobs Institute grows, we are committed to ensuring all students at UC Berkeley have access to the resources at Jacobs Hall, from courses and Maker Passes, to co-curricular programs and mentorship. We strive to make Jacobs Hall and our affiliated programs inclusive spaces, where resources and ideas are shared equitably. We acknowledge and embrace the continued work that is needed to meet this goal.

Some fast facts about our student community, from Fall 2019:

Makerspace Design Courses (DES INV)
1211 total Maker Pass holders 226 students in DES INV courses
40% are women 61% are women
2% are African American 1% are African American
11% are Chicanx/Latinx 7% are Chicanx/Latinx
15% are international 17% are international
Disciplinary diversity:
73% from Engineering
12% from Letters and Sciences
10% from Environmental Design
5% other
Disciplinary diversity:
60% from Engineering
27% from Letters and Sciences
7% from Environmental Design
6% other

For comparison, please consult the data from UC Berkeley and the College of Engineering.

Our Space

Jacobs Hall, opened in August 2015, is the Jacobs Institute’s home and a place for diverse design activity. The 24,000-square-foot building’s light-filled design studios and equipment labs offer flexible space and access to tools for prototyping, iteration, and fabrication. From sketching to cutting-edge digital fabrication, the building facilitates a diverse range of making practices under one roof.

Our Programs

The Jacobs Institute’s programs provide numerous ways to dive into design innovation, in the classroom and beyond. We offer and support hands-on, design-infused courses. We produce community and co-curricular offerings, from speaker series to workshops, that promote conversation and exploration across broad areas of design. We also help support and amplify the campus design ecosystem, connecting Berkeley’s community of student designers with resources and opportunities.


Björn Hartmann

Faculty Director

Eric Paulos

Chief Learning Officer

Meg St. John

Managing Director