The core training that the DToD Program provides occurs in three key courses that all trainees will take:

  • DevEng 200: Design, Evaluate & Scale Development Technologies (3 units, Fall semester).
  • DevEng 210/203. PhD students will take DevEng 210:Development Engineering Research & Practice Seminar (2 units, Spring semester). Master’s students will take DevEng 203: Digital Transformation of Development (3 units; Spring semester).
  • DevEng 290: DToD Seminar (1 unit, Fall semester).

Additionally, all DToD trainees must take at least 1 DToD-satisfying elective in addition to the courses above. Trainees will additionally participate in workshops and have access to DToD faculty and staff advising.

The above courses provide core training in the themes of DToD, as well as exposure to researchers and practitioners doing cutting edge work in this field. A list of past guest speakers can be found below.

DToD is a part of the larger Development Engineering program. DToD Trainees who are PhD students are highly encouraged to pursue the Development Engineering (DevEng) Designated Emphasis (DE). The DevEng DE can be applied for at the same time via the DToD application. More info about the DevEng DE requirements for PhD students can be found on the DevEng DE page

Past Guest Lecturers 

Fall 2023:

November 21: Sam Miles, UC Berkeley’s Energy & Resources Group. Sam is a PhD student in ERG and the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab, and “his research focus is at the intersection of the scalability challenge for electricity mini-grids and the socio-economic characteristics of urbanization in Africa, particularly for the artisans and entrepreneurs who constitute the ‘productive’ users of such energy systems.” Sam is also a DToD Fellow.

November 14: Milind Tambe, Harvard University. Professor Tambe is a professor of computer science, the director of Harvard’s Center for Research in Computation and Society, and director of Google Research India’s “AI for Social Good.” His research focuses on “advancing AI and multiagent systems research for social good.”

November 7Noah Klugman, co-founder and CEO of nLine. Noah, who earned his PhD in electrical engineering from Berkeley, will discuss “GridWatch at a Decade: How to Scale a Simple Idea.” His company, nLine, is “dedicated to improving the performance of critical infrastructure around the world.

October 31: Shachar Kariv, UC Berkeley Department of Economics. Professor Kariv will discuss his recent paper, What can the demand analyst learn from machine learning? , in which he and his colleagues compared the predictive performance of a standard economic model to a variety of machine learning models by presenting nearly 1,000 subjects with a consumer decision problem – the selection of a bundle of contingent commodities from a budget set.” 

October 24: Clair Brown, Professor Emerita of Economics. Prof. Brown is also director of Berkeley’s Center for Work, Technology, and Society, with research in standards of living, how wages are set, sustainability, inequality, high-tech industries, and how economies function. Among her several books is Buddhist Economics: An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science, “an economic framework that integrates global sustainability, shared prosperity, and care for the human spirit.”

October 17: Elizabeth Hausler, founder and CEO of Build Change. Dr. Hausler, who has a PhD from Berkeley’s civil engineering department, is an expert on post-disaster reconstruction, resilient housing, and systems change. Build Change constructs safer homes from scratch and has improved the safety of over 200,000 buildings worldwide. Dr. Hausler was recently named to Forbes‘ 50 Over 50 list.

October 10: Anil Aswani, UC Berkeley Industrial Engineering & Operations Research.  Prof. Aswani’s research focuses on data-driven decision making, with a particular emphasis on addressing inefficiencies and inequities in health systems and physical infrastructure. 

October 3: Laura Stachel, co-founder and Executive Director of We Care Solar Dr. Stachel, who just won an AARP Purpose Prize and is a former Big Ideas Contest alum, founded We Care Solar, whose Solar Suitcases bring electricity and lighting to obstetric clinics that lack nighttime lighting.

September 26: Wesley H. Holliday, UC Berkeley Department of Philosophy. Professor Holliday will discuss the problem of how to choose between different possible populations of future people (or between different probability distributions over such populations) when choosing between alternative public policies. He is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Group in Logic and the Methodology of Science at UC Berkeley, and his current research focuses on logic and social choice theory.

September 19: Mathews Tisatayane, Umodzi founder. Mathews is an alumnus of the UC Berkeley Development Engineering program and has poured that DevEng mindset into Uzmodi, a self-sustaining social public benefit corporation in Malawai which deployed incubator-optimized quail farming as an anchor tenant to expanding solar-based energy access. 

September 5: Dr. Georgina Curto, Postdoctoral Fellow at the ND Technology Ethics Center. Dr. Curto will discuss research into “AI for good” and present different interdisciplinary lines of research that contribute to the AI state of the art and have the ultimate goal to mitigate inequality and poverty. Examples of ongoing projects include: an agent-based model to foresee the impact of poverty policy making in municipalities, an affirmative action recommender system for social networks that bursts the filter bubbles and redresses societal stereotypes and the use of Large Language Models to provide new human development indexes for the United Nations.

Spring 2023:

April 26: Lee Fleming, UCB Professor of IEOR, Faculty Co-Director, Tusher Initiative for the Management of Intellectual Capital. “Startups, Unicorns, and the Local Supply of Inventors.”

April 19: Stefano Bertozzi, Health Policy and Management, Co-director, Berkeley Public Health China Program and editor in chief of Rapid Reviews: COVID-19, UCB Public Health. “Using Targeted Machine Learning (TMLE) to Better Understand the Predictors of COVID-19 Severity and Mortality in the Mexican Social Security Health System

April 12: Kurtis Heimerl,  Change and ICTD groups, Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. “Reclaiming the Internet: A Journey to Community-Held Cellular Infrastructure”

April 05: Matthew Potts, Potts Research Group, UCB Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management. “Data Driven Solutions to Advance Nature-Based Climate Solutions”

March 22: Marta Gonzalez, Human Mobility and Networks (HuMNet) Lab, UCB City & Regional Planning. “A data science framework for planning the growth of bicycle infrastructures”

March 15: Richard Zhang, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UIUC. “Optimization and machine learning for the future electric grid”

March 08: Kosa Goucher-Lambert, Co-Design Lab, UCB Mechanical Engineering. “Digital (and Cognitive) Transformation of Design”

March 01: Dan Kammen, Director of Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), UCB Energy and Resources Group. “Energy Access & Energy Justice”

February 22: Narendra Ahuja, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Beckman Institute, and Coordinated Science Laboratory at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). “An Experiment in Building an R&D Ecosystem for End-to-End Developmental Problem Solving”

February 15: Xin Guo, Risk Analytics & Data Analysis Research (RADAResearch) Lab, UCB IEOR. “Early detection of eye diseases using machine learning techniques”

February 08: Kentaro Toyamo, University of Michigan School of Information. “What’s Worth Doing in AI for International Development?”

February 01: Commander Niels Olson, MD (US Navy), board-certified pathologist, with subspecialty certification in clinical informatics, and the Chief Medical Officer of the Defense Innovation Unit in Mountain View, CA.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DGE-2125913. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.