David Dornfeld, green manufacturing expert, to lead Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation

David A. Dornfeld, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley and recognized worldwide as an expert in smart and sustainable manufacturing, has been named faculty director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation in Berkeley’s College of Engineering. The Jacobs Institute, offering education in hands-on, human-centered design and prototyping, opens in its newly built home, Jacobs Hall, on August 20, 2015.

David DornfeldDavid Dornfeld (Photo by Noah Berger)Dornfeld’s appointment follows an extensive international search. As faculty director, he will lead the launch of new courses, team projects and other learning opportunities for students with an interest in design and technology. Expanding access to such experiences for undergraduates is a key priority for the College of Engineering.

“Dave Dornfeld is that rare individual who can work at the intersection of technology design, manufacturability and real-world impact to spark creative problem-solving and innovation,” said S. Shankar Sastry, dean of engineering at Berkeley. “We are fortunate to benefit from his extensive leadership experience as we deliver more experiential and entrepreneurial education to our students.”

“I am excited that Dave Dornfeld will lead the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation,” said Paul E. Jacobs, Berkeley Engineering alumnus and executive chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated. “He understands that Berkeley students are passionate about designing, making and launching technology solutions that can make a direct impact on human needs. We see tremendous potential in Berkeley’s design innovation community, and we’re confident Dave will unleash that potential.”

The Jacobs Institute’s programs enable students to gain proficiency with the full range of technology innovation, from need finding and team collaboration to rapid prototyping, digital fabrication and manufacturing, design automation and business development. During the institute’s formation stage, Dornfeld and Sastry served together as interim faculty co-directors.

Dornfeld holds the Will C. Hall Family Professorship and leads Berkeley’s Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability and the Sustainable Manufacturing Partnership, studying green manufacturing, manufacturing processes, precision manufacturing, process monitoring and optimization. He has published over 400 papers, authored three research monographs, contributed chapters to several books and holds seven patents.

Dornfeld consults widely on design, manufacturing and associated intellectual-property issues. He maintains a blog with commentary, information and resources related to green manufacturing and sustainability in the United States and abroad, at green-manufacturing.blogspot.com.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), receiving ASME’s Ennor Award in 2010. He is also active as a fellow with the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP) and in August 2015 he will begin serving as the organization’s vice president. Other honors include the Fredrick W. Taylor Research Medal, the Takagi Prize and the Charles F. Carter Advancing Manufacturing Award. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976 and joined the College of Engineering faculty in 1977.

Dornfeld has chaired Berkeley’s mechanical engineering department, consistently ranked among the top three nationwide, since 2010. He expanded the department’s industrial advisory board and led Berkeley’s participation in the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government to invest in the emerging technologies that will create high-quality manufacturing jobs and enhance U.S. global competitiveness. He will continue serving as department chair until his successor is appointed.

The Jacobs Institute was launched with a cornerstone gift from the Paul and Stacy Jacobs Foundation, followed by commitments from additional benefactors. In the institute’s first year of operation, its management team, under Dornfeld’s direction, will expand design offerings for undergraduate students and cultivate partnerships with design mentors and other industry practitioners. Further aspirations include the development of an extensive youth outreach program.


Topics: Berkeley Engineering in the News, College news, Design, Faculty, Honors & awards