Students gather in groups of three. At the back of the classroom, there are plastic bins with glue sticks, colored paper, and ribbons. The focus for class today is how we wash our hands. Believe it or not, this is not a kindergarten class. These students will use the arts and crafts materials for design thinking exercises to address some of the biggest challenges facing our planet. Welcome to development engineering, a course for Ph.D. students at the University of California, Berkeley.
At Berkeley, engineers and computer scientists are in the same rooms as economists and political scientists, working together to test, implement and scale technologies in a way that can reframe global development as we know it. As momentum grows behind development engineering as an interdisciplinary field in academia, Devex spoke with some of the students, faculty, and alumni who are shaping this story.