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The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a cornerstone of Cornell Tech, sharing its broad mission of creating pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age. At the same time, Jacobs is an independent entity, affording it an autonomy that allows radical experimentation with novel research, academic programs and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Founded as a joint academic venture between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Jacobs Institute is an integral part of Cornell Tech, collaborating on research, sharing resources and embracing an overall vision.

The Jacobs Institute emphasizes a transdisciplinary view of science and encourages translational research that ultimately serves the worldwide common good, through a set of industry-focused “hubs” that address contemporary social and economic need around which research and academic programs are centered.

Advantageous Partnership

Endowed by a generous gift from Joan and Irwin Jacobs, the Institute is both part of Cornell Tech, and an independent academic partnership focused on digital science and technology without the constraints of a traditional university environment.

Academia Unbound

The Jacobs Institute represents a unique partnership of the world’s top two leading countries in high-tech entrepreneurship, adding a global perspective to Cornell Tech, combining Cornell’s commitment to discovery with impact and “any person, any study” ethos with the Technion’s global leadership in basic and applied research and reputation for entrepreneurship and startup excellence. Known as the “Startup Nation,” Israel is home to the greatest concentration of high-tech startup companies outside of the Silicon Valley. Furthermore, Technion graduates comprise the majority of Israeli-educated scientists and engineers, constituting over 70% of the country’s founders and managers of high-tech industries.

The Jacobs Institute and Cornell Tech have a seamless partnership, faculty operate as one, creating a unique interdisciplinary academic unit. Our students participate in a broad-based curriculum that gives them the foundation to be both technologists and leaders.

While Cornell Tech is, by design, a place that thrives on experimentation and innovation, even the most forward-thinking organization can use a “sandbox” in which to try out new ideas and push boundaries. The Jacobs Institute’s autonomy allows it to develop and explore exciting new ideas in research, pedagogy, and entrepreneurship.

Our programs are fluid — malleable efforts that can be changed as we learn—but a few tenets remain constant:

  • Transdisciplinary science. We marry elements of traditionally distinct disciplines to develop new ways of thinking about how the tools of technology and entrepreneurship can be applied to a host of human needs.
  • Translational tech. We turn innovative in-depth research into tech products and services that make a difference in people’s lives.
  • Industry-focused hubs. Our scientific research and teaching are deeply engaged with application domains that provide inspiring, important, and relevant real-world problems.
  • Common good. We are committed to creating solutions that have broad impact for populations around the world, especially those with acute social, medical or economic need.

Areas of Impact + Masters Programs

The Jacobs masters programs are two-year dual-degree programs that provide breadth in key areas of digital technology and unprecedented depth in need-driven specialization areas. The institute’s two “hubs” of innovation focus on the current needs of industries where New York City’s historical strengths lie. The Master’s degree programs are informed by these hubs. As social and economic need changes, so, too, will the focus of these hubs.

Connective Media

Focuses on the technology driving digital media, as well as the psychological, social and business forces at play in today’s connected media. Spans mining and analysis of structured and unstructured online sources; machine learning and big data; and mobile platforms.

Learn more about the Masters in IS, Connective Media

Health Tech

Emphasizes individual healthcare technology to promote healthier living. Aims to create better healthcare information systems, mobile healthcare applications and medical devices for medical monitoring.

Learn more about the Masters in IS, Health Tech

Runway Startup Postdoc Program

The Runway Startup Postdoc Program is part business school, part research institution, and part startup incubator. Based at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Runway ushers recent PhDs in digital technology fields through a paradigm shift — from an academic mindset to an entrepreneurial outlook.

Learn more about the Runway Startup Postdoc Program

Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Faculty

Shiri Azenkot

Assistant Professor

Shiri Azenkot is an Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, and a field member in the Information Science Department at Cornell University. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Computer Science Department at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology. Her research interests are in accessibility and interaction on new platforms. She conducts this research with a fantastic group of students who are part of the Enhancing Ability Lab, which she directs. Before arriving at Cornell Tech, Shiri was a PhD student in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.

Ron Brachman

Director, Jacobs Institute

Ron Brachman is the Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute and a professor of Computer Science at Cornell University. He is responsible for the oversight of all Institute activities and programs, continuing to develop its vision and strategy and grow it into a completely new role model of innovation for graduate education. Prior to Cornell Tech, Ron had an outstanding career in research and leadership at Bell Labs, AT&T Labs, DARPA, and Yahoo Labs.

Nicola Dell

Assistant Professor

Nicola Dell is an Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and a member of Cornell’s Information Science Department. Her research interests are in information and communication technologies for development (ICTD), human-computer interaction (HCI) and mobile computing. Nicki’s main focus is on designing, building and evaluating systems that improve the lives of under-served populations in low income regions. To do this, she partners with NGOs and government ministries to create and deploy systems that have a positive impact in the world. Nicki completed her PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington.

Deborah Estrin

Associate Dean and Robert V. Tishman ’37 Professor

Deborah Estrin is Associate Dean and Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech in New York City and a Professor of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College. Professor Estrin’s Small Data Lab focuses on mobile health and small data systems, leveraging the pervasiveness of mobile devices, Internet of Things, and digital interactions for health and life management. The lab develops digital biomarkers to manage chronic diseases, behavioral biomarkers for use in behavior change applications, and immersive recommendation techniques to create a more user-centric form of personalization. A significant focus is on approaches that support varied and dynamic preferences for data sharing. The lab contributes to open source projects including Open mHealth, ResearchKit™ and ResearchStack.

C. Richard Johnson

Professor, Fellow in Computational Arts and Humanities

C. Richard Johnson Jr. is the Fellow in Computational Arts and Humanities at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, as well as the Geoffrey S. M. Hedrick Senior Professor of Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell University. He received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1977 along with a PhD minor in Art History. He has been on the Cornell University faculty since 1981 and joined Cornell Tech in 2016.

Wendy Ju

Assistant Professor

Dr. Wendy Ju is an Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in the Information Scienceprogram. Dr. Ju comes to Cornell Tech from the Center for Design Research at Stanford University, where she was Executive Director of Interaction Design Research, and from the California College of the Arts, where she was an Associate Professor of Interaction Design in the Design MFA program. Her work in the areas of human-robot interaction and automated vehicle interfaces highlights the ways that interactive devices can communicate and engage people without interrupting or intruding. Dr. Ju has innovated numerous methods for early-stage prototyping of automated systems to understand how people will respond to systems before the systems are built. She has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford, and a Master’s in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT. Her monograph on The Design of Implicit Interactions was published in 2015.

Ari Juels

Professor

Ari Juels is a professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech and Computer Science faculty member at Cornell University. Professor Juels’s group has been addressing key technical challenges in the development of blockchain technologies. Blockchains, or distributed ledgers, are a form of database with unusually strong security guarantees. They promise to transform the financial industry by providing a single, authoritative record of transactions across multiple institutions, and have applications in many other domains as well, including identity management for stateless persons / refugees, the creation of new forms of insurance, and the incubation of new marketplaces for virtual goods, among others. Prof. Juels’s group works collaboratively with other Cornell / Tech faculty on these applications under the aegis of the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts (IC3), which Prof. Juels co-directs.

Mor Naaman

Associate Professor

Mor Naaman is an associate professor of Information Science at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, where he is the founder of the Connective Media hub, and leads a research group focused on social technologies. Professor Naaman’s  Social Technologies Lab has been looking at technologies to support the peer economy by increasing awareness, coordination and trust. Communities in urban environments — and underserved communities in particular — could benefit from the positive economic and social outcomes offered via collaborative consumption services. For example, one project examines how trustworthiness is established in services like Airbnb, and another project uses location data traces to reinvent how people socially interact with their local communities.

Joan & Irwin Jacobs

On April 22, 2013, Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs, announced a $133 million gift to Cornell University and the Technion to create the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. Read more about this historic gift in the  Cornell Chronicle.

Published Papers

R. McLachlan, D. Lee, M. Naaman, E. Sun

Movement: A Secure Community Awareness Application and Display

CSCW ’16 Companion, February 27– March 2, 2016, San Francisco, CA

M. Naaman

The Past and Future of Systems for Current Events

WSDM ’16 Feb 22-25, 2016, San Francisco, CA

D. Estrin, A. Juels

Reassembling Our Digital Selves

Dædelus, Winter 2016, Vol. 145, No. 1