Welcome to the DJSD Lab

The Design, Justice, & Sustainable Development Lab – DJSD at Penn State brings forth the human centered design framework to a legal and policy context to better understand the use and impact of technology and data-driven tools for the common good and public interest. This includes advancing community participation and engagement for successful technology acceptance and equitable adoption, fostering access to justice (especially for those from marginalized and underrepresented communities), democracy and sustainable development, and supporting legal clinics, non-profits, and civil society organizations. The DJSD Lab fosters the use of Legal Design and Open Policymaking for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, ensure equal access to justice for all, and achieve just, peaceful and inclusive societies.


The DJSD Lab is inspired by the work and experience of Prof. Sandra Allain as a practitioner in the field of intellectual property law, technology transfer, and higher education. The unintended effects of innovation – unsuccessful adoption, ethical implications, bias, environmental impact, regulatory and policy challenges, market readiness – as well as an inclusive view of all stakeholders and their needs, are frequently overlooked. This gap also exists in regard to legal services delivery, the criminal and civil  justice systems, governance, and policy-making. A human-centered design approach to problem solving captures human needs and the user experience resulting in innovative and incremental technological and data driven solutions with higher level of usability, a higher adoption rate and overall impact.