Research activities within the School of Design cover a diverse range of areas and underpin our taught curricula. Research manifests itself, most visibly, through a New Product Development Centre.
This £2million facility has attracted more than £6million of funding in recent years and includes research staff whose work is classed as ‘world leading’ in the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Our school’s vibrant research community currently has 20 research students undertaking MPhil and PhD studies in design related studies.
Our research areas focus upon key ‘Grand Challenges’ that shape our futures. These include energy use, the aging population, sustainable communities and healthcare issues.
The product design group undertake commercial consultancy activities which supports ‘design as an economic driver’ as they work with regional companies to enhance product ranges and sustain economic growth. Many of this these projects (over 120) involve research into sustainable design, resource efficient design, medical design and retail. Our retail research group’s activities are centred around work in our usability laboratory; a facility created for gaining insights from observational studies that inform design development and innovation.
Additive manufacturing processes are explored by research staff who capitalise upon over £1million of investment in machinery, by exploring the possibilities of these processes within design contexts, such as the mass-customisation of products.
Our expertise in resource efficiency further underpins our research activities to ensure that a more ‘sustainable’ future can be achieved through developing and amending design, manufacturing, logistic and retail activities.
However, our research activities are not restricted to these main research areas; many staff are involved in a broad spectrum of enquiry from User Centred Design through to design education development; all of which creates a strong research community within the school that provides relevance and currency to all our academic activities.
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Design and New Product Development