Design Research

The research foci of the Department of Design are collaborative and human-centred design, design for sustainability and research through design practice. The research profile combines basic research with research applied within and for industrial, public and cultural sectors. Our research seeks both rigor and high societal relevance, and a high proportion of the research includes multidisciplinary collaboration. The research is organized in the following seven research groups:

  • EDG – Embodied Design
  • EMPIRICA – Research on Art, Design and Culture
  • ENCORE – Engaging Co-Design Research
  • FTF – Fashion/Textile Futures
  • INUSE – Users and Innovation Research
  • NODUS – Sustainable Design Research
  • SDIM – Strategic Design Integration and Management

These seven groups address the following three research foci of the Department of Design as follows.

Collaborative and Human-Centred Design (INUSE, ENCRORE, EDG) research includes co-design, service design, interaction design, user experience, end-user innovation and open design. The research area holds close links with the Collaborative and Industrial Design master’s programmes.

Design for Sustainability (NODUS, FTF, INUSE) includes the development of new sustainable materials – especially fibres, research on product/service systems for sustainability, sustainable consumption and research on sustainability transitions. The sustainable design research is closely connected with the Creative sustainability master’s programme.

Research through design practice (EMPIRICA, ENCORE, EDGE, FTF) includes artistic research, design-driven exploration on emerging technologies and materials, and the action research–oriented development of new design methods and approaches.

In addition to the three foci the Department of Design has expertise in design strategy, design management and innovation research, and in research on the historical and cultural significance of design in order to ensure a solid platform for the understanding of past, present and future challenges.

The research at the Department of Design is pursued by an international group of twelve professors, approximately ten postdoctoral researchers and 50 doctoral students. On average five doctors graduate from the department each year and around 30 peer-reviewed articles and books appear annually. In terms of indicators, Aalto ARTS Crown indicator in 2015 was 2.14 (in 2014 it was 1.41), indicating the status of a global leader in research among the art-based design schools. 

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Contact: Professor Sampsa Hyysalo

Page content by: | Last updated: 07.09.2016.