What we do

The research foci of the Department of Design are collaborative and human-centred design, design for sustainability and research through design practice. These foci are pursued in seven research groups. In addition 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. Our research seeks both rigor and high societal relevance, and a high proportion of the research includes multidisciplinary collaboration. Our research is also characterized by engagement with societal challenges and collaborations with organizations in the private and public sectors, and with civil society actors are natural for us.

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. For more information on our output and development see research fact sheet.

Collaborative and Human-Centred Design

Co-design, service design, interaction design, user experience, end-user innovation and open design.

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Design for Sustainability

Development of new sustainable materials, research on product/service systems for sustainability, sustainable consumption and research on sustainability transitions.

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Research through design practice

Artistic research, design-driven exploration on emerging technologies and materials, and the action research–oriented development of new design methods and approaches.

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Collaborative and Human-Centred Design

Research groups

INUSE
ENCORE
EDG

Collaborative and Human-Centred Design 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 programme.

Design for Sustainability

Research groups

NODUS
FTF
INUSE

Design for Sustainability 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

Research groups

EMPIRICA
ENCORE
EDG
FTF

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