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About the Design Group
Teaching and research in Design and Innovation have been part of the Open University (OU) since 1970. The OU has for over 30 years been a major player in researching and teaching the general principles, processes and practices of design. Our interdisciplinary non-domain-specific approach to both research and teaching is distinctive and aims at providing a rigorous understanding of the principles and processes of design for application across the creative industries. This ranges from product design to digital media, from engineering design to complex socio-technical systems.
Research and teaching
Our research is essentially interdisciplinary and it has attracted investment from many of the major funding bodies including Research Councils, The Leverhulme Trust and the EU. All research projects display a close relation to our teaching. Research in the Design Group has three main themes: Design Processes and Products, Sustainable Design and Complexity Science and Design. In our courses we make the results of our research widely available - sustainabliity, innovation and design processes as well as the tools and methods in computational modelling and the design of intelligent machines are all covered in our teaching materials. Complexity is the subject of international multidisciplinary postgraduate teaching programmes and our department leads a European Commission Doctoral programme in complexity.
We have achieved recognition for leading Design Research into new areas. Our established research in Design Processes and Products continues to develop with wide ranging international collaborations, projects and publications. More recently design for usability, interaction design and ambient technologies, particularly intelligent robotic systems, form significant aspects of our research and teaching. A major area of recent development is in the intensely interdisciplinary area of Complexity Science and Design. A key theme linking much of the Department's work is sustainability ranging from policy formulation to user centred eco-designs and creating sustainable user communities.
Collaborations cover key international design research groups. We also maintain an extensive network of visiting research fellows and professors, our staff visit and collaborate on joint projects. Department staff have an excellent record of joint publications with their international collaborators. Our collaborations in teaching stretch across the disciplines of the University from Social Science, Mathematics, Arts, Computing and Business.
Page Last Updated: February 8, 2011