The evolving landscape of design research in the UK

Paul A. Rodgers, Francesco Mazzarella, Loura Conerney

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This paper reports on the evolving landscape of design research in the UK overthe last 12 years. Through a rigorous analysis of a sample of 379 design research projects funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), this paper presents a detailed account of the evolution of AHRC-funded design research and how various factors – such as the financial value, project team size, collaborating organisations, and the geographical spread of design research in the UK – has changed in the period between 2002 and 2018. The paper examines the nature, scale, and diversity of UK-based design research and how it is increasingly interdisciplinary and collaborative. Furthermore, it shows the extent to whichdesign researchers are dealing with significant social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues including those articulated in the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, whilst highlighting issues overlooked in contemporary forms of design research in the UK, the paper suggests other possible challenges for design research to focus on in the future in order to strengthen its contribution to activating social, cultural, economicand environmental change.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2019
EventInternational Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019: Design Revolutions - Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Sep 20195 Sep 2019


ConferenceInternational Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • design research
  • evolution
  • change
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals


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