Design for Sustainability

Research in Design for Sustainability consists of two main focus areas:

  • Sustainability and Social Responsibility    
  • Cleaner Electronics 

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

The Sustainable Design research group, established in 2012, focuses on the opportunities and problems to innovate and design products, services and product-service systems integrating socio-ethical, environmental and economic sustainability principles. In particular the group explores the role of design in the following areas: Product-Service Systems (PSS) & circular economy, Social Innovation, Product Life Cycle Design and Socially Responsible Design. The focus is on industrialised as well as low-income and emerging contexts.

Its members come from experiences in EU and RCUK research projects. Ceschin was project manager of LeNS, The Learning Network on Sustainability (2007-2010, Asia Link Programme) and was involved in SCORE!, Sustainable Consumption Research Exchange! (2006-2008, FP6), and Tango, Towards A New interGenerational Openness (2011-2012, Culture Programme). Former staff member Graeme Evans was Co-I on 5 year EPSRC Sustainable Urban Environment projects: VivaCity and InSITU (which led to follow-on AHRC awards under the Connected Communities programme: ICE-SAV and most recently Cultural Planning for Sustainable Communities).

Building upon the LeNS project, the group has been recently awarded with EU funding for the project LeNSES, Learning Network on Sustainable Energy Systems (2013-2016) on the topic of sustainable distributed energy systems in African contexts.

In the next five years the group aims to:

  1. increase the portfolio of EU-funded projects and strengthen its international profile (in relation to the international recognition the group is currently developing a strategic alliance among research centres on design for sustainability in EU design HEIs, in particular with Delft University of Technology, Politecnico di Milano and Aalto University);
  2. facilitate and enhance the transfer of new design knowledge (design strategies, methods and tools) to professional designers, companies and institutions in a manner that encourages its use in practice.

Members: David Harrison, Fabrizio CeschinIan de Vere, Richard Bonser

PhD students:

  • Silvia Emili: Sustainable distributed energy systems in African contexts 

Cleaner Electronics

The Cleaner Electronics research group was set up with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of electronic consumer products. Its work has broadened to include many aspects of design and the environment, including developing design methods to reduce energy use through behaviour change, the inclusive design of energy controllers, and designing sustainable products for the construction industry. Harrison, who leads the group, is a Co-investigator with the EPSRC Innovative Electronics Manufacturing Research Centre, with a special interest in design for the environment. The group’s recent EPSRC /TSB EMPOWER project was focused on User Centred Design for Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings, and was supported by More Associates' CarbonCulture behaviour-change platform, and a collaboration with the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The group has had two other recent projects addressing design and energy use, funded by the EPSRC and Buro Happold Consulting Engineers. One current group project, POWERWEAVE is addressing the Development of Textiles for Electrical Energy Generation and Storage. Powerweave is a fundamentally new approach to the development of smart textiles, namely the integration of active energy harvesting and storage fibres within woven structure.

Cleaner Electronics

Members: David Harrison, Tony Vilches, Yanmeng Xu, Peter Evans, John Fyson, Fulian Qiu (Research Fellow), Brian Griffiths

PhD students:

  • Santos Bunga: Low Power Biomedical and Self-powered Smart Electronics
  • Thomas Maltby: Piezoelectric Thin films and Fibres for Energy Harvesting
  • David Topham: Conceptual design of 3 D miniaturised products.
  • Sze Yin Kwok: Augmented annotation system to encourage sustainable behaviour
  • Tony Samano: Metrology for Printed Electronics (with NPL)
  • Richard Young: Soft lithography
  • Christopher Ellis: Automating soft lithography
  • Zheng Li: Patent Mapping Methods
  • Ruirong Zhang: Development of Weaveable Energy Storage


Page last updated: Wednesday 28 May 2014