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Philanthropist's donation for winner of Human Centred Design Research Prize


A £2,000 donation from Brunel University graduate and philanthropist Peter Ilori has been awarded to the winner of the University's annual Human Centred Design Research Prize.

The prize, which is open to all Brunel doctoral students researching in the field of Human Centred Design, was claimed by Christopher McGinley who is currently completing a PhD in Design at the University.

Mr McGinley's winning submission, titled "Supporting People-Centred Design Through Information and Empathy", investigates existing practices of designers within contemporary design studios and explores the ways in which they come to understand the people that they design for, and the role of 'human information' in informing product design.

As part of his research Mr McGinley developed a unique resource framework called 'Means of Human Information Representation, Retrieval, Organisations and Reflection' (MHIRROR) which was realised as a working online prototype. MHIRROR enables designers to represent the perspectives of six diverse groups - an athletic user, a visually impaired user, a pregnant user, an elderly user, a mobility challenged user, and a user with a busy lifestyle - in the design process. This has been applied in the development of two user-centred design artefacts by external design agencies - a novel pint glass redesign for the Home Office, and a commode redesign for the Department of Health.

Professor Joseph Giacomin, Director of the Human Centred Design Institute at Brunel University, said: "Christopher's entry was judged by the prize jury to be the submission of the highest professional quality and to have the greatest impact on the Human Centred Design profession. The core framework based on information and empathy, and the novel approaches adopted for enmeshing the framework within the design process, were considered to be an outstanding example of 21st century thinking. We were particularly impressed by the manner in which communication, empathy and human empowerment permeated the framework. We look forward to supporting Christopher in his endeavours to promote the application of his framework within the design community and beyond. We also thank all the other entrants to the Research Prize."

Professor Giacomin also thanked Peter Ilori, founder of Octagon Orthodontics, a national network of specialists in orthodontics, health and wellbeing, for his donation. "Peter is a champion of the idea that business success in the 21st century is achieved through design for people, rather than simply through technological evolution," he said. "This idea is shared by the University team at the Institute. It is thus our ethos, ethics and business model to support tomorrow's designers by providing the tools needed to enhance human wellbeing and empower people. We are grateful for Peter's support, and our PhD students can look to him as a great example of what can be achieved through Human Centred Design."

Details of the 2013 Human Centred Design Research Prize will be available this Autumn.

Notes to editors

To request an interview with Professor Joseph Giacomin please call Phil Smith on 01727 733888 or email phil@communicationsmanagement.co.uk.