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Professor David Harrison

Professor David Harrison
Professor - Design Research

Research area(s)


Professor of Design Research. and lecturer in Sustainable Design and Environmentally Sensitive Design, specialising in sustainable design.

Research Interests

David Harrison holds a Chair in Design in the School of Engineering and Design. He is a Chartered Engineer and has research interests in sustainable design and emerging technologies and design,  is a Member of the IET, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Current research projects in 2019 are Inclusive Immersion, in collboration with Cambridge University Engineering Design Research Centre and funded by EPSRC, and Storyfutures, funded by the AHRC Creative Clusters Initiative, in collaboration with Royal Holloway University.

He worked for fifteen years on innovative approaches to electronic manufacturing, and collaborating with Dr Peter Evans, he developed, patented and successfully licensed a number of new manufacturing processes in printed electronics, yielding approximately £300,000 of license income for Brunel. He was a co investigator with the EPSRC Innovative Electronics Manufacturing Research Centre, with particular interests in reducing the environmental impact of electronics manufacturing. He served on the EPSRC/DTI Sustainable Technologies Initiative panel, and is a Member of the EPSRC College of Peers.

David Harrison founded the Cleaner Electronics research group and their work on renewable energy has included projects on the design of daylight capture systems, regenerative energy storage systems based on hydrogen fuel cells, and the design of low cost thermoelectric devices. The group has also carried out many research projects in environmentally sensitive design, including the first ecological footprinting of electronic products, and the development of a method for calculating the optimal ecological lifetimes for products, based on analysis of build energy and energy consumption. David Harrison was also a co investigator on two EPSRC projects on the Active Disassembly of products for recycling. He led the second phase of a large Framework 5 project on Active Disassembly, in close partnership with Sony and Nokia, and was a partner on “Paperworks”, a Framework 6 project integrating the digital world with paper.

Other projects have included the  EPSRC/TSB Empower project,  carried out with More Associates and Warwick Manufacturing Group, which aimed to integrate creative, empathic user-centred design techniques with genuinely novel product design innovation, to reduce energy use in commercial buildings. This has developed out of a PhD project in which Daniel Lockton developed the “Design with Intent” method, a suggestion tool offering guidance to designers in choosing design techniques to encourage more sustainable behaviour. Projects with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers included Lifecycle impacts of novel retrofit technologies incorporating translucent silica aerogel – with Mark Dowson. (The aim was to design, build and characterise a new retrofitable building product which reduced the energy use of buildings), and The influence of user interface design on energy consumption in UK residential buildings –with Nicola Combe. This was a  project investigating tools and methods to support sustainable and inclusive aspects of building design.

Recent projects have included

Research grants and projects

Research Projects


Feasibility Study for Robust Automated Servicing of Passenger Train Fluids (RASPT-F)
Funder: Rail Safety & Standards Board
Duration: June 2016 - March 2017
Design Assistant for Semantic Comparison of Intellectual Property (DASCIP
Funder: EPSRC
Duration: February 2016 - July 2017

A design tool will be developed that highlights potential patent infringement of an emerging design will help to steer that design towards a novel solution as well as avoid costly litigation. We will focus on mechanical engineering designs where the novel inventive step relies heavily upon how functions and key geometrical features of the design interact.

POWERWEAVE - development of textiles for electrical energy generation and storage
Funder: European Commission
Duration: June 2012 - November 2015
POWERWEAVE - development of textiles for electrical energy generation and storage
Funder: European Commission
Duration: June 2012 - November 2015
Biopolymer-based Electronic Circuits and Displays (BEDs)
Funder: InnovateUK
Duration: September 2011 - August 2014

Project details

  • 1989-92 Co-investigator , SERC grant, \"New Techniques in the control of advanced production machinery\" £120,000.
  • 1992-94 Co-investigator , SERC grant, \"A Process Model for Project Management\" £150,000.
  • 1992 Principal Investigator ,travel grant. SERC £4,920.
  • 1994 Academic Contact , EU, \"Teleman Projects\" 20,00 ECU.
  • 1994 Co-investigator , EPSRC grant “A Framework for Simulation of Concurrent Engineering”, £200,000.
  • 1995 Principal Investigator , “Novel Techniques in the Manufacture of Electronic Products”. Brunel University London Enterprise Fund, £10,000.
  • 1995-97 Principal Investigator , EPSRC grant, “A novel circuit fabrication process\" £70,000.
  • 1996-97 Co-invest., EPSRC \"Eco design for disassembly\" £35,000.
  • 1997 Principal Investigator , Brunel Research Committee QR Grant, “Circuit fabrication using Conductive Lithographic Films”, £17,500.
  • 1997-99 Principal Investigator , EPSRC grant, “Low Cost circuit fabrication using conductive lithographic films” £210,000.
  • 1998-99 Principal Investigator, EPSRC grant, “Vias and embedded resistor formation in low cost substrates” £10,000.
  • 1998-00 Principal Investigator, EPSRC grant, “An initial investigation into low cost assembly and packaging of polymer light emitting displays\" £86,000.
  • 1998-00 Principal Investigator, EPSRC grant “Frameworks for the Management of Step-Change Environmental Design” £120,000.
  • 1998-01 Co Investigator, EPSRC grant, “Lithographic construction of multi layer devices and circuits using powder filled inks” £100,000
  • 1998-00 Co Investigator, EPSRC grant “Design principles for active disassembly” £85,000.
  • 2000-04 Academic Contact , EU Fifth Framework grant, \"Active Disassembly with Smart Materials\" (PI for last year of contract ). £1.6 million
  • 2001-02 Principal Investigator, EPSRC grant , \"Lithographic printing of sensor structures\" £60,000
  • 2001-04 Co Investigator, EPSRC, \"Prototyping Futures Research Institute\" £75,000
  • 2002-03 Principal Investigator, Nokia , “Printed Circuits ” £20,000
  • 2002-03 P. Inv., Anson Fund, “Designing out Medical Error” £14,000
  • 2002-03 P. Inv., Prime Faraday/DTI, “Printed Vias for Circuits” £5000
  • 2003-05 C.Inv, EPSRC, “Thermoelectric structures” £120,000
  • 2004-09 C.Inv, EPSRC, Electronics Manufacturing Research Centre, £5M
  • 2005-09 P.Inv. EPSRC IEMRC Travel grant, £10,000
  • 2005-06 C.Inv, EPSRC, IEMRC, “Thermocouple fabrication”, £30,000
  • 2005-06 C.Inv, EPSRC, IEMRC, “Printed Batteries”, £52,000
  • 2005-08 P.Inv., EU STREP “Paperworks”, £140,000
  • 2005 P.Inv., DTI “Active Disassembly”, (offered by DTI, but withdrawn following failure of industrialists to sign contract) £120,000
  • 2007 P.Inv. Design for Disassembly (DTI Feasibility study, follows on from above) £4,000
  • 2006-08 P.Inv., EPSRC, “DNA traps on Cartridges” £134,000
  • 2006-07 C.Inv., EPSRC, IEMRC, “Microcontact Printing”, £52,000
  • 2006-08 C Inv, EPSRC, IEMRC, “Integrated lithographically printed electronics”£100,000
  • 2006-07 C Inv. EPSRC, IEMRC, “Vacuum deposition and laser patterning of thin films” £30,000
  • 2007-10 EPSRC DTA from 3D Mintegration Grand Challenge project, £45,000
  • 2011-2014 C.Inv. Innovate UK, Biopolymer Based Electronic Circuits and Displays, £253,000, 
  • 2012-2016 P. Inv. EU Framework 7, "Powerweave" £340,000.
  • 2013-2016 EU Edulink "Lenses", £74,400
  • 2016-2017 C.Inv. EPSRC "DASCIP", Design Assistant for Sematic Comparison of Intellectual Property,  £266,875
  • 2016-2017, C.Inv, RSSB, "Feasibility Study for robust autommated servicing of passenger train fluids", £76,500
  • 2017-2019 C.Inv. Innovate UK. "RAS for train fluid servicing", £114,900
  • 2018-2022 P.Inv for Brunel, AHRC Creative Clusters, "Storyfutures", £320,000
  • 2019-2022 C.Inv. EPSRC, "Inclusive Immersion", £350,000

Third stream and Commercial Funding

  • 2003 Universities Challenge Fund for company start up £150,000
  • 2004 DTI SMART AWARD £75,000
  • 2004 HEIF2, Design and Manufacture network £60,000
  • 2005 HEIF2, Design and Manufacture network £60,000
  • 2006 HEIF3 Display Prototypes £54,000