Aalto Design Research
Our research environment fosters goal-oriented research, imaginative experiments, critical discussion and cross-disciplinary enquiry.
We work with businesses, scientists, technologists, sociologists, policymakers, public sector organisations and communities of interest towards a more just and sustainable world.
Aalto Design Research has three, interlinked foci: Design for Sustainability, Collaborative and Human-Centred Design and Practice-Based Design Research.
Practice-based design research includes artistic research, design-driven exploration on emerging technologies and materials, and the action research–oriented development of new design methods and approaches.
We also research design management and innovations as well as contemporary and historical issues of design culture and society. Our work extends to applied research that serves industry and the public sector.
Aalto Design Research seeks both rigour and high societal relevance. A high proportion of its work involves multi- and trans-disciplinary collaboration. It is also characterized by engagement with societal challenges and collaborations with organizations in the private and public sectors and with civil society actors.
The research foci of the Department of Design are pursued in seven research groups. In addition the Department of Design has expertise in design strategy, design management and innovation research and in research on the historical and cultural significance of design.
Group approaches research with an attitude, where making, acting and engaging play important roles.
The ENCORE research group explores constantly application fields for co-design through hands-on exploration and ambitious research. The visionary competence stems mostly from industrial design spiced with engineering, architecture and anthropology.
The Fashion/Textile Futures research group explores new perspectives on human-centered design research. The group approaches research in the field of fashion, clothing and textiles in multi-faceted ways.
Researches designer-user relations in sociotechnical change.
NODUS Sustainable Design Research Group undertakes transdisciplinary design research for sustainable futures.
The Strategic Design Integration and Management (SDIM) research group organises researchers with an interest in design management and the organisational adoption, implementation and leadership of designers and design-based practices at the Department of Design.
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Aalto Design Research in Numbers
We currently supervise over 50 active students within our doctoral programme and we achieve around 40 peer-reviewed articles and books annually. The number of international peer-review journal articles has grown 400% since 2012. The qualitative improvement is visible in the increase of publications in top-of-the-field (the world’s top 10%) outlets, which has grown from 1–2 annually in 2011–2013 to 18 in 2016: about a 1000% increase.
In the University's Research, Art and Impact (RAI) assessment of 2018, the Department of Design's research was described by an international expert panel as 'one of the top design departments in the world...There clearly is buzz about what the Department of Design is producing.'
In 2015 the Aalto ARTS Crown indicator was 2.14 and in 2016 it was 2.65. This indicates the status of a global leader in research among the art-based design schools and is the highest crown score among Aalto’s six schools. The Department of Design is a major contributor to both the volume of articles and the number of citations in the crown score.
Aalto University’s Art & Design now 7th best in the world according to the annual QS Ranking
There are now 14 post-doctoral researchers engaged in our research activities.
There are now 52 active doctoral students enrolled in our research community.
We organised or took part in 71 exhibitions in 2019.
We are a research community of 7 research groups with diverse backgrounds.