Contributions from the design disciplines towards sustainable development often aim at the use of less harmful materials, the adaptation of more efficient processes, improvements of construction principles or the alignment of individual behaviour. However, designers also contribute to sustainable development by shaping the framework conditions of innovative social practices, mediating and navigating between academic disciplines, professional methods and cultural conventions at the four orders of design: from graphics and products to interactions and systems. The results of these interventions might be goods and services, educational experiences, grassroots innovations, or co-created visions for desirable futures.
The programme is open to educators and professionals in design and allied fields who seek to reinvent the basis of their own knowledge and practice while pushing the boundaries of the design disciplines by creating new grounded theories. It encourages PhD students to be ‘learning by doing’ and in ‘learning from the field’ and it prepares them for senior positions in education, private or public sector organisations, or for eco-social entrepreneurship. PhD students benefit from the diversity of perspectives, the inter-regional sharing of academic practice and problem-solving strategies, the plurality of innovation cultures and the opportunity to study and conduct use-inspired research within an intercultural environment in Switzerland and India.
The National Institute of Design (NID) is widely known internationally as one of the leading educational and research institutions for industrial, communication, textile and integrated design and it has close ties to the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts through a long-standing partnership and fruitful exchange of knowledge in practice-oriented research and sustainable innovation. PhD students benefit from a diverse range of transdisciplinary courses and opportunities for academic collaboration and knowledge sharing. The PhD candidates may define individual, bespoke course loads to suit their specific requirements and needs. Mentoring and supervision is provided by guides from the NID and co-guides from the HSLU faculty as part of the cooperation programme. The PhD certificate will be issued by NID.
Areas of research may include (but are not limited to):
- Design for participation and co-creation with a focus on formats, processes and frameworks for discourse, the integration of stakeholders from civil society, the public sector and governmental institutions, businesses, and academia. Investigation and design of e.g., social and artistic interventions, educational activities, organisational processes, transformative grassroots innovations.
- Design for science communication with a focus on information and education about city and regional planning, municipal policy-making and social organisations. Design of e.g., virtual realities, data art, information graphics, campaigns, exhibitions, animations.
- Design of future scenarios with a focus on foresight, disruptive innovation research or scientific and technical trend analyses. Design of e.g., fictional scenarios using digital modelling, games, illustrations, prototyping.
- Design of services and interactions with a focus on democratization, strategies for climate mitigation, adaptation and coping, crisis communication, urban and rural infrastructure, and communities. Design of e.g., digital applications, platforms, guiding principles for organisational transformations.
- Design of products, processes, and systems with a focus on circular manufacturing and recovery processes, craft culture, material science and production techniques. Design of e.g., material cycles, construction principles, application scenarios for textile, natural fib res, furnishing or building technology.
- Accompanying studies on new narratives and current discourses with a focus on concepts and theories e.g., about aesthetic education, the Anthropocene, posthumanism and cohabitation.