The National Institute of Design (NID)
The National Institute of Design (NID) has an international reputation as one of the leading educational and research institutions for industrial, communication, textile and integrated design. Since 2011, it has maintained close ties with the Lucerne School of Design, Film and Art through their long-standing partnership and fruitful exchange of knowledge in practice-based research and sustainable innovation. PhD students in this collaboration therefore benefit from a diverse range of transdisciplinary courses at both universities and from a long tradition of academic collaboration and knowledge exchange.
PhD students define individual, bespoke course loads in consultation with their guides and co-guides. They commit to at least one module of coursework at the NID, parts of which may be compensated with coursework at the HSLU.
The HSLU and NID provide an opportunity for its PhD students and staff working on their doctorate to meet (remotely) for joint workshops to promote knowledge transfer between both universities and the various disciplines. The workshops help establish and cultivate a common culture of research and discourse.
In addition to the offers within the PhD programme, PhD students can choose from various courses on the topic of research competences at the Lucerne School of Design, Film and Art, at the Centre for Teaching and Learning (ZLLF) and within the cooperation of Campus Lucerne. Currently, not all courses at the ZLLF and Campus Lucerne are offered in English.
The NID offers around 100 courses for PhD students.
Place of Study
PhD students generally conduct their research projects individually and independent of location. A research stay in India or Switzerland is possible, but not mandatory. However, students are expected to travel to the NID at least twice during their studies (attendance of introductory module at the start of the programme, defence of the dissertation). In the case of employment as a research associate at the HSLU, relocation to Switzerland is strongly recommended to avoid difficulties regarding residence status, health insurance and taxes.
Full-time study: Three years.
Part-time study: Five years.
The study programme at the National Institute of Design (NID) can be extended by a maximum of two years in both the part-time and full-time models in justified cases.
The PhD students carry out their research projects under the joint supervision of a guide (first supervisor) from the NID and a co-guide (second supervisor) from the HSLU. The guide, co-guide and another external expert form the Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC), which shall provide academic support to the PhD students during the programme through feedback and guidance in mandatory six-monthly meetings or presentations.
The programme managers at both universities assist in the appointment of suitable supervisors, considering the chosen research area, methodology and availability. Currently, around 50 experts are available.
To ensure high-quality supervision, PhD projects should explore topics that align with the work of one of the Lucerne School of Design, Film and Art's four research groups, and with the NID’s key research areas and PhD programme.
Doctoral grants are not available for the ‘Eco-social Innovation by Design’ PhD programme. In most cases, the doctorate is pursued independently without funding from the university. However, depending on the extent to which the candidate’s proposed dissertation aligns with the esearch focus and ongoing projects of Lucerne School Design, Film and Art, they may be offered a paid position. Doctoral students are then employed as research associates in one of the research groups for a fixed term of three to a maximum of five years within the framework of the HSLU “working time model".
The following funding models are available:
- Independent doctorate – self-funded (full-time or part-time study)
There is an option to pursue an independent doctorate without direct ties to an ongoing research project and without employment by a research group. While the Lucerne School of Design, Film and Art Doctoral is unable to offer employment in these cases, it will help the candidate to find alternative funding options and potential supervisors. The dedicated courses for doctoral candidates offered by the HSLU in the framework of Campus Luzern are open to self-funding doctoral candidates working independently or as HSLU employees, provided there is a relation/connection to HSLU's research activities.
- HSLU working time model – partially funded (part-time study)
Doctoral candidates are employed by a research group at the Lucerne School of Design, Film and Art for three years and 3.5 working days (0.7 FTE) a week. Tasks in the areas of research, teaching and/or university administration take up 2.5 days (0.5 FTE) of their weekly workload. One working day per week is dedicated to the dissertation. In addition, doctoral candidates spend a weekly 1.5 days (0.3 FTE) of their private time working on their dissertation.
- Employment in Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) research projects – fully funded (full-time study)
Along with their dissertation, doctoral candidates are integrated in an SNSF-funded research project and employed by one of the Lucerne School of Design, Film and Art’s research groups for four days a week (0.8 FTE) according to the SNSF’s funding regulations. The SNSF expects that doctoral candidates dedicate between 0.8 and 1.0 FTE to their doctorate (“protected time”) and to complete their dissertation within the maximum funding period of four years.
Open doctoral positions in SNSF projects are posted on the HSLU job board. Openings that align with the PhD Programme in ‘Eco-social Innovation by Design’ in terms of timing and content are marked accordingly in the call.
PhD students have access to all the HSLU’s and NID’s institutional resources including libraries, labs and workshops, university sports, language centres, canteens, on-campus childcare facilities, digital equipment, and software.
The PhD students will be enrolled at the NID.
Fees for the doctoral programme are paid at NID and amount to USD 2,000 per year.
The results of the research work shall be submitted in the form of a practice-oriented contribution, i.e. any form of design intervention. This could be objects, visualizations, prototypes, digital media, exhibitions, concepts, processes or any other form, which can be chosen individually. In addition, the creative contribution shall be theoretically contextualized in a dissertation thesis of at least 60,000 words (cf. Ordinances of NID). The general conditions for the form of the expected contributions are agreed upon together with the DAC in a written dissertation agreement.
Awarding of the Doctoral Degree
The academic degree "Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Design" is awarded by the NID. Both universities and the names of all supervisors are listed by name on the certificate.