Contributions from the design disciplines to sustainable development often aim at the use of less harmful materials, the adaptation of more efficient processes, better integrated construction principles or the alignment of individual behavior. Yet designers are also contributing to sustainable development by shaping the framework conditions of innovative social practices—mediating between academic disciplines, professional methods, and cultural conventions. The results of these interventions might be educational experiences, grassroots innovations spaces or co-created visions for a desirable future.
The PhD programme offers a structure to explore potential design contributions to the field of eco-social innovation. It is open to educators and professionals in design and allied fields who wish to reinvent their own base of knowledge and practice—while pushing the boundaries of the design disciplines and to create new ‘grounded’ theories. It encourages research scholars to be ‘learning by doing’ and to be ‘learning from the field’ and prepares for responsible positions in education, in the public or private sector, or for eco-social entrepreneurship.