Design Research Centre

Work undertaken by the Design Research Centre corresponds with its research priorities and primary fields of interest, in the context of the Institute challenging paradoxes of design research.


  • Advanced practices in developing contexts
  • Dynamics of creative processes

Primary fields of interest:

  • Product/service/social innovation in China
  • (Digital) technology and design (toolmaking, CAD, automation and design etc.)
  • Philosophy of design (research methods, inquiry into inquiry, disciplinary role and identity etc.)
  • Design and culture (cross-cultural design, design heritage)
  • Design communication (language, visualisation, documentation, exhibition, curation, display)
  • Design education

Challenging paradoxes of design research

Transcending formal frameworks of analysis and decision making, design research rigorously engages challenges that involve subjective and normative value judgment, aesthetic preference and delight, ethical desire and personal responsibility. Design research is thus well-positioned to operate in the presence of formally 'undecidable' dilemmas, which are proposed by the Institute as ‘Challenging Paradoxes of Design Research’ to define the broader context and challenges of design research:

  • Individual and collective (as encountered in organisational contexts)
  • Cooperation and competition (as encountered in social and economic contexts)
  • Metropolitan lifestyle and local fabric (as encountered in social transformations)
  • Preserving heritage and shaping the future (as encountered in cultural contexts)
  • Growth and sustainability (as encountered in business and ecological contexts)
  • Doing more with less (as encountered in contexts of simplification and abstraction)
  • Enablement and restriction (as encountered in the making of methods and tools)
  • Speculation and certainty (as encountered in epistemological practice)
  • Fulfilment of expectations and defiance of expectations (as encountered in educational contexts).