Research in the Department of Industrial Design is closely aligned with Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University's Design Research Institute, which stimulates, facilitates and promotes high-quality trans-disciplinary design research at XJTLU and beyond. It advances design research as a speculative, rigorous and project-based endeavour that offers insights into creative processes, products and services that bring about desirable futures, involving the sciences, the humanities and engineering.

As a catalyst for creative thinking and discourse in one of XJTLU's areas of strategic importance, the Design Research Institute acts as an exchange hub between XJTLU, the broader Suzhou Industrial Park community as well as academia and domestic and international industry. Design and design research constitute one of XJTLU's high priority thematically-oriented initiatives.