The Centre for Design Informatics aims to be an agent of change, making a difference to society through computational thinking and design: improving things, bit by bit. A collaboration between the Schools of Design and Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, our vision is for Scotland to be a world leader in designing with data.

Design Informatics (DI) brings together two diverse disciplines to transform the ways in which we work, live, care for each other and play.

Combining scientific data processing with creative concept development, it allows us to harness massive connectivity, analytic power and industrial-strength simulation to design new products, capabilities and services.

Research at the Centre for Design Informatics is action-led and design-based. It is a cornerstone of our mission to inspire, equip and nurture a new generation of DI researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs.

Machine learning is an overarching theme, unlocking the potential of designers and users, producers and consumers to work together to generate new social and economic value. We ask questions such as, what can robots do for product design? And can synthetic biology and fashion find common ground?

Design Informatics students talk about a study they did on cycling safety

Research at the Centre for Design Informatics is action-led and design-based. It is a cornerstone of our mission to inspire, equip and nurture a new generation of DI researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs.

Working in partnership

Every student or staff research project has to address a practical challenge. This has allowed us to develop excellent partnerships with non-academic bodies, such as Oxfam, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), SkyScanner, NHS 24, Transport for Edinburgh, Edinburgh Museums & Galleries and The Assembly Rooms, and to establish a growing Community of Interest for knowledge exchange and ideas generation.

Our work is supported by the Scottish Funding Council and the ERDF-funded Open Innovation programme, with projects funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Technology Strategy Board and others. In 2013, Professor Chris Speed, Chair of Design Informatics, was awarded the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Innovator's Prize “for his creative use of digital technology” in research.

Would you like to get involved in research at ECA?

We are always looking for research partners and participants. If you are interested in getting involved in research at Edinburgh College of Art, please contact our Research, Knowledge Exchange and Outreach (RKEO) Office by emailing ECA.rkeo@ed.ac.uk.

We also offer a range of research-led postgraduate programmes. Find out more.

Design Informatics Guinness World Record attempt workshop
Image courtesy of Design Informatics
Team members have been involved in a world-record-attempting app-a-thon
Photo of an outdoor performance at the Usher Hall
Image courtesy of Eoin Carey
Design Informatics research was used to create the projections used in Harmonium, which opened the Edinburgh International Festival 2015

Are you interested in studying Design Informatics - MFA/MA at Edinburgh College of Art?

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