The Institute for Design Informatics aims to be an agent of change, making a difference to society through computational and design thinking: 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 and intelligent systems.

The Institute for Design Informatics brings together expertise from multiple disciplines to explore and understand how data and emerging technologies transforms the ways in which we work, live, play and care for each other.

The Institute combines data science with creative concept development and human-centered design methodologies, which allows us to harness networked connectivity, analytic power and industrial-strength simulation to design new products, capabilities and services that have meaning and value to people.

Research at the Institute for Design Informatics is action-oriented and design-led. Our research is often done through prototyping new artefacts and technologies or studying how novel systems are used 'in the wild’ in real-world situations. It is a cornerstone of our mission to inspire, equip and nurture a new generation of researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs with the skills to place people and the environment at the heart of emerging technological developments.

Our research connects with many challenges that are critical to ensuring people live and work well now and in the future and that our societies are sustainable and safe to live in. The Institute’s team are immersed in projects examining how new technologies impact on our health and wellbeing, our safety and security, our finances and money, and our democracies and local communities.

We’re tackling how developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence might unlock the potential of designers and users, and producers and consumers to work together to generate new social and economic value as well as understanding how these technologies might be better governed and understood by design. 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 Institute 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 researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs with the skills to place people and the environment at the heart of emerging technological developments."

 

Working in partnership

Each of our student or staff research projects address challenges facing people and organisations. 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, Philips Design, Legal & General, NatWest, 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 2020, Institute academic’s Professor Chris Speed and Dr. Ewa Luger  were awarded the University of Edinburgh Chancellor's Award for their research excellence, impact and international recognition of their work.

 

Would you like to undertake research-led study at ECA?

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

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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