Research at the Department of Design

Research at the Department of Design

Hovedbilde forskning

Student watching 3D printer
Photo: Geir Mogen/NTNU



Most research activities at Department of Design can be covered by one or more of the following research fields: Sustainability, techonology, collaboration and form. Combining insights from various disciplines makes that our research is often explorative.

Research at the Department of Design

Design for Sustainability

The design for sustainability group addresses (changes in) relations between people, nature, technologies, and material environments. Its research activity contributes to main streams of research that include:
•    Design and changes in behaviours and practices
•    Socio-cultural sustainability and social design and innovation 
•    Design for sustainability transitions
The group generates knowledge by drawing on theories and methods from design and other fields, including co-creative, practice-based, and experimental approaches. It does that for topics and application areas such as energy and materials, food and food waste, circular economy, design for sustainability implementation, emotions, narratives, ethical issues, citizen engagement, futures, and (urban) nature.
The group consists of researchers with different backgrounds, ranging from design to the humanities and social sciences. It engages in inter- and transdisciplinary research, and collaborates actively with other NTNU faculties, national and international research institutions, as well as with industry, the public sector, NGOs, and civil society, in Norway and abroad. Its track record includes NFR- and EU-funded projects, as well as projects funded by Diku and Norad. The group is responsible for dedicated design for sustainability courses at the bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD level, and supervises a range of specialization and master’s projects connected to ongoing research every year. 

Technology and Interaction Design

Traditionally, Interaction Design has been oriented towards web design, app design and general software development. In recent years industry has become more aware of the value of Interaction Design as an important approach to reduce the risk of human error in complex operations such as in control rooms, on ships’ bridges and in health and welfare systems.

Systems and Service Design

The department is in a process of building up experience and a good reputation in the field of Systems and Service Design (currently focusing on Social Design and Innovation in the health and welfare context). 

Design education research

At ID, a strong tradition exists of reflecting and documenting our educational activities through publications targeted at dedicated conferences and journals. Our dedication to excellent education makes that we have experience with trying out new ways of organizing courses, such as vertical studio teaching or different ways of cooperation with industry, which also provide a welcome topic for reflection, as do our study trips and our research on charting professional perspectives for our alumni. 

Applied aesthetics in design

The department’s role and responsibility is to provide knowledge about what happens when people and technology meet. This implies an exploration of applied aesthetics that requires quite different approaches from those common in traditional (engineering) research - because the discipline is based on the balanced combination of theoretical, logical knowledge with a practical and intuitive exploration of aesthetic expression - which we also find in the fields of music and art.