Background and activities

With a masters degree in Applied Econometrics from Erasmus University Rotterdam, and a PhD degree in Industrial Design Engineering from Delft University of Technology, I worked as an assistant professor in the Design for Sustainability Program at the Industrial Design Engineering School, TU Delft, the Netherlands, until 2006. In 2004, I was a visiting professor at the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University, Sweden.

In these years, my research interests include sustainable product innovation research and education, and have until a few years ago mainly focused on the organisational and managerial aspects of successful implementation of sustainable product innovation in the electronics industry. Before that I belonged to the first wave of ecodesign researchers that focused on end-of-life issues for electronics.

As of January 2007, I am professor in product design at the Department of Product Design. Since then, my research interests have broadened or even shifted to include the use phase. The research in my group has in recent years mainly focused on Design for Sustainable Behaviour. We focus on understanding how designers and firms can be facilitated in exploiting opportunities, both environmental and commercial, that may exist in designing products and contexts that make users use products in a sustainable way (or avoid that they use them in an unsustainable way). Three PhD students work/have worked on this: Ida Nilstad Pettersen (finished in May 2013), Johannes Zachrisson Daae (April 2014) and Kirsi Laitala (September 2014).

We aim to integrate insights from interaction design, science and technology studies, stakeholder analysis and environmental psychology in developing research protocols to collect empirical information on users' behaviour, attitudes, habits, beliefs, as well situational contexts, and to carry out practical experiments and develop design concepts. We also aim to understand to what extent and under which conditions firms may take such design strategies as a source for innovating their product portfolios. Case studies, both descriptive and explorative, have been done with firms including Philips, Jøtul, Electrolux and Glen Dimplex Nordic.

From 2014-2019, I supervised two PhD students that focus on sustainable product, system and service design related to avoiding food waste (Marie Hebrok, employed at SIFO/OsloMet) and more specifically related to fresh bakery products (Sofie Østergaard, employed at Cernova AS).

In October 2015, two PhD students, Faheem Ali and Raphaëlle Stewart, started their PhD project under joint supervision of Dr. Niki Bey (Technical University of Denmark) and myself, as part of a cotutelle agreement. In 2019 they defended their dissertations after successfully researching various themes related to implementation of design for sustainability and sustainable business modelling. As a result, they both received a double degree from NTNU and DTU.

Early 2017, PhD students Juana Otero-Camacho and Lucy Chamberlin started their research as part of the Horizon2020 EU Marie Curie ITN CIRCUIT, a training network of 15 PhD students across 7 universities in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, France and the UK, aimed at designing circular economy-based product-service systems. In this project, we are responsible for the end-use perspective, focusing on user understanding and how to use this in CE based PSS development, as well as how to communicate this back to user. Juana and Lucy defended their dissertations in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Currently I also supervise Terje Stafseng and June Trondsen.

In April 2017, PhD student Saara-Maria Kauppi started her doctoral research as part of a ERANET-LCA cofunding project, focusing on designing food products based on insects and insect-protein, based on true understanding of user perspectives.

I the past I have also supervised Bijan Aryana (finished in May 2013); his research explored design for country-specific customisation of smart phones, in collaboration with LG Electronics. In 2012, my two former PhD students Elli Verhulst and Silje Aschehoug defended their dissertations; Elli researched how addressing human factors such as resistance and empowerment facilitate or complicate a sustainable design implementation process based on case studies in eight firms. Silje researched the availability, relevance and accessibility of information sources, that are relevant to sustainable design and manufacturing. Her work was based on case studies in the Norwegian automotive and furniture industry.

In my Delft years I have also co-supervised PhD research on topics such as ecodesign management, probing and learning in the fuel cell industry, and sustainable packaging design.

I am also affiliated to NTNU's Industrial Ecology program; In the academic year 2008/2009 I acted as interim director for this multidisciplinary international master, PhD and research program.

From 2013-2017, I was Head of Department for the Department of Design. From 2017-2021, I contribute to the Faculty of Architecture and design as Vice-Dean for Research and Innovation.



Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database

Journal publications


  • Boks, Casparus Burghardus; Sigurjónsson, Jóhannes B.; Steinert, Martin; Vis, Anne Carlijn; Wulvik, Andreas. (2016) Proceedings of NordDesign 2016. The Design Society. 2016. ISBN 978-1-904670-80-3.
  • Boks, Casper; McMahon, Chris; Ion, William; Parkinson, Brian. (2010) When Design Education and Design Research meet... Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, NTNU 2-3 September 2010. The Design Society. 2010. ISBN 978-1-904670-19-3.

Part of book/report