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Aims & Objectives



Welcome to the Designing for the 21st Century Initiative Website.
If you are interested in how research will inform our future understanding of design then this website will be of interest to you.

Design helps create the products, experiences and environments that are central to business and society. As we become familiar with the 21st Century we can see that what we are designing is changing, new technologies support the creation of new forms of product and service, new pressures on business and society demand the design of solutions to increasingly complex problems, sometimes local, often global in nature. Customers, users and stakeholders are no longer passive recipients of design, expectations are higher, increased participation is often essential.

To support the development of design practice so that it can play its part in tackling the exigencies of 21st Century endeavour, new knowledge and understanding will be needed. Generating and disseminating this knowledge requires a collaboration of minds.

In the UK the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) both have remits, which include design. As a result of this mutual interest the two research councils have created the Designing for the 21st Century Initiative as a vehicle for supporting design research over a five-year period from 2005-2009. This website explains how the initiative is structured; the activities that it is supporting and how interested parties can become involved.


2 female models wearing white dressesimage of food on a plateshadows of 2 people on a piece of fabric

© Interrogating Fashion: Sandy Black (top)

© Emergent Objects: Joslin McKinney (bottom)

© University of Dundee
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© Designing for the 21st Century