Design Research: Current Status and Future Challenges

Chris A McMahon

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper


This paper presents a broad review of progress in design research in recent years, before making suggestions for some key research challenges that must be resolved if the grand societal challenges of the early 21st century are to be overcome. The review builds from the foundations in systematic and methodological approaches to design developed in the later decades of the 20th century through to recent research presented especially in the International Conference in Engineering Design (ICED) series of conferences. The consolidated research themes of the ICED conferences are presented together with an exploration of topics of particular focus in recent research before describing developments in research methodology and in design theory which form a foundation for current research in the subject. It is proposed that the present status is that a consolidated view of design can be formed based on accumulated recent research results. A suggested curriculum for design based on these is presented. The paper concludes with a discussion of key current research challenges, including the need for better sharing of design knowledge and exploitation of design data, the need for better computer-aided design tools and the need for a theoretical foundation for design of complex systems.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThe 3rd International Conference on Design Engineering and Science - Pilsen, Czech Republic, Czech Republic
Duration: 31 Aug 20143 Sep 2014


ConferenceThe 3rd International Conference on Design Engineering and Science
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
CityPilsen, Czech Republic


  • design research
  • design theory
  • research methodology
  • grand challenges


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