How design researchers can lead higher education to a greater impact on society

T. J. Howard*, C. A. McMahon, M. D. Giess

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper argues for the lead rôle that the engineering design research community can have in aiding SMEs. The paper details findings based on several rounds of calls and meetings with a total of over 600 SMEs, and interviews with members of large design and manufacturing research group. It was found that SMEs mainly requested support with specific product related problems and tasks, rather than improvements to process or practice. It was also found that university faculty members have little time or incentive to provide such support which may not directly progress a research portfolio. However, with the aid of available government funding, researchers could benefit from undertaking such support work to fill gaps between fixed term research contracts; though administering short term irregular contracts proved a major unresolved barrier. It is recommended that engineering design researchers work as projects managers to provide technology and knowledge transfer, drawing further expertise from researchers within their universities. A trail case was completed showing identifying three key barriers to future progress.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICED 11 - 18th International Conference on Engineering Design - Impacting Society Through Engineering Design
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Event18th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 11 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 15 Aug 201118 Aug 2011


Conference18th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 11


  • Engineering Design Research
  • Innovation
  • Knowledge Transfer
  • Societal Impact
  • Strategy

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