Research course

Design Processes

Open University · Department of Design, Development, Environment and Materials

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Months of entry


Course content

Research is undertaken in:

  • Design theory and methods, including: studies of designers’ processes; design cognition; functional modelling of products
  • Creativity in design and innovation
  • Computational design; shape grammars; generative methods; computational making
  • Comparative design across domains
  • Design usability in products; usability in design tools; prototyping
  • Engineering design processes including: simulation; systems engineering for resilient products and processes; product development; testing.

Potential research projects

We welcome applications for research projects; please contact the department to discuss the suitability of your research interests.

Potential supervisors

  • Professor Chris Earl
  • Professor Claudia Eckert
  • Dr Iestyn Jowers
  • Dr Sungwoo Lim
  • Dr Nicole Lotz
  • Dr Rachael Luck

Department specialisms

Testing in the product development process in engineering design Resilient design in refurbishment of hospitals Generative design of mobile design and mechanisms Rules as tools: application of shape grammar methods to jewellery design Design dialogues about objects and representations

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website for more information.

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
distance learning
variable months
full time
36 months


distance learning
variable months
full time
15 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Dr Emma Dewberry
+44 (0)1908 332940