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Engineering Design Centre

Research overview


Research overview

Good design is fundamental to product success and improvements in people and processes are just as vital for the health of a business as developments in technology. The Cambridge Engineering Design Centre delivers practical tools and methods to industry, based on rigorous research and a deep understanding of engineering design.

The Centre's research and knowledge transfer activities are coordinated within the groups listed below:

Aeronautical engineering effects all aspects of aircraft design

Aeronautical Design Group

The Aeronautical Design Group researches the role of computational models in the delivery of highly interactive technical systems: by developing high performance design optimisation approaches; by studying the use of robust computational design in aerospace systems; and by investigating the aerodynamic design of shock control bumps for swept transonic flows.

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Black Jaguar F-type on the open road

Automotive Design Group

The Automotive Design Group researches the role of interaction design in the delivery of increasingly sophisticated vehicles: by modelling driver behaviour to assist the design of inclusive, user-centred interfaces; by reducing the impact of vibration on the use of interactive display devices; and by investigating the challenge of changing demands on driver attention.

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An excavator is a complex interconnected system

Change Management Group

The Change Management Group researches the impact of change propagation in complex systems made up of components, activities or people: by generating a better understanding of the nature of change in complex systems; by challenging current management of change practice in product and service design; and by developing novel and useful design change management tools.

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Multiobjective optimisation is required to design a nuclear power plant

Computational Design Group

The Computational Design Group researches the potential of computational synthesis, search, optimisation and analysis tools to support design: by applying simulated annealing and genetic algorithms to difficult real-world problems; by developing multi-objective optimisation methods to support engineering design; and by investigating the analysis and design of nuclear reactor systems.

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A design team discussing project issues

Design Management Group

The Design Management Group researches the role of understanding and improving the ways in which design and new product development are managed: in creating sustainable, desirable, usable and producible new products and services; in acting as an integrator between technology and users; and in promoting the importance of design at firm and national levels.

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A designer at work

Design Practice Group

The Design Practice Group researches the relationships between designers, artefacts and users. In particular, we study the specification of artefacts by designers, the interaction between users and artefacts, and the communication between designers and users.

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A phychiatrist's hands holding the palm of her patient

Healthcare Design Group

The Healthcare Design Group researches the role of systems thinking in the UK Health Service as a means to deliver safe, effective and affordable care: by developing new models of innovation practice for healthcare practitioners and providers; by delivering a framework and tools for safety management into the UK Health Service; and by establishing a centre for quality and safety research in the UK.

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A grandmother with her grandson working on a laptop

Inclusive Design Group

The Inclusive Design Group researches the interplay between the demands products make of their users and the diverse range of capabilities of those users: by understanding the impact of user diversity in product and service interaction; by developing models of good design practice for design and retail professionals; and by embedding good design practice in the design and retail community.

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A design team brainstorming in a creative office

Intelligent Interactive Systems Group

The Intelligent Interactive Systems Group researches the role of design in the delivery of interactive systems that amplify people’s ability: by extending our current understanding of human-computer interaction; by understanding the importance of accessibility, inclusive design and augmentation; and by utilising machine learning, signal processing and human-computation to infer peoples’ actions.

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A complex design process is required for major building projects

Process Management Group

The Process Management Group researches the role and nature of process modelling in the successful delivery of new products and services: by generating a greater understanding of the nature and demands of complex system design; by challenging current planning practice and risk management in complex system design; and by developing novel and useful design process improvement tools.

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