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Engineering Design Centre


Professor of Engineering Design (University of Cambridge) and Professor of Healthcare Systems (TU Delft)

Director of the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre and Co-Director of Cambridge Public Health

Research groups: Health Systems DesignInclusive Design, Change Management, Process Management, Transport Design and International Health Systems
Telephone: +44 1223 748245
Email: pjc10@




John Clarkson returned to the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge in 1995 following a seven-year spell with PA Consulting Group's Technology Division. He was appointed director of the Engineering Design Centre in 1997 and a Full Professor in 2004. He has been directly involved in the teaching of design at all levels of the undergraduate course.

At PA John was Manager of the Advanced Process Group where he gained wide experience of product development with a particular focus on the design of medical equipment and high-integrity systems, where clients required a risk-based systems approach to design to ensure timely delivery of safe systems.

His research interests are in the general area of engineering design, particularly the development of design methodologies to address specific design issues, for example, healthcare design, inclusive design, process management, change management and automotive design. As well as publishing over 800 papers, he has written and edited a number of books on medical equipment design, inclusive design and process management.

John is leading a team with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Academy of Medical Sciences to develop Engineering Better Care, a systems approach to health and care redesign and improvement, and an accompanying toolkit for Improving Improvement. He also holds the position of Professor of Healthcare Systems in the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft.



  • Bachelor of Arts (Electrical Sciences), University of Cambridge, 1984
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Electrical Machines), University of Cambridge, 1988
  • Registered Chartered Engineer, 1990
  • Professor of Engineering Design, University of Cambridge, 2004
  • Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2004
  • Fellow of the Institution of Engineering Designers, 2011
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce, 2012
  • Doctor Honoris Causa (Engineering Design), KU Leuven, 2012
  • Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, 2012
  • Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, 2013
  • Doctor of Science (Engineering Design), University of Cambridge, 2017
  • Sir Misha Black Medal, Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, 2018
  • Professor of Healthcare Systems, Delft University of Technology, 2020
  • Fellow of the Design Society, 2021
  • Doctor of Engineering honoris causa, Brunel University London, 2023
  • President's Medal, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2023
  • Commander of the British Empire for services to engineering and design, 2024








Selected Publications

All Publications

ORCID: 0000-0001-8018-7706

Scopus: 7103180311

ResearchGate: P-Clarkson



WYNN, D.C., CLARKSON, P.J. (2024) The Design and Development Process: Perspectives, Approaches and Models. Available from SpringerThis book explores a process perspective on design and development, grounded in research in design studies, engineering design and systems design.

CLARKSON, P.J., BOGLE, D., DEAN, J., TOOLEY, M., TREWBY, J., VAUGHAN, L., ADAMS, E., DUDGEON, P., PLATT, N., SHELTON, P. (2017) Engineering Better Care: A Systems Approach to Health and Care Design and Continuous Improvement. Available from RAEngThis book explores how a systems approach could be applied to health and social care design and improvement.

CLARKSON, P.J. (2015) Cambridge Engineering Design Centre. Available from CEDCThis book commemorates the first 25 years of the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre, its people, priorities and projects.

COLEMAN, R., CLARKSON, P.J., DONG, H., CASSIM, J. eds. (2007) Design for Inclusivity: A Practical Guide to Accessible, Innovative and User-Centred Design. Available from Taylor & FrancisThis book offers tools, techniques, guidelines and  signposts to key resources for inclusive design.

ECKERT, C.M., CLARKSON, P.J. eds. (2005) Design Process Improvement: A Review of Current Practice. Available from SpringerThis book is intended to be used as a reference resource to provide an introduction to key process issues facing design practitioners.

KEATES, S., CLARKSON, P.J. (2004) Countering Design Exclusion: An Introduction to Inclusive Design. Available from SpringerThis book introduces the mind-set necessary to think through the challenges raised by inclusive design and to find solutions to real needs.

CLARKSON, P.J., KEATES, S., COLEMAN, R., LEBBON, C. eds. (2003) Inclusive Design: Design for the Whole Population. Available from SpringerThis book presents a comprehensive review of practice in  inclusive design with emphasis on wider implementation in the future.


Healthcare Design

AKINLUYI, E.E., GREENOUGH, A., ISON, K., CLARKSON, P.J. (2003) Applying a participatory systems and value approach in a transdisciplinary exercise: on assessing the impact of training and education initiatives, Health Systems, 12(4), 446-460. Available from Taylor & Francis. A description of the application of a systems and value approach to the improvement of education and training in a multi-faced organisation.

KOMASHIE, A., RAE, S., CLARKSON, P.J. (2023) Towards a better understanding of mental health care delivery systems: From stories to system components, Health Systems, 12(4), 362-374. Available from Taylor & Francis. A description of the use of the interactive and participatory method of storytelling to identify the key components of a mental health delivery system.

KOMASHIE, A., WARD, J.R., BASHFORD, T., DICKERSON, T., KAYA, G.K., LIU, Y., KUHN, I., GÜNAY, A., KOHLER, K., BODDY, N., O’KELLY, E., MASTERS, J., DEAN, J., MEADS, C., CLARKSON, P.J. (2021) Systems approach to health service design, delivery and improvement: a systematic review and meta-analysis, BMJ Open, 11(1), 1-13. Available from BMJ. A systematic review of the application of a systems approach to health service design, delivery and improvement.

O'KELLY, E., PIROG, S., WARD, J., CLARKSON, P.J. (2020) Ability of Fabric Facemasks Materials to Filter Ultrafine Particles at Coughing Velocity, BMJ Open 10(9), 1-7. Available from BMJ. Face masks made from layered common fabric can help filter ultrafine particles and provide some protection for the wearer when commercial face masks are unavailable.

AKINLUYI, E.E., ISON, K., CLARKSON, P.J. (2019) Mapping outcomes in quality improvement and system design activities: the outcome identification loop and system impact model, BMJ Open Quality, 8, 1-9. Available from BMJ. A description of the Outcome Identification Loop, where existing knowledge is captured in System Impact Models and mobilised towards QI endeavours.

CLARKSON, P.J. (2018) What has engineering design to say about healthcare improvement, Design Science, 4(17), 1-35. Available from Design Science. A description of a systems approach, expressed as a series of ordered questions, to explore poeple, systems, design and risk perspecrtives on a system.

CARD, A.J., WARD, J. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2014) Generating Options for Active Risk Control (GO-ARC): Introducing a Novel Technique, Journal for Healthcare Quality, 36(5), 32-41. Available from Wiley. A description of a before and after pilot study of the Generating Options for Active Risk Control technique, a tool to assist the generation of the risk control options.

HORBERRY, T., TENG, Y-C., WARD, J., PATIL, V. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2014) Guidewire retention following central venous catheterisation: A human factors and safe design investigation, International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, 26(1), 23-37. Available from IOS Press. An investigation and analysis of the incidence of retained guidewires and the proposal of effective and practical solutions to reduce future risk.

BENIUK, K., BOYLE, A.A. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2012) Emergency department crowding: prioritising quantified crowding measures using a Delphi study, Emergency Medicine Journal, 29(11), 868-871. Available from BMJ. The identification of eight quantified crowding measures, using a Delphi study, which present a comprehensive view of how crowding is affecting ED operations and highlighted areas of concern.

WARD, J.R., BUCKLE, P. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2010) Designing packaging to support the safe use of medicines at home, Applied Ergonomics, 41(5), 682-694. Available from Elsevier. The results of a project for the National Patient Safety Agency to evaluate the value of improved design of medication packaging.

CLARKSON, P.J., BUCKLE, P., COLEMAN, R., STUBBS, D., WARD, J., JARRETT, J., LANE, R. and BOUND, J. (2004) Design for patient safety: a review of the effectiveness of design in the UK health service, Journal of Engineering Design, 15(2), 123-140. Available from Taylor & Francis. The results of a project for the UK Department of Health and the Design Council to evaluate the value of design in improving patient safety.


Inclusive Design

GOODMAN-DEANE, J., KLUGE, J., ROCA BOSCH, E., NESTEROVA, N., BRADLEY, M., WALLER, S., HOEKE, L., CLARKSON, P.J. (2021) Towards inclusive digital mobility services: A population perspective. Interacting with Computers, 33(4), 426-441. Available from OUP. A population-representative survey examining users' technology access, use, attitudes and capabilities with regard to digital mobility services.

KRYPCHUK, L., LANGDON, P.M., SAWYER, B.D., CLARKSON, P.J. (2020) Unconstrained design: improving multitasking with in-vehicle information systems through enhanced situation awareness, Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 21(2), 183-219. Available from Taylor & Francis. Two SA-grounded human-machine interface concepts are proposed, designed to support drivers to multitask in-vehicle when frequent task switching is required.

CLARKSON, P.J. and COLEMAN, R. (2015) History of inclusive design in the UK, Applied Ergonomics, 46(B), 235-247. Available from Elsevier. A description of the development of Inclusive Design in the UK, from its early beginnings, through academic research, to its emergence as a toolkit for design.

CLARKSON, P.J., WALLER, S.D. and CARDOSO, C. (2015) Approaches to estimating user exclusion, Applied Ergonomics, 46(B), 304-310. Available from Elsevier. A description of methods developed to estimate levels of user exclusion and reasons for such exclusion when using products.

HURTIENNE, J., HORN, A-M., LANGDON, P.M. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2013) Facets of prior experience and the effectiveness of inclusive design, Universal Access in the Information Society, 12(3), 297-308. Available from Springer. A study that argues that experience has components, exposure and competence, that are directly relevant for design and that they can predict, to different degrees, the usability of a product.

WALLER, S.D., LANGDON, P.M. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2010) Using disability data to estimate design exclusion, Universal Access in the Information Society, 9(3), 195-207. Available from Springer. The ONS disability data source is explained in detail, and a method is presented that uses this data to estimate the exclusion associated with several tasks that occur in series or in parallel.

LANGDON, P., LEWIS, T. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2007) The effects of prior experience on the use of consumer products, Universal Access in the Information Society, 6(2), 179-191. Available from Springer. Addresses the issue of what features of products make them easy to use and whether and in what way individual prior experience affect the learning and use of a product design.

PERSAD, U., LANGDON, P.M. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2007) Characterising user capabilities to support inclusive design evaluation, Universal Access in the Information Society, 6(2), 119-135. Available from Springer. Addresses designers' needs for user data by setting out the sensory, cognitive and motor dimensions of user capability that are important for product interaction.


Process Management

WYNN, D.C., CLARKSON, P.J. (2021) Improving the engineering design process by simulating iteration impact with ASM2.0, Research in Engineering Design, 31(4), 1-30. Available from SpringerThe description of a modelling approach that captures and simulates the behaviour of complex, iterative design processes.

HASSANNEZHAD, M., CANTAMESSA, M., MONTAGNA, F., CLARKSON, P.J. (2019) Managing socio-technical complexity in engineering design projects, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, 141(8), 1-17. Available from ASMEThe description of a new process modeling method that looks at the early stages of the product development processes from the perspective of integrated sociotechnical systems.

WYNN, D.C. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2018) Process models in design and development, Research in Engineering Design, 29(2), 161-202. Available from Springer. An organising framework for design and development process models that clarifies the topology of the literature and relates the main perspectives that have been developed.

WYNN, D.C., CALDWELL, N.M.H. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2014) Predicting change propagation in complex design workflows, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, 136(8), 1-13. Available from ASME. A simulation model to manage change propagation through design workflows, predicting the resource requirements and schedule risk of a change process.

MAIER, J.F., WYNN, D.C., BIEDERMANN, W., LINDEMANN, U. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2014) Simulating progressive iteration, rework and change propagation to prioritise design tasks, Research in Engineering Design, 25(4), 283-307. Available from Springer. A model that explores the combined effects of progressive iteration, rework and change propagation during design of interconnected parts within a product architecture.

CHALUPNIK, M.J., WYNN, D.C. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2013) Comparison of ilities for protection against uncertainty in system design, Journal of Engineering Design, 24(12), 814-829. Available from Taylor & Francis. A framework to compare the concepts of reliability, robustness, adaptability, versatility, resilience and flexibility as applied to systems design.

WYNN, D.C., GREBICI, K. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2011) Modelling the evolution of uncertainty levels during design, International Journal on Interactive Design and Manufacturing, 5(3), 187-202. Available from Springer. An analysis of the influences of evolving uncertainty levels on the design process with a focus on uncertainties associated with choosing the values of design parameters.

CLARKSON, P.J. and HAMILTON, J.R. (2000) Signposting: a parameter-driven task-based model of the design process, Research in Engineering Design, 12(1), 18-38. Available from Springer. A model of design is proposed, founded on the assumption that a design process can be constructed from a predefined set of tasks in which the confidence in key design parameters is used as a basis for identifying, or signposting, the next task.


Change Management

SHAPIRO, D., CURREN, M.D., CLARKSON, P.J. (2016) DPCM: A method for modelling and analysing design process changes based on the Applied Signposting Model. Journal of Engineering Design, 27(11), 785-816. Available from Taylor & Francis. The development of a framework for modelling and analysing ine impact of changes in the design processes.

HAMRAZ, B., CALDWELL, N.M.H., RIDGMAN, T.W. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2015) FBS Linkage ontology and technique to support engineering change management, Research in Engineering Design, 26(1), 3-35. Available from Springer. The development of an ontology for function, behaviour and structure (FBS) linkages and its application to the case of a diesel engine.

KOH, E.C.Y., CALDWELL, N.M.H. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2013) A technique to assess the changeability of complex engineering systems, Journal of Engineering Design, 24(7), 477-498. Available from Taylor & Francis. The development of a matrix-based approach to generate change indices for individual components of a system in order to systematically review the changeability of the systems.

HAMRAZ, B., CALDWELL, N.M.H. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2013) A Multidomain Engineering Change Propagation Model to Support Uncertainty Reduction and Risk Management in Design, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, 134(10). Available from ASME. Proposal for a multidomain model which combines concepts of both the function-behavior-structure (FBS) model with the change prediction method (CPM).

CLARKSON, P.J., SIMONS, C.S. and ECKERT, C.M. (2004) Predicting change propagation in complex design, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, 126(5), 788-797. Available from ASME. A quantitative investigation of change propagation in helicopter design leading to a proposed method for predicting change paths in complex systems.

ECKERT, C.M., CLARKSON, P.J. and ZANKER, W. (2004) Change and customisation in complex engineering domains, Research in Engineering Design, 15(1), 1-21. Available from Springer. A qualitative investigation of change propagation in helicopter design leading to a proposed framework for describing patterns of change in complex systems.


Other Interests

MAIER, J.F., ECKERT, C.M. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2017) Model granularity in engineering design - concepts and frameworks, Design Science, 3(1), 1-29. Available from CUP. Introduction to model theory, including terminology from a range of fields, leading to a classification framework for granularity in engineering design.

WYATT, D.F., WYNN, D.C. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2013) A scheme for numerical representation of graph structures in engineering design, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, 136(1). Available from ASME. Discussion of an approach to improve access to design spaces of graph structures, by converting graph structures into numerical values and vice versa.

CRILLY, N., MOULTRIE, J. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2009) Shaping things: intended consumer response and the other determinants of product form, Design Studies, 30(3), 224-254. Available from Elsevier. Presentation of a framework that represents designers as holding distinct intentions for how product visual form should be interpreted by consumers.

JARRETT, J.P., DAWES, W.N. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2007) An approach to integrated multi-disciplinary turbomachinery design, ASME Journal of Turbomachinery, 129(3), 488-494. Available from ASME. Design process execution is improved through the combination of an open data architecture and the dynamic 'Signposting' design process management system.

MAIER, A.M., ECKERT, C.M. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2006) Identifying requirements for communication support: A maturity grid-inspired approach, Expert Systems with Applications, 31(4), 663-672. Available from ElsevierThe description of a maturity grid-inspired approach to audit communication practices in design, the social and cognitive processes by which information is selected, messages are exchanged between interacting partners, and meaning is created.

MOULTRIE, J., CLARKSON, P.J. and PROBERT, D. (2006) Development of a design audit tool, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 220(B7), 1157-1174. Available from Wiley. Description of a design audit tool that captures good design principles in a form accessible to industry. The tool is based on process maturity principles and explicitly targets the design related activities in small firms.

CRILLY, N., MOULTRIE, J. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2004) Seeing things: consumer response to the visual domain in product design, Design Studies, 25(6), 547-577. Available from Elsevier. Discussion of consumer response to product visual form within the context of an integrated conceptual framework, with a particular emphasis on the aesthetic, semantic and symbolic aspects of a cognitive response to design.