Collaboration between Designers and Scientists in the Context of Scientific Research

Carlos Peralta

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


    This thesis presents the results of a research project that examines collaboration between product designers and scientific researchers.
    For this purpose, it initially illustrates the objectives and scope of the research and examines current relevant literature on the subject, highlighting its reach and limitations. The core research question is then introduced: How can product designers and scientists collaborate and, as a result, how might designers contribute towards scientific research activity? This question is subsequently answered in several stages.
    First, the relevant literature is reviewed in order to produce an analytical framework. It examines the disciplinary characteristics of designers and scientists, the characteristics of both design work and scientific research, and the nature of interdisciplinary collaboration. This analytical framework is then used as the basis for a collaboration matrix to record and examine the collaboration between designers and scientists. Secondly, the analytical framework is also employed to help explore findings from five case studies (three exploratory and two development cases) in which designers worked alongside scientists. Finally, results from the case studies are compared with current theoretical work on the subject, highlighting differences and commonalities.
    As a result of this analysis, the thesis answers the research question posed and presents as a main contribution:
    -The main ways in which designers collaborate with scientists.
    -The roles that designers might have while collaborating with scientists.
    -The contribution that designers can offer to scientific research.
    -The barriers to and enablers of collaboration between designers and scientists.
    -The areas of scientific research in which design intervention can make an impact.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Cambridge
    • Moultrie, James, Supervisor, External person
    Thesis sponsors
    Award date20 Jul 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2013


    • design
    • science
    • interdisciplinary collaboration
    • scientific research
    • interdisciplinarity


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