Students in the common area of level 1 dyson building


A message from our Head of Department, Professor Robert Shorten

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College London.

Our history

Founded in 2014 with the aid of a generous donation from the James Dyson Foundation, the Dyson School of Design Engineering is not only the most recent addition to the faculty of engineering in Imperial College, but it also represents a significant departure from traditional engineering disciplines in pedagogy, in philosophy, and in the manner in which engineering design is conceptualised.

What is Design Engineering?

Engineers have traditionally focussed on the design of “better things”. Climate change, sustainability, and the need for socially just transition to net zero, have made it clear to the world, that making “better things” is not the same as “making things better”. Traditional engineering design rarely consider how the things that we make interact with humans. In fact, traditional engineering is principally focussed on replacing one form of consumption, with another notionally better form of consumption, without considering the stimulus generated by the new products that we design. It is precisely this gap that we are seeking to narrow at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, by forging a new discipline that is centred on the codesign of technologies and behaviours. This philosophy goes beyond ideas such as human centred design, and human in the loop design, with our focus being on engineering systems and managing consumption in a single framework, so that we do make things better. 

Our programmes

Our programmes represent a departure that found in other engineering disciplines. From a pedagogical perspective, our programmes build heavily on group work activities and collaborative environments, as we believe that this best prepares students for working in industry. From a philosophical perspective, our programmes are designed to not only cut across engineering disciplines, such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, and beyond, but also to embrace other important aspects of the product design process such as business and economics, human psychology, human behaviours, ethics, as well as design thinking. Finally, from a conceptual perspective, at the very core of Design Engineering, is the human. Whatever the application, the manner in which humans interact with engineered products in deeply embedded in our DNA as a discipline. 

We hope that you will take the time to get to know our school, and we look forward to perhaps working with you over the coming years to develop meaningful technologies to help solve some of societies greatest challenges, and to push back the boundaries of this brand new discipline. 

Professor Robert Shorten,
Head of Department