Design Engineering Research (MRes)
Caption: Dr. Marco Aurisicchio (Reader in Engineering Design) discussing material service system concepts with Dr. Anouk Zeeuw van der Laan (graduated PhD student)
Caption: Dr Nicolas Rojas (Senior lecturer) discussing robotic hand design with Lois Liow (graduated MEng student)
Caption: Co-design session involving diverse stakeholders
Caption: Researchers working in the Audio Experience Lab
Design Engineering operates at the intersection of design practice, engineering applications, scientific grounding and contextual application, with transdisciplinary research producing knowledge that goes beyond existing disciplines; integrating a diverse set of academic and non-academic stakeholders. Challenges that Design Engineers explore span performance, systemic, contextual and global challenges.
Learn and apply the key skills needed to create new research insights in design engineering.
Better technologies don’t always make better solutions. Design Engineering research involves the systematic investigation and exploration of the methods, processes, and tools used to design engineered products and systems. This involves not only robust engineering analysis but also a transdisciplinary approach where co-design with stakeholders plays a key role; integrating key contextual and systemic insights.
The Design Engineering department at Imperial College London, therefore, approaches this field from the perspective of the co-design of technologies and behaviours. Here, challenges span performance, systemic, contextual and global challenges towards making a more sustainable, healthy, smart and resilient society, as shown in the below diagram.
About the course
To equip you with the key skills towards becoming a world-leading design engineering researcher, the MRes in Design Engineering Research offers an exciting collection of taught modules leading towards the execution of a major research project. The Design Engineering Practice module will equip you with key design engineering tools and practices that allow you to systematically handle and embrace uncertainty. The Modelling and Simulation module will teach you how to describe complex systems mathematically, towards simulating their behaviours and then apply probabilistic principles from Game Theory towards understanding the impact of decisions and how uncertainty propagates through the system.
Foundational Transdisciplinary Research Methods and Advanced Transdisciplinary Research Methods then formally introduce you to what transdisciplinary research is, as well as a mixture of qualitative and quantitative research tools that allow you to engage a diverse set of stakeholders towards generating rich insights. Here tools start from qualitative topics such as interviews, narrative studies and ethnographic approaches, as well as quantitative tools such as frequentist descriptive/inferential statistics, experiment design and survey design. This then builds to more advanced tools such as Bayesian inference, statistical modelling and reflexivity, leading to the exploration of emerging machine learning tools such as text mining, sentiment analysis and natural language processing. In doing this, you will gain a critical understanding of the role of the researcher and the various types of tools in research.
You will have the option of deepening your subject-specific knowledge with the selection of two elective modules which span a diverse set of topic areas, including Machine Learning for Design Engineers, Design for Additive Manufacturing, Design Psychology, Design Analytics for the Sharing Economy, Designing Interventions for Behaviour Change and others.
These taught elements then culminate in the execution of a novel piece of Design Engineering research with the Research Master’s Project, which spans the entire programme, allowing sufficient time to critically understand the state-of-the-art in that field, plan and execution of a programme of research and ultimately create new insights. Projects can be generated by the supervisor or by you (with the support of an academic supervisor and approved by the module lead). During the execution of the Research Master’s Project, there will be opportunities to present your work to leading industry stakeholders from our industrial advisory board, as well as large public outreach events. On completion, it is anticipated that you will be well placed for onward study on a PhD programme or in industry research roles; spanning industries such as technology, energy, healthcare and finance.
For detailed module content, please see the course prospectus website (to be live soon).
The world is constantly evolving, with the rate change faster than ever before. Thus, the need for Design Engineering researchers, who can drive innovation and progress, has never been greater. With the transdisciplinary research skills taught in this degree, alongside core design engineering practices, modelling and simulation skills and deep subject area specialisation, graduates of the programme would be well placed for onward roles in a PhD, industrial research roles and beyond, spanning industries such as technology, energy, healthcare and finance, to name but a few.
The in-depth Master’s Research Project which underpins the degree, will enable you to be a subject area expert alongside the taught design engineering research methods which give with you the breadth to understand complex global, contextual and systemic challenges. Here, you will have opportunities to engage and showcase your work with research/industry leaders through seminars, scientific publications, networking events and more.
Diverse Academic Backgrounds: We invite applications from a wide range of Science, Technology, and Engineering fields. Whether you're a Biologist, Physicist, Computer Scientist, Materials Specialist, Mechanical Engineer, or from any other relevant discipline, you are encouraged to apply.
Mathematics Proficiency: Applicants should have a foundational understanding of basic mathematics. This is essential for success in the program.
Research Experience: Prior experience in research is highly valued. We seek candidates who have demonstrated research skills, indicative of their potential to excel in a research-focused environment.
The minimum requirement for entry is equivalent to a First-class UK Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in a Science, Technology or Engineering discipline (or a comparable qualification recognised by the College). In some circumstances, we may also accept those with a 2:1 equivalent if you have substantial (more than 2 years) professional experience or further studies in a related area. Please follow this link for further information on entry requirements.
Design Experience: Not required. We welcome applicants without a background in design.
Passion for Research: A strong interest in research, innovation, and problem-solving is crucial. We look for candidates eager to develop new ideas and solutions, with a keen interest in understanding the broader implications of the challenges they tackle.
We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive cohort, united by a shared passion for discovery and learning. If you are driven by curiosity and the desire to make impactful contributions through research, we encourage you to apply.
In addition to these requirements, candidates must also provide:
- A 2-page CV highlighting relevant skills and experiences for the degree
- Two references evidencing your research skills (e.g., academic references citing modules studied, and/or professional references citing applied examples in previous work experience).
- A written statement articulating motivation and suitability for the degree.
Finally, all candidates must demonstrate a higher requirement level of English language proficiency for admission to the College. For details, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.
Meet the team
The MRes in Design Engineering Research involves researchers working at the forefront of their discipline within a highly collaborative and multidisciplinary environment. Led by the experienced team of Dr Billy Wu and Dr Freddie Page, the course brings together the brightest minds and thought leaders in Design Engineering research. Dr Billy Wu is a Reader in Electrochemical Design Engineering as well as the Director of Research in the department with expertise in sustainable energy technologies. Dr Freddie Page is a Senior Strategic Teaching Fellow and Director of Undergraduate Studies with expertise in physics and metamaterial design.
The MRes in Design Engineering Research cohort will be enriched with the close collaboration of 3 other MSc programmes; MSc in Design Engineering, MSc in Design with Behaviour Science, and MSc in Cleantech. The combined post-graduate leadership team on these programmes consists of leading researchers, practitioners and educators in the Design Engineering space. This includes: Dr Shayan Sharifi, Dr Celine Mougenot, Dr Nejra van Zalk, Dr Leila Sheldrick, Dr Elena Dieckmann and Dr Stephen Green.