design engineering students

Key facts

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

1st in the UK (Engineering) – based on the proportion of world-leading research

Design engineering represents the fusion of design thinking, engineering thinking and practice within an enterprise culture.

The new Dyson School of Design Engineering combines fantastic facilities with the creation of a new design community that draws together existing design engineering research and teaching activities from across Imperial.

The School collaborates with and receives sponsorship from major organisations including Laing O’Rourke, Rolls-Royce, NASA, CERN, the NHS and the James Dyson Foundation, whose generous £12 million donation helped found the School.

Both of our Master's degrees are delivered with the neighbouring Royal College of Art, which has its own specialist facilities and a vibrant community of artists with talents ranging from fine art to fashion, design to goldsmithing.

To ensure that our taught courses are stimulating and relevant, we constantly update our teaching to take in new research results and developments.

Our design engineering research activities have led to the creation of patents and spin out companies through Imperial's technology transfer company, Imperial Innovations.

Study opportunities

The School offers a number of study options to help you take your knowledge to the next level.

If you are interested in Doctoral study, it’s important to gain support for your application from your potential supervisor before making a formal application to the College.

Tabbed information block

Master's courses

MA/MSc courses

Research programme

PhD Design Engineering research

(2–4 years full-time; 4–6 years part-time)

Imperial is at the vanguard of technology research. Design thinking acts as a pull for new technologies enabling the conceptual engineering of new possibilities. Engineering design research will exploit the latest developments in neuroscience, advanced technologies and design process.

The design engineers at Imperial have interests ranging from micro and macro complex system development to consumers, experience, artefact, platform and product design.

Current research areas include the development of design theory and methodology focusing on aspects as varied as creativity and ideation, biologically inspired design, functional modelling, function to form, sustainability in design, the 'fuzzy' front end of design, design computing, human behaviour in design, ICT in design, and risk and uncertainty in design.

Whilst the School is still growing and recruiting new researchers, much of the design engineering research at Imperial is currently managed within the Design Engineering Group within the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Autonomous systems and advanced manufacturing

Human robot interaction, new materials for robots, autonomous systems for unstructured and social environments, emotion-aware robots, human-robot physical synergy, soft robots; sustainable design and manufacturing, sustainable systems, energy-efficient industrial systems, design for additive manufacturing.

User experience and interaction

User-centred design, human factors, emotion-driven design, inclusive design, product styling, semiotics, affordances, design aesthetics, design for subjective well-being, human-computer interaction, interaction design.

Computational modelling and design

Design search and optimisation, advance modelling and simulation, computational creativity, design computing, biologically-inspired design, product-service systems, system engineering, design knowledge capture, structure and reuse.

Enterprise, innovation and neuro-creativity

Creativity and innovation, co-creation, cognitive neuroscience, consumer psychology, consumer neuroscience, neuro-marketing, neuro-imaging and neuro-physiology methods.