The designer's approach towards project-based research in co-operation with industry

Prof. Chris Baelus, Higher Institute for Integrated Product Development
(Department of Design Sciences), Antwerp, Belgium
Prof. Guido De Grande, Higher Institute for Integrated Product Development
(Department of Design Sciences), Antwerp, Belgium

Learning in Belgium
The Flanders education system currently ranks as one of the top five in the world and offers two kinds of academic institute: universities and higher colleges of academic level. By the end of this year, after a radicalisation of the current education system, the Higher Institute for Integrated Product Development (HIPD) will offer a three-year Bachelors degree and two-year Masters Qualification in Product Development.
Students graduating with a Bachelors degree will be skilled in industrial product design, as well as 3D drawing and rendering. They will not, however, have much knowledge of the integrated product development process, nor innovation management. On the whole, they will be encouraged towards seeking employment as industrial designers.
The Masters degree will focus on four topics:

  • Design of mechanical products
  • Design of smart products
  • New-product management
  • Integrated-product development
and specialized modules in the four major disciplines:
  1. Applied sciences
  2. Economical sciences
  3. Human sciences
  4. Design sciences
In final-year projects, students can focus on either a purely theoretical project or on one design, with an emphasis on integral product development — especially viability techniques.

The D-Sciencelab
The D-Sciencelab in Antwerp is part of the HIPD, and has been involved in project-based research since 1997. In that time, we have explored fundamental research issues — from technological to economical and user-related topics — that will have an important impact on tomorrow’s products and the nature of their design.
Our aim is to produce user-focused, rather than technology-centered products and our interdisciplinary research team consists of members from varying backgrounds, such as medical, psychological, applied, economical and design sciences. Our hope is to redefine the synergy between those different backgrounds.


Other aims includde
  • Exploring integration of different disciplines
  • Incorporating educational benefit
  • (A project-related website and CD-ROM accompany every project)
  • Researching topics in a divergent way
  • Carrying out research in a systematic rather than design-led manner
Focusing on product development is a priority, and we encourage students to look closely at usability, interaction, and internal structure, at the very start of their education. Another reason for this emphasis is to avoid changing details at the end of the product development process, as this can prove a very costly business.
Studies here are, in the main, centred on applied technology, supplemented by studies in human sciences (psychology, sociology), and economics and marketing. We also teach design methods via projects that enable students to work on one design solution for a few months at a time, and collaborate on various projects with industry bodies.

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Design Management
VIZO Workshop

“Design makes the Difference”
Brussels, Belgium - 29/30 November 2002

  • Prof. Chris Baelus, Higher Institute for Integrated Product Development, Antwerp, Belgium
    Prof. Guido De Grande, Higher Institute for Integrated Product Development, Antwerp, Belgium

    The designer's approach towards project-based research in co-operation with industry 
  • pages
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    images
    D-science lab slide from powerpoint
 
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