Call for Additional Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of the Design Society – New Initiative

Deadline: 31 January 2024
Submit a proposal: Call for SIGs Form
 (please read the information below before submitting)


The Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are a core part of the work of the worldwide Design Society and their purpose is to address specific topics of interest to the members and enable visibility and impact. SIGs are on topics collectively spanning multiple areas of design proposed by a group of members and approved by the Board of Management (BM).

SIGs are international groups within the Design Society and are intended to address new and ongoing interests flexibly. They are an essential part of the Society’s activities, working in special fields of design research, practice, education, or management, and creating publications for archival and a deepened understanding of the addressed area.

As per the Design Society Handbook, the SIGs:

  • Comply with the goals of the Design Society and are committed to its objectives;
  • Deal with specific topics related to industrial, scientific and/or educational needs and efforts that fit into the Design Society’s policy and structure and should be regularly adjusted;
  • Bring together the world community of engineering designers, product developers, design scientists and educators to address topics of specific interest, and to develop Design Science;
  • are visible within the Design Science community;
  • are open to anyone with interest in the specified SIG activities; thus, SIG participants need not be members of the Design Society initially, but must join for continued involvement;
  • Observe the basic policy of non-discrimination: participation is without regard to race, religion, political philosophy, ethnic origin, citizenship, language or gender;
  • Represent a community perspective and not exclusively the opinions of single persons or small groups;
  • Ensure that meetings and other activities are announced to the membership;
  • Maintain the standard of work and contributions at the best international level;
  • Develop quality presentations and published papers in terms of content as well as visual layout.

Typically, SIGs emerge as the result of a bottom-up process. This ensures commitment, variety of topics, dynamism and inclusivity, and we are highly motivated to preserve these essential traits of our Special Interest Groups. However, although we have many active SIGs (17 at the end of 2023), we have several gaps on topics and areas of potential interest for the DS community. Furthermore, SIGs are usually topic-driven, and the opportunity to establish a SIG around a shared purpose or application domain is underexploited. We believe there is room for further representation, e.g. from industry and also room for representation of further topics.

For this reason, we are launching a call for exploring the DS members interest in establishing new SIGs dedicated to:

  • Artificial Intelligence & Design;
  • Design & Ethics;
  • Design Research Quality;
  • Design in Transportation and Mobility;

Please read the initial descriptions below "Areas for new initiatives"; other topics/domains may follow in the second half of 2024.

What we offer:

  • Support in establishing contact between all members with an interest in any of the above areas;
  • Information on relevant past activities and materials of the DS that might help define the scope of the new initiative and target communication;
  • Visibility at the Design Conference 2024 (or in following DS events) for a presentation of the new initiative aims and objectives;
  • (Upon recognising the interest of a sufficient number of DS members) The set-up of a new SIG, with a full range of supporting resources (e.g. sub-site on the DS web website; administrative support; financial support according to the DS rules; opportunity to organise workshops at ICED and Design Conferences; opportunity of publication of proceedings and reports etc.).

What we ask:

  • We are looking for members, either already involved in other SIGs or just interested in the above areas, who are willing to contribute to building new initiatives and possibly establish a new SIG. It doesn’t matter the seniority level or the number of years as DS members, as long as the candidates are motivated to bring their expertise and energy into the Society’s life.
  • Upon confirmation of the set-up of the new SIGs, the proponents will be requested to be part of the new SIGs steering committees; these eventually will appoint the new SIG leaders for the next term.

As a reminder from the DS Handbook, SIG leaders’ responsibilities include:

  • reporting to the Board of Management on an annual basis;
  • attending the annual RIGI SIG meeting;
  • organising the SIG activities;
  • administrating SIG-specific email lists and moderating SIG-specific discussion forum(s), or appointing somebody as an administrator/moderator;
  • promoting and maintaining a professional standard.


Process and timeline:

  • By 7 February 2024: Individuals or groups of interest also actively involved in existing SIGs are invited to fill in this FORM describing their area of interest (among those mentioned above), the specific scope of their interest, their objectives, and a preliminary plan of initiatives they would like to suggest/promote. All proponents will be requested to integrate missing information, if necessary, to prepare the interaction between all those who manifested interest in the same area.
  • March 2024: As far as possible, all the received proposals will be combined into integrated initiative descriptions with the active involvement of all respondents.
  • April 2024: Announcement of the new initiatives for a preliminary meeting at Design Conference 2024.
  • May 2024: Presentation meetings at Design Conference 2024.
  • Summer 2024: Set-up of the new SIG(s).


Areas for new initiatives

The following descriptions are meant to provide just an initial prompt for identifying new areas of shared interest for the DS community. Interested members are warmly invited to propose their interpretation of the suggested areas and elaborate on the scope and objectives of the new initiative accordingly.

  • Artificial Intelligence & Design:
    • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in a new hype in almost every domain. The contact points between AI and Design Science are numerous and also extremely different from each other.
    • What can AI do to support design activity? What can Design Science do to support the development of AI and its applications? What design processes could be enhanced by AI? Will AI change the role of design practitioners? Will AI affect design research processes?
    • We would like to collect manifestations of interest by DS members in any of these and beyond.


  • Design & Ethics:
    • The transformations that are characterising the global Society, with unprecedented changes in the environmental, technological, and societal context, have raised attention to ethical issues at all levels. What are the implications for design researchers, educators and practitioners?
    • Design researchers have been studying inclusivity, diversity, sustainability, fairness, social impacts, etc, for decades. Are there further dimensions of ethics still not addressed in design research? What are the implications for design education and practice? What design science can do to support the introduction of ethical considerations in all human disciplines?
    • We would like to collect manifestations of interest by DS members in any of these and beyond.


  • Design Research Quality:
    • The quality of Design-related publications has significantly improved in the last decades, as witnessed also by the evolution of the papers of the DS Proceedings. The Design Science Journal is pushing for the recognition of Design Science as an independent scientific category. Several initiatives endorsed by the DS (summer schools, workshops, etc) and by DS members (see, for instance, the Design Research Notes) aim to enhance the quality of our research practice.
    • We would like to collect manifestations of interest by DS members for the creation of a standing SIG where to develop, discuss, and share practices aimed at strengthening Design Research Quality. 


  • Design in Transportation and Mobility:
    • Many publications in the Design Society archive deal with methods, tools, technologies and case studies in the automotive or aerospace fields. More recently, the focus has also risen to the system level, hence including transportation and mobility systems as a whole. All our SIGs address topics with potentially high impact in this application field, each with their own specific perspective. We are looking for a coordinated effort to bring such a multi-dimensional know-how to emerge and demonstrate its potential in this application domain. We are confident that an initiative, and possibly a SIG, in this domain might attract the interest of industrial practitioners too.
    • What can design science do for vehicle design, infrastructure design, the UX of mobility users, the development of emerging technologies enabling new forms of mobility, enhancing safety and security, reducing the environmental impact of mobility and transportation, etc?
    • We would like to collect manifestations of interest by DS members in any of these and beyond.




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