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SSEDR'24 - Summer School on Engineering De­sign Research 

Week 1: Sunday, 09 June - Saturday, 15 June 2024, Rabat, Malta
Week 2: Sunday, 28 July - Saturday, 03 August 2024, Fredensborg, Denmark 

Application Closing Date: Monday, 04 March, 2024
For details on how to apply and sign up, see SSEDR'24 Application and Sign-Up.

Aims of the Course

The aims of the Summer School on Engineering De­sign Research are to make PhD students who are work­­ing on topics related to Design Science bet­ter qualified and equipped for their research by (i) help­ing them develop a research ap­proach and (ii) encouraging dis­cus­sion and col­la­bo­ra­tion.

The objectives are to provide the participants with:

  • Insight into existing design theories and models to enable the selection of a suitable theo­re­ti­cal foun­da­tion;
  • An overview of design research methods to enable them to develop the most appropriate ap­proach for their own research;
  • An interactive environment in which individual re­search topics are presented to and dis­cussed with the group and lec­tur­ers;
  • The opportunity to get to know and learn from other researchers and develop long-term col­la­bo­ra­tions.

To achieve the objectives, participants are actively en­gaged in the Summer School: the em­phasis is on dis­­cus­sions and exercises directly based around the re­search pro­jects of the participants.


Course Topics

  • Introduction of participants by pre-recorded videos presenting their projects.
  • The nature of design and design research.
  • Concepts, models and schools of design and designing.
  • The nature and use of theories in design and design research.
  • Design Research Methodology (DRM) and examples of its use.
  • Task clarification phase:
    • Defining the aim, context, and phenomenon of own project;
    • How to find the research gap;
    • Formulation of research questions/hypotheses for own project;
    • Establishing reference models;
    • Identifying areas of relevance and fitting in own contribution.
  • Research types and placing own project into the research type matrix.
  • The first descriptive phase of design research:
    • Data collection & analysis, interpretation, drawing conclusions.
  • Introduction to a systematic literature review.
  • Refined reference models for own projects.
  • Relating data collection methods to research questions/hypotheses.
  • Prescriptive phase of design research:
    • How to develop knowledge, methods, models, and tools.
  • Visualising main research object(s) of own project.
  • Evaluating own research results (second descriptive phase).
  • Iterative development of the support.
  • Rela­tion­ships between creativity, research and innovation.
  • Research integrity: the trustworthiness of re­search and research ar­ticles.
  • How to write a thesis or other publications.
  • Reviewing articles.
  • Poster session and feedback on posters.
  • Your future life after the PhD.



The Summer School is suitable for PhD students who have decided on a research topic, have un­der­taken a lit­erature study, have formulated first aims and ob­ject­ives and have an initial plan of work. For a three-year PhD, this will typically be at the end of the first year of a four- or five-year PhD, at the end of the sec­ond year.

Conditions of participation:

  • The course language is English.
  • The number of participants is limited to max. 20. Therefore, you have to apply for participation.
  • Participants have to assent to attend both weeks and all sessions.

In case of over-subscription, the course organisers will select, based on the criteria stated in the pre-requisites. In addition, the number of participants in a single research group may be limited.


Course Fee

The total fee, including full-board accommodation, is 1,450 Euros. For members of the Design Society or can­di­dates of in­stitutes with a group mem­­­bership, the fee is 1,350 Euros. Note that an "As­so­ciate Membership" in the De­sign Society is only 20 £/year. You can find more info on membership at Join the Design Society.

The fee includes for both weeks: ac­com­­modation (from Sunday to Satur­day in both weeks), all meals during the stay from supper on the day of arrival (Sunday) to break­fast on the day of departure (Saturday), re­fresh­ments dur­ing the breaks, hand-outs of the presentations, back­­ground material (provided via Dropbox), and the book "DRM, a Design Research Methodol­ogy". Only the costs of tra­vel­ling and in­surance are not in­clud­ed.

The Design Society will process the payment (cre­dit card or bank transfer) – after you have re­ceived the ac­cept­ance mail. Detailed infor­ma­­tion about pay­ment and the technicalities for uploading and downloading material will be shared in due time with the ac­cep­ted stu­dents.


Participation Certificate

All participants will be registered at the Technical University of Denmark and receive an official certificate.

The course leads to 5 ECTS points. Whether or not these points are recognised depends on each participant's university and PhD program.


In 2024, we will provide scholarships to partially cover the SSEDR registration fees based on the World Bank country classification by income level:

  • Low-income countries: 100% scholarship
  • Lower Middle Income countries: 75% scholarship
  • Upper Middle Income countries: 50% scholarship

The scholarships are subject to the available funds and fulfilment of the pre-requisites to join the SSEDR. The scholarships do NOT cover transportation costs and must be covered by the participants.


Contact - Teaching Staff

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lucienne Blessing, Adjunct Professor - Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Daniela Pigosso, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Dep. of Civil and Mechanical Engineering

Prof. Dr. Gaetano Cascini, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, Department of Mechanical Engineering



Deadline for application: Monday, 04 March, 2024
If you are non-European, please check whether you need a visa for Malta and/or Denmark.

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