Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the research topic, the chair ‘Human Centred Design’ includes researchers from backgrounds in industrial design engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, computer science and cognitive psychology and works closely together with researchers from disciplines as human-computer interaction, ergonomics, psychology and philosophy.

The embedment of the research group in this multi-disciplinary environment is ensured by its participation in national and international networks as the 3TU centre of excellence Design United, the UT-DesignLab, the knowledge centre AIDA (Applications of Integrated Driver Assistance) and the European network EUROVR.

Prof. Mascha van der Voort is co-director of the DesignLab that aims to provide a learning and research environment where talented staff and students from engineering, sciences and social sciences join forces to take on the wicked problems of tomorrow’s world. Through creativity and cross-disciplinary design and inspired by the state-of-art in science, socially relevant and approachable solutions are generated. Additionally, the DesignLab offers activities to train a new generation of students who can translate scientific and technological revolutions into socially relevant solutions: the scientific designer. Through this aim the DesignLab provides a valuable multidisciplinary research environment for the HCD group.

Minister Bussemaker exploring the demo of the Partcipatory Design in Healthcare project

at the opening of the DesignLab on September 1st 2014 (Photo: TC Tubantia)

To ground our research we collaborate closely with partners in industry and society. For instance in three research projects funded by the Dutch Research program IOP-IPCR, i.e. ‘Synthetic environments’, ‘Design for Usability’ and ´Resolving the paradox of user-centred design (REPAR)', industrial partners as Philips, Thales, Océ, PANalytical, DAF, Rademaker and Indes were involved. These projects furthermore include all relevant research groups of the University of Twente, Delft University of Technology and Eindhoven University of Technology, thereby realising national platforms regarding these research topics.

Within the research regarding the design of medical appliances, work processes and spaces (healthcare design), the research group collaborates closely with several healthcare providers (e.g. Medisch Spectrum Twente, Meander Medical Centre, Zorgspectrum) as well as manufactures and design agencies (HMS, Panton, in past Olympus, Storz, Stöpler, Nucletron).

Regarding ADAS design, a strong collaboration with Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen & Köln has been established, amongst others through project within the Ford University Research Program. Cooperation with TNO and the Centre for Transport Studies (UT) is realised through the knowledge centre AIDA.

The development of design tools is supported by the cooperation with T-Xchange. The high-tech virtual reality lab, a joint venture between T-Xchange and the Laboratory of Design, Production and Management, is an important asset in facilitating the development process. In addition, knowledge from research projects and case studies as well as experiences on the use of virtual reality as a design tool are mutually exchanged.

In 2013 a spin-off of the HCD group was founded, called Invocate. Invocate designs tools and interfaces for sharing knowledges, expertise and creativity amongst the wide range of stakeholders involved in change and development processes. The spin-off ensures direct valorisation of the research output within design practice.