Professor Dale Harrow


  • Professor Dale Harrow
  • Area

    School of Design


    Acting Head of Programme

  • Professor Dale Harrow is Acting Head of the Vehicle Design programme, a global centre of excellence in automotive design education. With a near 100 per cent record in student transition to professional practice, Vehicle Design was shortlisted for the Queen’s Award for Excellence in Education. Harrow is an international opinion former, commentator and media persona on design and the automotive car industry. He is an award-winning designer, academic leader and researcher. Always keen to raise the intellectual debate about vehicle design, Harrow has lectured internationally on the subject.

  • Biography

  • Dale Harrow is keen to explore the changing city, technology, the new consumer and new commercial opportunities to develop innovative design solutions within an established design culture. He has been the principal investigator on a major research programme to develop ‘Healthcare on the Move’ with the ‘Smart Pod’ – an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council project in collaboration with the Royal College of Art, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and four other leading institutions and industrial partners. The project has developed into the redesign of the current NHS emergency ambulance for the twenty-first century, which has been shortlisted for a Victor J. Papanek Social Design Award and nominated for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year 2012 exhibition and awards.

    Dale Harrow has collaborated with many automotive and design companies including Seymour Powell, Pentagram, Yamaha, Honda, Sony and Tefal; lectured worldwide on the subject; and frequently acts as a judge at international events and competitions. In 1988 he designed the Norton paramilitary motorcycle for police use, which led to a national standardisation of specifications. This was followed in 1989 by the Norton Sportbike which won Design Week magazine’s 'Best Product Design' and 'Best Design of the Year' awards. His redesign of the London taxi cab with Pentragram significantly improved access for disabled and visually impaired users, and was awarded Millennium Product status by the Design Council. He has led workshops at the Design Museum and has also acted as a judge at international events, competitions and validation panels. He is frequently interviewed by the media and regularly acts as an opinion former and commentator, recently co-presenting a 10-part television series for the Discovery Channel. BBC Top Gear identified Harrow at the eighth most important person in the automotive industry in December 2003; Autocar magazine recognised him as number 33 of the ‘Top 100 Most Influential Brits’ (May 2004), among a handful of designers; and in 2010 Car Magazine acknowledged him as being among the most 30 senior people in the international motor industry. Harrow has also worked with the British Council to promote investment in UK design in Japan, China and Korea.

    Dale Harrow has acted as external examiner to a number of industrial design and vehicle design degree courses including those at University of Sheffield, University of Huddersfield, University of Northampton and Central Saint Martins.

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  • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

  • Thompson, R. and Harrow, D. (April 2009) ‘Healthcare on the Move: A Patient Safety Vehicle Design Research Project’, in: Include 2009 Conference Proceedings; paper presented at conference

    Harrow, D. and Coleman, R. (July 2008) ‘Design for patient safety: Future ambulances’, in: S.M. Hignett et al (eds), IPS2008 Improving Patient Safety 2008 'From Safe Design to Safe Practice', Cambridge; paper presented at conference

    Harrow, D., Coleman, R., Matthews, E. and Thompson R. (July 2008) '“Smart Pods”: New vehicles to take healthcare to the community’, in: S.M. Hignett et al (eds), IPS2008 Improving Patient Safety 2008 'From Safe Design to Safe Practice', Cambridge; paper presented at conference

    Jones, A., Hignett, S., Benger, J., Harrow, D., Coleman, R., Matthews, E., Caldwell, N. and Petersen, A. (2008) ‘Identifying the design challenges’, Ambulance Today

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  • Research students

  • Helen Evenden, Sheila Clark, Max Fickel, Friedemann Schaber, Lino Vital

Selected work


Current and recent research

Redesigning the Ambulance: Improving Mobile Emergency Healthcare

This project built on the Smart Pods research study completed in 2009, which proposed a new system of mobile healthcare to treat patients in the community and hospitals. Building on six years of research, this design is set to improve the experience for patients and to create a better treatment space for staff. In order to accommodate the demands of twenty-first-century healthcare, the ambulance interior includes a reconfigured layout with 360° access to the patient, thus improving clinical efficiency. This project has been selected as one of the nominations for the Design Museum Designs of the Year 2012 exhibition and awards.

Smart Pods

A two-year research project bringing together designers at the Royal College of Art and academics from Loughborough University and the Universities of the West of England, Bath and Plymouth, Smart Pods examined the delivery of urgent healthcare. Selected as one of the top research projects by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Smart Pods concept included a suite of proposals for radical new features and design innovations facilitating the delivery of mobile healthcare. Scale models of potential Smart Pods designs – as envisaged by Vehicle Design Master’s students – were exhibited in the exhibition Healthcare on the Move.


Research students