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Social & Global Research Space

How can people-centred design be used to tackle some of the world’s toughest social challenges?

Over recent years we have seen unprecedented global changes in the way we live, with humanitarian, environmental, social and technological challenges all feeling closer than ever. Traditionally, the approach to solving these challenges has been either top-down policy initiatives that have often lacked relevance to people, or small scale social innovations that are disjointed and lack scalability.

Our interests lie in understanding how people-centred design can tackle some of these social and global challenges by putting people and communities at the heart of the design process. The core aim is to improve people’s wellbeing and solve difficult social challenges.

The Social & Global Research Space is organised into four rapidly evolving research areas that have significant impact on the way we live our lives today and in the future.

New Technology
In this research area we are trying to ensure new technologies are in the best interests of the people they aim to serve. We are at the early stages of a technological revolution, and whilst new tech, big data and algorithms can be used to enhance life, there is considerable concern about privacy, power and purpose. In this work stream we look at how artificial intelligence (AI), mixed reality and new forms of connectivity can be used to benefit people. More ...

Development & Sustainability
In this work stream we look at how people-centred design can provide sustainable solutions to some of the world’s exacting challenges. The particular focus here aims to work with communities that face development challenges such as education, equality, migration and poverty. More ...

Our communities are at an unprecedented time of change, with urbanisation, decreasing wellbeing and housing crises all affecting how we live. In this work stream we explore how people-centred design can be used to empower communities to improve wellbeing. More ...

Inclusive Mobility
In this work stream we try to challenge the current perceptions of transport to improve the way people get around. With new energy technologies, autonomous vehicles and emissions targets we look to the future of mobility, looking beyond the vehicle and instead, putting people at the heart of the journey. More ...

Research Space Leader:

Dr Jak Spencer