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Design United
TU DelftTU EindhovenUniversity of TwenteWageningen University
Design United


+31(0)6 48 27 55 61


Wednesday 14 February 2024 / 09.30 - 16.30
Design 🤍 PhD

Kick off the new year with the 4TU Design United: Design ūüĖ§ PhD, on February 14 in Utrecht!¬†

Design United aims to co-create the Dutch Design Research landscape and connect design researchers across the 4TUs. We invite all PhD and EngD researchers, their advisors, and 4TU design researchers, to meet each other and discuss the latest themes in design research.

We start the day with a Keynote by Marleen Stikker, director of Waag Futurelab, followed by Pieter Jan Stappers, Professor of Design Techniques at TU Delft who will introduce the landscape of PhD research in Design, and concluded with a panel discussion. In the afternoon we offer a variety of topics in break-out sessions ranging from theories, and methods, to application domains.

The event will be in Utrecht a few minutes walk from Utrecht Central Station, on Wednesday, February 14. Yes, that is Valentine's Day, and yes, that is Carnaval. 

Programme February 14:

09:30  Door open
10:00  Welcome
10:15  Keynote Marleen Stikker Waag Futurelab
11:00  Keynote: The PhD in Design,  by Pieter Jan Stappers, TU Delft  & panel discussion
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Break-out sessions: discussing and (re)defining important themes in Design Research.
15:00  Closing and drinks
16:30  End

Marleen Stikker is founder and executive director of Waag Futurelab in Amsterdam. Waag Futurelab reinforces critical reflection on technology, develops technological and social design skills, and encourages social innovation. Marleen leads the trans-disciplinary team of designers, artists and scientists, utilising Public Research and Key Enabling Methodologies to empower people to participate in the collective design of open, fair and inclusive futures. Marleen founded 'De Digitale Stad' (The Digital City) in 1993, the first virtual community introducing free public access to the Internet in Amsterdam. Marleen Stikker strongly adheres to the Maker's Bill of Rights motto: 'If You Can't Open It, You Don't Own It'.

Pieter Jan Stappers is professor of Design Techniques at Delft University, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. His research and teaching focus on the connections between research and design, such as techniques for user participation (codesign and contextmapping), and the role of doing design as a part of doing research (research through design). Key terms include perception, creativity, visualization, empathy, systems thinking, and prototyping.

Break-out Sessions 

  1. Behaviour Change. From sustainability to getting fit, we often try to change people's behaviour. This can be an active decision from a person, but they can also be nudged into certain behaviour. What are our responsibilities as designers?
  2. Transitions in Healthcare. Join Ph.D. researchers and supervisors to explore ongoing healthcare research projects in the Netherlands.
  3. Transitions in Food Systems. Connect Ph.D. researchers and supervisors related to the transition of food systems.
  4. Positioning Research through Design. Gain a structured understanding of the strengths, limitations, similarities, and differences in research through design.
  5. Introducing Key Enabling Methodologies (KEM). Connect with Ph.D. researchers and supervisors around the KEM agenda and foster discussion and activities toward relevant, reliable, and usable KEMs.
  6. Unpacking Transdisciplinairy Ways of Working. Get familiar with the key concepts and principles of working with people from various academic backgrounds and with non-academic stakeholders.
  7. Ethics in/for/through Design. Shed light on common ethical dilemmas in design research and explore strategies for addressing them.
  8. Pictorials and Alternative Ways of Publishing. Engage in a discussion on creating impactful pictorials, pitfalls to avoid, and explore other alternative ways of publishing.
  9. Mapping PhD Trajectories. Share tips and tricks on how to manage the Ph.D. working life. from work-life balance, to how to organize your day
  10. Towards a Research School. The trajectory towards a 4TU research school for Design.

Location Domstad (5 minutes walk from Utrecht Central Station)
Koningsbergerstraat, 3531 AJ Utrecht

Questions and further information mail to


The event is intended for all 4TU Researchers who deal with design. Please register via this page