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2023 Call for Proposals: PhD Programme Eco-Social Innovation by Design

The Lucerne School of Art and Design (HSLU) and the National Institute of Design (NID) are launching their second Call for their jointly supervised PhD Programme Eco-Social Innovation by Design.

Submission Deadline: 8 June 2023

Navigating these turbulent times of interconnected crisis call for a creative, forward-looking attitude towards the envisioned “extraordinary turnarounds” enabling sustainable development for “most of the world” within our planetary boundaries (Earth for All, 2022). Present and future transformations within a “decade of action” (UN 2030 Agenda) require new forms of collaboration, unexpected alliances and a revitalised sense of what design is and how it can contribute to addressing the current challenges.

The design disciplines’ contribution to sustainable development often aims at reducing the use of harmful materials, developing more efficient processes, improving design principles and changing personal behaviour. However, designers also contribute to sustainable development by shaping the framework conditions of innovative social practices for transformation. They do this by mediating and navigating between academic disciplines, professional methods, and cultural conventions across the four orders of design (Buchanan, 1992): symbols, products, interactions and systems. These interventions might produce goods and services, educational experiences, grassroots innovations, co-created visions for desirable futures, contributions to organisational transformation and regeneration, or new concepts for the design disciplines in research and education.

The programme is open to educators and professionals in the field of design seeking to reinvent their knowledge base and practice while pushing the boundaries of the design disciplines through the creation of new ‘grounded’ theories. It encourages research scholars to ‘learn by doing’ and to learn in a practice setting. It also prepares them for senior positions in the education, private or public sectors or for a future role in eco-social entrepreneurship. Research scholars benefit from a diversity of perspectives, the interregional exchange of academic practices and sharing of problem-solving strategies, the plurality of innovation cultures and the opportunities to study and conduct practice-based research within a transcultural environment in Switzerland and India.

Mentoring and supervision is provided by guides from NID and co-guides from HSLU faculty as part of the cooperation programme. The PhD certificate will be issued by the NID. To ensure high-quality supervision, PhD projects should explore topics that align with the work of one of the Lucerne School of Art and Design's four research groups, and with the NID’s key research areas (crafts and culture, innovation, entrepreneurship) and PhD Progamme.

For the 2023 Call, a maximum of 3 PhD candidates will be admitted. Depending on the proposal’s thematic focus, candidates admitted to the programme go on to pursue an independent, self-funded doctorate or will be integrated in a research group at the Lucerne School of Art and Design, and have their dissertation partially funded through a paid position:

Design & Management
Visual Narrative
Art, Design & Public Spheres

Important dates

8 May 2023
Publication Call & activation of online registration at NID

11 May 2023
Online info-meetup, registration & link via
12:00-13:00 CET / 15:30-16:30 IST

8 June 2023
Submission deadline for proposals

July to September 2023
Admission process

18 September 2023
Programme start

For any further questions on the Call visit our website or contact the