The next PhD By Design event will take place on Monday the 24th June 2018 and is part of the Design Research Society (DRS) 2018 conference at the University of Limerick, Ireland which runs on the 25th - 26th June 2018.

In connection to the DRS2018 conference, this one day event will explore how design can be a catalyst for change and how practice-based research can shape the relationship between different social, economic and political actors.

Throughout the week of the DRS conference, PhD By Design will host a ‘Hub’ space in the heart of the DRS conference which will facilitate workshop and other activities open for any DRS delegates to attend.


The event is an opportunity for early career researchers to present work and discuss the diverse aspects of what it means to do a practice-based PhD in Design. Participants will share their own doctoral research through short presentations, workshops and activities which will contribute to our understanding of how design is a catalyst for change. The aim is to explore how this evolving research contributes to wider discussions in the field of design and other research communities.

Some questions we seek to explore are:

  • How do current PhDs in Design, frame and address the societal problems that face us?
  • In what ways are practice-based PhDs influencing ideas about Design and working as a designer?
  • How does current practice-based design research contribute to re-shaping our lives in more responsible, meaningful, and open ways?


What will happen?

The day will include ten discussion sessions where every participant will present their work, a series of peer-to-peer workshops and the collective production of the fifth PhD By Design Instant Journal bringing together the learnings of the day. The one day event will kick-start start conversations which will continue into the DRS conference in the days following, through a programme of activities, workshops and the fifth issue of the Instant Journal.


How to get involved

All participants are asked to submit one question around designs role as a catalyst for change

they could address through their PhD. These questions will be used to form discussions sessions where each participant will present current or unfinished PhD research in 5 minutes to a group of fellow researchers to share learnings, provide feedback and search for answers together.

There will be a series of workshops both within the PhD By Design event on Monday the 24th June and throughout the week of the conference from the PhD By Design Hub space. If you would like to run a 90 minute workshop, please send us a proposal when you complete the application form. The workshop can be ran individually or collaboratively but you must provide all materials. Issues that emerged during the last conference that could be potential workshop topics are: material design tools; what constitutes good supervision (both from the side of the PhD candidate and the supervisor); what would an inclusive and sustainable working environment for design researchers look like.

We are using a peer-review submission process to ensure that each discussion session is focussed on common interests. When completing the submission form, please consider how your work speaks to the conference theme and convey this in your bio, research statement and the question you submit.


Information for submission

  • A research bio (70 words)
  • A short description of your research (max 200 words)
  • One image of your work (at least 2 to 4 MB)
  • One question around designs role as a catalyst for change
  • Three key words
  • Workshop proposal (optional) (200 words)


Submission Deadlines

  • Open for PhD By Design applications: 5th September 2017.
  • Closing date for applications to PhD By Design: 15th February 2018.
  • Notice of acceptance to PhD By Design: 20th March 2018.
  • Notice of workshop acceptance: 20th March 2018.
  • If accepted to PhD By Design, participants need to confirm DRS conference payment within 4 weeks.


Registration fee

To attend this PhD By Design event, you must register for the DRS conference. Information about conference fees, including the student and early bird rate, can be found on the DRS website.

There is no additional cost for attending the PhD By Design event if you have registered for the DRS conference. You must register for the DRS conference to attend this event. Breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be provided.