To assist this process of development for the engineering systems design research community, the organizers of DESIGN are proposing core areas for the conference as described below. It is required explicitly from all contributors to show how they are contributing to the emerged communities of researchers within these areas.



  • Multidisciplinary research approaches
  • Design theories and models
  • Experimental design research
  • Design typology
  • New paths in design research

Design science has a long history of research activities associated with it. However, the establishment of credible, convincing, and well-supported new theories and innovative research approaches is a continuing task. Undertaking design research is difficult because of the number of issues associated with design, evaluating models and methods by 'experiments' with industrial collaborators, generating large enough data sets, or validating results in quite different design situations. Papers focused on multidisciplinary research approaches and new research infrastructure are of particular interest in this core area.



  • Organisational processes for Industry 4.0
  • Product development models and agile management
  • Market and business implications
  • Co-design and collaboration
  • Design teams and communication
  • Open/social innovation

A critical factor in the effectiveness of designers and design teams is how they are organised and managed. This core area deals with strategies and managerial practices related to design work with its manifold relations to internal partners, suppliers and customers. There is a wide variety of product-, company- or branch-specific approaches to structure and support development processes. Contributions in this topic should address strategic management, risk management, distributed and virtual design processes, the supplier/designer interface, digitalisation strategies, agile processes and techniques. The research findings on co-design, various collaboration/coordination/cooperation types and approaches, design teams and communication studies and the role of the design process for open and social innovation are welcome.



  • Design representations of information and knowledge
  • Decision-making rationale and support
  • Knowledge-intensive design
  • Knowledge-based engineering
  • Emerging IT technologies

The provision of the appropriate amounts of high-quality and relevant design information and knowledge is critical to a product's success or system design and development. The key research areas, such as search strategies, information and knowledge reuse, and knowledge-based decision-making support, require multidisciplinary approaches focusing on people, processes, and content. Examples of design information and knowledge management strategies that have been evaluated in practice are of particular interest in this topic.



  • Product families and modularisation
  • Prototyping methods and tools
  • Requirements and change management
  • Usage and integration of supportive technologies

Novel design methods and tools are essential for the effective delivery of high-quality products and technical systems. They support different stakeholders in different tasks and phases within the engineering design process, from requirements engineering and conceptualisation to embodiment and detail design, as well as in managing data and changes throughout the product's lifecycle. Papers submitted to this topic are expected to introduce new design methods or tools and assess how their application can contribute to the design process's overall effectiveness.



  • Human factors in design
  • Designer's attitudes and skills
  • Design thinking, cognition and problem-solving
  • Cognitive processes in design creativity
  • Supporting and assessment of design creativity
  • Bioinspired design

The human aspect of the design is crucial, and its impact is arguably twofold. First concerns the designer's role in producing products and systems that relate to the users themselves. The second concerns the way that the designer can be supported to be more creative and innovative. The topic includes studies of design thinking and cognition and encompasses interdisciplinary approaches to studying and assessing creativity. The topic invites research on creativity methods, theories, and processes. The studies fostering creativity in and through intersecting design with other domains (e.g., biology) are of particular interest. In addition to other research in the engineering design field, any cross-reference to works on human aspects is of interest. Papers dealing with any dimension of human behaviour are welcome.



  • Sustainability awareness
  • Design for social equity and cohesion
  • Design for the circular economy
  • Technology and sustainable society
  • Product-service systems
  • Sustainable transition

Design for sustainability covers a solution-oriented and purpose-driven sub-field in the intersection between sustainable development and design disciplines. It goes beyond eco-innovation, environmental friendliness, or cleantech to encompass any intentional design of products, services, systems, or product-service-systems, which through its conceptualisation and function facilitates a (behavioural or structural) change that promotes greater levels of sustainability. Contributions to this topic should explore and define the research agenda of interdisciplinary design research needed for moving toward a sustainable society and circular economy.



  • Healthcare ecosystems
  • Healthcare design
  • Healthcare services
  • Use of advanced technologies in healthcare
  • Life sciences and design

Health represents one of our society's main challenges, and various issues related to its processes and infrastructure might benefit from design approaches and strategies. This topic area should introduce the system and design approaches/technologies to tackle diverse healthcare concerns and improve existing practices. Contributions in this topic should address design approaches and techniques for enhancing healthcare systems, services, and experiences. Design science responses to the challenges of the global pandemic are welcome.



  • Design approaches for additive manufacturing
  • Design digitalisation approaches
  • Design optimisation frameworks
  • Generative design and topological optimisation
  • Architecting materials for additive manufacturing

The additive design process empowers engineers to create more intricate shapes and production parts while reducing weight and material consumption. Additively manufactured products can also be mass-customized to fit the physiology or preferences of their end-user, optimized for performance, reduce material wastage, simplify the supply chain, and (almost as a by-product) have an aesthetically pleasing organic appearance. Contributions in this topic should address design approaches and techniques for additive manufacturing. Papers discussing part consolidation approaches, architected materials, generative design and topology optimisation are welcome.



  • Design for product improvement and quality
  • Design for manufacturing and assembly
  • Design for packaging and ergonomics
  • Design for robustness and reliability
  • Design for maintainability

Design for excellence (Design for X) is guiding product development and improvement that can be applied all the way through the product lifecycle, from pre-production, production, to sale & use. Contribution in this topic should address approaches to design for short time to market, design for manufacturing and assembly, design for quality, design for testing, design for packaging, design for reliability, design for maintainability, and design for ergonomics. Papers discussing design for specific business goals are also welcome.



  • Artificial intelligence in product development
  • Data-driven design process
  • Knowledge discovery and data mining in design
  • AI for smart product-service systems
  • Digital twins
  • Autonomous vehicles and electromobility

AI (Artificial Intelligence) has become an over-hyped buzzword across many industries, and the engineering design and product development world is no exception. There are ongoing conversations between designers and developers around the future impact of AI technologies and how design as a process may change. Also, by introducing AI as part of the products and services, new relationships will need to be established between customers and products. This also opens a need to bring the necessary empathetic context for innovation, which is how a business will succeed with AI and what AI can and should do for future products and services.



  • User-centred design
  • Aesthetics and visual impressions
  • Product semantics and perceptions
  • Visual and haptic interactions and user experience
  • Social relationships and emotional design

Industrial design is a process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production. It is influenced by factors as varied as business strategy and prevailing social, commercial, or aesthetic attitudes. It combines art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. User-cantered design, product semantics, and emotional design are some of the approaches used to create products that deliver a positive experience. The research papers systematically discussing methods and tools relevant for industrial/product designers are welcome under this topic.



  • Architecting complex engineering systems
  • Simulation within complex systems
  • Model-based systems engineering (MBSE)
  • Complex cyber-physical systems design
  • Approaches to socio-technical systems design

The interdisciplinary topic of systems engineering and design focuses on the interactions between complex systems elements and brings together basic sciences, engineering analysis, and engineering design. It relates systems engineering with design methodology and practice to explore the design process's role in systems engineering. Contributions to this topic should support product integration in complex systems and promote understanding of cyber-physical and socio-technical systems design.



  • Competency and skills development
  • Digital learning and ICT in education
  • Project-based learning
  • Adopting different teaching and learning environments
  • Lifelong and organisational learning

Design education must be tailored and conceptualised according to the newly emerging needs to prepare future designers and engineers for their working environment and foster lifelong learning. This topic deals with the analysis of existing design education approaches, as well as the development of new learning and teaching methods in various design contexts. Contributions in this topic are expected to focus on educational methods, design courses and curricula, digital and virtual education, industrial support of educational efforts, and impact of social and cultural aspects on design education.



  • Geometrical modelling and advanced CAx use cases
  • Advanced visualisation and virtualisation
  • Case studies of design methods application
  • Best design practices from industry

Case studies describing the in-depth, multi-faceted understanding of complex design issues in their real-life context are key for establishing future design research directions. Different engineering design methodologies applied in engineering practice that demonstrate engineering competence, experience, and usefulness of the design methods and tools for development, manufacturing, maintenance, and disposal are of particular interest to the design research community. The contributions illustrating a wide variety of design activities and situations and explaining the best practices applied in the industrial context are expected in this topic.

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