In some ways, I didn’t so much choose Strathclyde to do postgraduate research as Strathclyde chose me.We’re one of only a few such teams in the world
I completed my integrated Masters course here in Product Design Engineering; my final year dissertation was my first experience of pure research and I felt I took to it very naturally.
I hadn’t initially intended to do a PhD. When you train as a product designer I think it’s natural to envision a career in industry. My dissertation supervisor at the time, Professor Alex Duffy, let me know about a new project he had lined up.
At first the idea of doing research seemed pretty alien to me, but the first time I read the project proposal I knew right away it was something I had to get involved in.
I’m part of a group which does multi-disciplinary product design engineering and psychology research and we’re one of only a few such teams in the world. I study design cognition – how designers think, how they combine ideas together and what makes those ideas creative.
Product design engineering is a broad field. Every artificial thing around us was designed by a team of designers somewhere, from pocket-sized consumer products to aerospace and automotive equipment. We work with students and professionals that design all sorts of products.
Undoubtedly the best experience I’ve taken from my PhD has been the opportunity to work in this unique kind of interdisciplinary team. Beyond that I’ve had an amazing time in the wider Department of Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management (DMEM) research community. We run a journal club, skills workshops, a student-led lecture series and regular out of office social events.
The Certificate in Researcher Professional Development has been really useful. A lot of the extracurricular courses, especially in writing, presenting and public engagement have been excellent.
I’ve also been able to present my research at an international level, last year I was as the International Conference on Engineering Design in Vancouver and I have others coming up this year in Croatia and Milan. These events are great for meeting people and getting exposed to cutting edge ideas in the field.
I plan to take a break after my PhD but my experience in research so far tells me I’d been keen to pursue an academic career. I’d love to get involved in design research related to what I’m doing now and explore emerging human computer interaction technologies.