Dr Hilary Grierson

Senior Teaching Fellow

Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management

Personal statement

I teach Product Design in the Department of Design Manufacture and Engineering Management (DMEM). I studied Architecture and Design at the University of Strathclyde and at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, USA, before becoming a registered architect. I have an MSc in Computer-Aided Building Design and a PhD in Design Education. I worked in architectural practice for over 12 years before moving to academia; joining DMEM in 2007.

As Director of UG Individual Projects I have the responsibility for the 4th and 5th year final individual student product design projects. I teach design methods and their application to product development and industrial project-based group work. I am responsible for the department’s Teaching and Learning Enhancements and have been involved in a number of projects and pilots to improve the Student Experience, Online Feedback and Assessment and Online CPD.

My research focus is in the area of distributed working, distributed information management and global design education, having worked on the JISC/NSF funded research DIDET Project (Distributed Innovative Design, Education and Teamwork) from 2003-2008, with colleagues from the Center for Design Research, Stanford University. My PhD investigated distributed design information management for global collaborations and I have published in over 40 journal and conference papers and this area.  My most recent research is an EPSRC funded grant on Data Information Systems - DaISy, part of the Big Data Programme - investigating the visualisation and handling of large secure data sets for the defence industry. 



Has expertise in:

    • distributed working
    • distributed information management
    • design education
    • creative design methods


Prizes and awards

Institute of Engineering Designers Group Prize 2011
Member of Architecture and DMEM KE Synergies Group
Member of Interdepartmental Research Group on Education in Design
Member of 'Create Strathclyde': the Institute for Creativity, Design and Innovation
Teaching Excellence Award, USSA, 2010
Best Research Presentation in Design Theme

more prizes and awards


Developing an online course in Computer-Supported Collaborative Design (CSCD)
Brisco Ross, Whitfield Ian, Grierson Hilary, Howell Bryan, Unson Cameron, Matheson Carly
Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education The 22nd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (2020)
A novel systematic method to evaluate computer supported collaborative design technologies
Brisco R, Whitfield R I, Grierson H
Research in Engineering Design (2019)
Overcoming the challenges of global collaboration through design education
Brisco Ross, Whitfield Robert Ian, Grierson Hilary, Bohemia Erik
Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education 21st International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (2019)
Delivering a total engineering education
Whitfield RI, Duffy AHB, Grierson H
21st International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education (E&PDE 2019), pp. 1-6 (2019)
Are social network sites the future of engineering design education?
Brisco Ross, Whitfield Robert, Grierson Hilary
20th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (2018)
Modelling the relationship between design activity and computer-supported collaborative design factors
Brisco R, Whitfield R I, Grierson H
International Design Conference - Design 2018 15th International Design Conference (Design 2018), pp. 193-204 (2018)

more publications


I teach in the Global Design Class and in a Product Development Class with strong teaching interests in distributed design and design education. I have investigated creative design methods and how these might be applied to product design engineering projects and other engineering disciplines. More recently following the organisation of a CPD Circular Economy Conference at Strathclyde, headlining Dame Ellen McArthur, I am interested in how creativity can be applied to the design of sustainable of products.  


Professional activities

21st International Conference on Engineering & Product Design Education
Images of Research 2017
Dissemination of DAISY Project activities and the SIZL system
Dstl DIET: Data Intensive Systems Market Place Conference
Invited speaker
2nd International Conference on Design Creativity 2012
Member of programme committee
The Circular Economy: New Opportunities in Design and Construction for Scotland Conference

more professional activities


Doctoral Training Partnership (DTA - University of Strathclyde) | Brisco, Ross
Whitfield, Ian (Principal Investigator) Grierson, Hilary (Co-investigator) Brisco, Ross (Research Co-investigator)
This project is investigating students utilisation of social network sites for conducting design activities and supporting the design process, such as, to support the reasoning and discussion required to make design decisions. Social network sites offer functionality which meets the needs of computer-supported collaborative design systems, such as, in the exchange and ideas, artefacts and documents. The ubiquity of social network sites and integration with student’s life allows them access to conduct teamwork at all times of the day and the integration of mobile devices allow them access from anywhere. Our findings show that students utilise this ability throughout their daily lives such as, utilising spare time on public transport or whilst waiting in a line in a shop to check in on team progress or contribute to a discussion. The growth of social network sites within academia and enterprise suggest that students will need to utilise the technology in the future. With this, and social network sites ability to support the design process identified in this study, there is a need to investigate the requirement for new design education pedagogies to support students learning. It is important to reason how this might be delivered and how we might encourage the use of best practices when engaging with the technology.
01-Jan-2015 - 01-Jan-2020
Online CPD for Design Professionals,
Grierson, Hilary (Principal Investigator) Grierson, David (Co-investigator)
03-Jan-2012 - 01-Jan-2015
Information Cognition (IC): Enabling the Human Cog in the Information Retrieval Machine
Grierson, Hilary (Principal Investigator) Corney, Jonathan (Co-investigator)

This research programme will investigate the feasibility of using visual representations for the secure navigation and search of large, complex, multimedia data sets. It draws upon prior research that shows the human visual system has a powerful ability to recognise and classify objects in 3D environments. To do this the project will create an experimental platform that combines human cognitive abilities with recent advances in design information management, computer graphics and data mining. The resulting system will support the systematic study of how advanced visual interfaces impact on a user's ability to both find individual items and identify patterns, or oddities, within subsets of the data.

The veracity of the project's experimental methodology is ensured through close collaboration with an international research centre supported by a consortium of leading defence contractors (ie Rolls Royce, Boeing etc). This partnership will ensure the project is focused on the challenges faced by the defence industry and can assess its outputs using a realistic bench mark environment."
30-Jan-2012 - 31-Jan-2013
Information Sharing for Effective Digital Collaborators
Grierson, Hilary (Principal Investigator)
Digitally enabled global working and distributed information sharing cuts across all research themes as an enabler to effective collaboration. This particular project, in the context of student digital literacy skills, is a pertinent test-bed for developing digital learning strategies, in particular relating to organisation and management of distributed student resources that will have far-reaching impact on students, academia and industry.
Project value = £29,600 (£14,000 from HEA and £15,600 Faculty and Departmental). Faculty monies already secured if successful.
Online CPD for Design Professionals
Grierson, Hilary (Principal Investigator) Grierson, David (Academic)
The project aims to develop a suite of online CPD events relevant for design professionals, focusing on research and teaching in design methods and practices within the University of Strathclyde. The project will draw on current work in the Faculty of Engineering within the Departments of Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management (DMEM) and Architecture. It will support networking between academia and industry in the form of webcasts in conjunction with online interactive sessions to increase awareness and disseminate current innovations in Design Methods and Practices, initially in the key areas of global design, sustainability and creativity. Project value = £20,000 (£10,000 awarded from faculty KE development fund).
01-Jan-2011 - 30-Jan-2014
JISC Circular 4/08: Learning and Teaching Innovation Grant
Grierson, Hilary (Principal Investigator)
The ISfEDC Project aims to provide support to address a lack of digital literacy skills and to identify opportunities for improving learning in Web 2.0 collaborative project work. The project proposal also aligns well with Strathclyde University’s strategic plan and its aim to be an ‘international technological university’ through the conducting of innovative Web 2.0 collaborations with global partners on an international platform.Further exploration into use of a set of Principles to support information sharing in distributed collaborative project work will be measured.
Funding value = £100,000 (unsuccessful at expression of interest)

more projects


Design, Manufacturing and Engineering Management
James Weir Building

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