In response to new challenges, both social and internal, the Unit has redefined itself in order to explore areas of interest at the intersection of the quadrants drawn by the Design-Technology-Art-Communication-Marketing vectors. Thus, and without prejudice to future updates, the research is now organised into seven clusters, instead of groups, corresponding to strategic areas of research, materialised in projects: Mapping Design; Design for social innovation and sustainability; Interaction Design and UX; Envision future; Communication, Culture and Consumption; Art and Visual Production and Design Principles and Practices.
Due to their very nature, clusters foster interaction and cooperation among interdisciplinary project teams, incorporating young researchers, as much as possible, from different programmes and study cycles, as well as external partners (e.g., companies, laboratories). In the portfolio there are about 30 projects, some already in execution, encompassing a great diversity of interests and methodological approaches.
MAPPING PORTUGUESE DESIGN
This research cluster focuses on design history and studies, and its main goals are to contrast different research experiences in order to think critically on the development of Portuguese design and understand how design practices and products contribute to our cultural values. We seek to map the circulation and valorisation of aesthetic forms, the paths of our national identity, including the contributions of ethnicity and gender, highlighting the cultural and economic relevance of Portuguese design products and their potential to be developed into new ones. Through this mapping, we can examine and confirm the relevance of ‘memory archives’ and also provide content for cultural products, as part of a creative economy strategy embraced by the research unit.
DESIGN FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY
INTERACTION DESIGN AND UX
COMMUNICATION, CULTURE AND CONSUMPTION
ART AND VISUAL PRODUCTION
DESIGN PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES
Vision & Mission
UNIDCOM’s aims are therefore:
(1) Recognising Design as an aggregating area, crossing boundaries, its own and those of other fields;
(2) Advancing and promoting Design Research, while understanding its importance for both the practice and study of Design;
(3) Advancing the theory and practice of Design.
From the strategic-tacit point of view, the following priorities have been defined:
1) increase research activity and grant submission;
2) increase funding and enlarge fund provenience;
3) raise reputation and internationalisation.
These will be supported by: reinforcement of core competencies; initiation of young researchers; promotion of technological/scientific culture; advanced researcher training; alignment with local/regional, national and international agendas; reinforcement of cooperation with companies / industry, especially in the technological area and the running of short-term and non-degree-level executive courses.
The Unit will also work to strengthen its internationalisation through networking and partnerships, promoted by the organisation of international conferences, short-duration stays, supporting researchers’ missions and reinforcing IADE Press and ThRAD scientific journal publications, both in digital open access.
UNIDCOM accomplishes the objectives by:
(a) Research activities
- Supporting and welcoming the development of research (e.g., well-equipped research facilities; assisting the preparation of applications and managing projects);
- Promoting clusters to provide a forum for internal/external networking;
- Welcoming Post-Doc studies and short-term stays for international students/researchers;
- Offering scholarships/grants
(b) Collaboration with Post-graduate studies
- Contributing to the development of PhD and MsC level education (e.g., contributing to the record of publications/outputs and international recognition of the faculty);
- Providing student research training (e.g., as part of project teams, workshops, seminars);
- Offering scholarships/grants for student research;
- Organising, in collaboration with the host School (IADE), an annual Design Doctoral Conference;
- Discounts or free entrance at events and for activities;
(c) R&D+i activities
- Promoting public awareness of design research;
- Offering consultancy services;
- Participating in consortiums for R&D+i projects with companies or other partners;
(d) Fostering and dissemination
- - Organising biannual international conferences (Senses & Sensibility), seminars, exhibitions, etc.;
- Providing support and sponsorship for a variety of design research-related events in cooperation with other partner organisations;
- Providing financial support for UNIDCOM members’ missions (e.g., participation in conferences);
- Publishing books authored/edited by its members (Edições IADE), proceedings, as well as a Journal (ThRad – The Radical Designist. A Design Culture Journal) in both paper and electronic formats;
- Maintaining an online repository for research outputs;
- Maintaining a weekly emailed newsletter.