Vision and Mission

UNIDCOM's vision is to be an international reference for Design Research, with a two-fold mission: (I) to boost Design as a subject and (II) to contribute to solving major social problems through Design.


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:

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

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;

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;

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.