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A Marriage in Practice: The Role of Design Research in the World of Medical Science

Updated: Jan 16, 2023



In June 2022, our team presented at the Design Research Society conference in Bilbao Spain. Our presentation was a facilitated conversation with conference attendees about the role of design research in the world of medical science.


Read below for an abstract of the conversation and click here to read the full paper.


Much has been written about the potential of combining design methodologies and medical research in transdisciplinary collaborations. The translation of this collaboration from promise to practice can be difficult.


For decades, design and medical research have been courting with varying levels of success. These collaborations face differences regarding how knowledge is produced, exchanged, funded, supported, and deemed successful between design and medical research. Like any relationship, the two must negotiate hierarchical norms, inharmonious timeframes, and distinctive values.


The aim of this Conversation was to engage in a robust exchange with designers and researchers who have been attempting to forge this marriage between design and healthcare practices. Our team’s transdisciplinary experiences blending design and medical research to address the American opioid crisis served as a springboard to a more general exchange, surfacing better practices for deeper collaboration between scientists and designers.


Keywords: collaboration; healthcare; translational practices











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