Research Themes

The PhD programme in Design is structured into various research fields, which correspond to specific research teams within the Department of Design.
In order to coordinate research activity over a wide range of topics, teams cluster around three Sections, which are:

  • Design and Cultures
  • Products, Strategies and Services
  • Design for Environments, Landscape and Mobility
The PhD programme in Design carries out research on specific topics emerging from the research initiatives of all Departments.

PhD candidates are requested to develop an original research contribution.

The PhD thesis must thus contribute to increase the knowledge in the candidate’s research field. Besides, it has to be coherent with the research topics developed in the Department where the PhD programme is carried out.

The original research results are collected in the PhD thesis, where the candidate’s contribution is brought into correlation with the research state of the art in the specific research field.

According to these topics, every year research avenues are released by the Design PhD program for PhD applicants. Applicants can follow one of the avenues as the basis for the research project to be presented with the application.

Research Themes for the current Call for Applicants (AY 2021/2022)

Opening on: 20th April 2021 (10am, Italian time)
Deadline: 20th May 2021 (2pm, Italian time)

The full text of the call is available on the Doctorate School website.

Research Theme


Design For Meaning Framework For Autonomous Vehicles
Marco Ajovalasit
Mapping Design Methods: exploring project culture narratives behind methods
Valentina Auricchio
Make Aware. Spatial and Exhibit Design to awake people’s consciousness
Giampiero Bosoni
Communication Design for Welfare: inclusion and common good
Valeria Bucchetti
Spatial scenarios and social sharing models for the post-pandemic workspace
Barbara Camocini
Designing the Body: future scenarios for fashion design
Alba Cappellieri
Exploring the complex relation between Design and AI
Mauro Ceconello
Design Futures (DF): a transdisciplinary perspective to decolonize futures
Manuela Celi
Italian Typography Redefined: the Nebiolo Type Foundry, 1852–1978
Alessandro Colizzi
Knitting Adversarial Patches through Machine Learning for Privacy and Ethics
Giovanni Maria Conti
Unfolding smartness: design methodologies for the intelligence of animated objects / spaces
Marinella Ferrara
Rethinking the role of the Arts in Design Culture
Luca Guerrini
Design visions for a “Cultural Heritage of proximity” in post-pandemic times
Eleonora Lupo
Searching for an impactful Theory of Change in (Urban) Circularity Approaches. Connecting circularity paradigms, processes, product-services into a design for policy-services-materiality approach
Stefano Maffei
Information Design and data visualization: unpacking the access to information
Michele Mauri
Social Innovation for Circular Economy
Anna Meroni
Culture Proximity
Ico Migliore
SWAM - Smart Water Mobility
Andrea Ratti
Visual and Audiovisual Accessibility. A proposal of study and experimentation for public communication accessible to all
Dina Riccò
Urban Mining for circular materials design
Valentina Rognoli
Designing for care ecosystems
Daniela Sangiorgi
Designing processes and new cultural experiences of the cinematographic and theatrical heritage. Toward new scenarios of creative and cultural industries
Raffaella Trocchianesi
Fashion industry's positive transformation: new approaches for a sustainable change in the designers’ mindset
Federica Vacca
Designing Sustainable Product-Service System applied to Distributed Economies
Carlo Vezzoli
Speculative Tools for Service Innovation
Beatrice Villari
Design thinking to nurture workplace diversity. How creative confidence can foster inclusion and overcome resistance to change in organizational culture
Francesco Zurlo

Moreover, the 37th cycle additional calls for PhD places with thematic scholarships, restricted to a specific research topic, are open.
The calls are available on the Doctorate School website.