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 2023/2024)

Deadline: 26th May 2023 (2pm, Italian time)

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

Research Theme


The City of Care – Eco-systemic strategies to design healthier places
Anna Anzani
A framework for Policy making for Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI)
Valentina Auricchio
Olfactive Design. The birth of a discipline
Anna Barbara
From visual culture to new boundaries for communication design education
Valeria Bucchetti
Italian Typography Redefined: the Nebiolo Type Foundry, 1852–1978
Alessandro Colizzi
Development & modeling of sustainable 3D auxetic fabrics having smart properties
Giovanni Maria Conti
Computational design for sustainable development
Fiammetta Costa
Cities in the Ecological Transition: designing innovative scenarios for new urban eco-systems
Barbara Di Prete
Designing against food waste and poverty. Innovative strategies, methods and processes in community-based systems
Davide Fassi
Circular material and design strategies for sustainable production
Marinella Ferrara
Exploring new ways to combine the potential of Design with Craft
Marinella Ferrara
Data Physicalization: Use materials as means for interacting with big data.
Venere Ferraro, Valentina Rognoli (co-proponent)
Rethinking the role of the Arts in Design Culture
Luca Guerrini
Patient-centeredness and empowered patienship. Hacking the systems of care
Stefano Maffei
Visual exploration of digital archives
Michele Mauri
Creativity places for the enhancement of the territory. Interdisciplinary analysis to develop the environment through the network of cultural and creative spaces. The case study of Pavia district
Anna Mazzanti
Designing quality public services. The challenge to provide quality and meaningful user engagements and experiences when it comes to public and social services
Anna Meroni
Avatars and human digital twins: exploring the multiple opportunities and folds of digital personal representations in real world and the Metaverses
Margherita Pillan
Generative AIs and computational approaches in Communication Design
Marco Quaggiotto
Museum Accessibility. Role and responsibility of communication design
Dina Riccò
Creating a Lab and an integrated methodological approach to address research, education and consultancy on Design for Sustainability and the circular economy
Valentina Rognoli, Alessandro Deserti (co-proponent)
Re-coding traditional craft knowledge through material speculation
Valentina Rognoli, Venere Ferraro (co-proponent)
Design(ing) Slow Tourism&Small Heritage. Strategies, paths and models of application in cultural landscapes through phygital approaches
Raffaella Trocchianesi
Service Design to foster just transitions
Beatrice Villari
The image of Other in the age of Algorithms. The Role of the New Media for the Acknowledgment of the Cultural Alterity
Salvatore Zingale

Moreover, the 39th cycle additional calls for PhD places with thematic scholarships, restricted to a specific research topic, are open.
The calls are available on the PhD School website.