CORDIS - EU research results

Fundamentals of Design Competence for Our Digital Future

Project description

Training designers into decoding digital futures

The digital transformation of society, in which digital technologies sometimes replace human judgement and activities, requires a new type of design competence to ensure responsible and sustainable implementation. However, there is a gap in our understanding regarding the new knowledge and skills designers need to anticipate this transformation towards desirable outcomes. The EU-funded D-CoDE project aims to answer these questions. Bringing together a European consortium of higher education institutes as well as industry, government and civil society, the project will train 15 PhD students in design, anthropology, media studies, science and technology and data science. Small groups of PhD students from different disciplinary backgrounds, known as 'prototeams', will work in real-world contexts to develop and prototype future design roles and practices, increasing their competence and paving the way for an optimal digital society.


A fundamentally new kind of design competence is needed to anticipate the digital transformation of society and create the conditions for responsible and sustainable futures. For this, D-CoDE will train a cohort of 15 PhD students in design, design anthropology, media studies, science and technology studies and data science, and equip them with the holistic understanding needed for the human-centric design of product service systems powered by Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

New foundations for design will require the interdisciplinary integration of five key research challenges identified in both engineering and the social sciences: (1) anthropological study and principled engineering of algorithms as foundation for shaping digital futures; (2) design of personally meaningful and socially appropriate forms of interaction with and across decentralised systems; (3) inclusive approaches to value creation in designing data-driven products, services and business models; (4) principles and mechanisms for public deliberation and governance of data flows across systems; (5) future design practices upholding anticipatory, deliberative and responsive innovation approaches.

To foster this holistic understanding – and the integration of knowledge across disciplines it requires – D-CoDE introduces a post-disciplinary mode of working called ‘prototeams’: teams of PhD students working in real-world contexts to develop and prototype future professional design roles and practices, including the scientific knowledge needed to support them. As these research challenges require both deep disciplinary expertise and knowledge that cuts across sectors, D-CoDE brings together an exceptional team of internationally leading researchers in the required subject areas, and non-academic partners that bring societal, economic and political practice to the project and provide multiple forums for the dissemination of knowledge, results and best practices.


Net EU contribution
€ 796 859,64
2628 CN Delft

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West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Delft en Westland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 796 859,64

Participants (7)