CfD Research

The Center for Design opens up a new space for these interdisciplinary exchanges; it is where the design research agenda is collectively shaped and innovative solutions are collaboratively conceived and developed through joint research initiatives. Building solid ground for the bridges that CAMD faculty members have already established internally and promoting new collaborations with other areas both within and beyond Northeastern University, the Center for Design gathers the critical mass needed to leverage existing research initiatives, providing them a fertile environment to grow and systematically sustain them.

Research Areas

Faculty Coordinator: Ang Li

All That is Solid is a series of material experiments conducted in collaboration with a building material recycling center in Philadelphia that explores the cultural and environmental legacy of synthetic “miracle materials” on the post-war building industry, with particular focus on the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam as a material substitute for monolithic construction.

Faculty Coordinator: Kristian Kloeckl

  • Performance and non-script based frameworks for experience design.
  • Improvisation-based design for interactions in hybrid cities.
  • Design and the future workplace.
  • Human-robot collaboration in the seafood industry (NSF-CRISP).
  • Mobile eye-tracking supported research of human experience in urban environments.

Faculty Coordinator: Casper Harteveld

Faculty Coordinator: Miso Kim

Aging is a gradual shift of autonomy from physical control    to relational connectedness. Service as a social system was developed to provide this connection to human network. Scholars from the fields of design, nursing, engineering, and health informatics are collaborating to develop services that support older adults’ autonomy and healthy longevity.

  • Technology Literacy

  • Emergency Evacuation

  • Health Autonomy


Climate Change and Health | CAMD Center for Design Dean’s Fellows

This research group is seeking to understand attitudes in young adults (18-24) regarding climate change and how it affects mental health and health behaviors. We hypothesize that the environmental risk wrought by climate change and the national conversation on sustainability likely leads to a spectrum of beliefs, behaviors, and values regarding personal agency and resilience, which we are loosely defining as climate nihilism, climate ambivalence, and climate hope. The working group is pursuing two phases of data collection using complementary, cross-disciplinary methods (i.e., Design Toolkits, Online Surveys) to explore collective and relational aspects of climate change and health.

Team Members: Miso Kim, Michael A. Mages, Sara Carr, Susan Mello,  Estefania Ciliotta

Students: Madison Thomas and Yechan Yang


Design For Empowered Patientship: Mapping the Boston Healthcare Ecosystem

This research team is mapping the healthcare ecosystems of Boston and Milan, exploring the co-design and co-production processes that contain evidence of patient-driven innovation. The project observes and maps different scenarios in which design plays a role in the interdisciplinary innovation process, mapping experiences and practices of products-services, technologies, organizational processes, initiatives, public programs or actions, and policies—with the goal of pinpointing and connecting this emergent knowledge to the actors’ system that produced them. The mapping of the Boston healthcare ecosystem will be compared with Milano’s to clarify the nature of the empowered patientship and identify opportunities for strategic cross-connections and research initiatives through interdisciplinary collaborations and partnerships. The project aims to promote a cure to care cultural, pragmatic, and interdisciplinary transition in healthcare systems; nurturing a patient-centric development of new products-services to provide more agency and choices to patients and promote health equity and inclusion (meaning impact on individual satisfaction and community welfare).

Team Members: Miso Kim, Michael A. Mages, Susan Mello,  Estefania Ciliotta, Paolo Ciuccarelli,Stefano Maffei, Beatrice Villari, Massimo Bianchini


Design + Journalism

The Co-Laboratory for Data Impact focuses on narrative data strategies and is committed to advancing civic-oriented and impactful visual storytelling for issues of public urgency in the areas of diversity, transparency, and sustainability.

The lab serves as a university hub for faculty, sta, and students looking to communicate visually with data in the public sphere and for external partners of various kinds seeking expertise in this domain.

Through creative practice and research, the lab contributes to the fields of design and data journalism, exploring areas such as visual poetics, metaphors, and evidentiary aesthetics. We aim at facilitating sense-making around digital information, while providing the tools for public audiences to understand the world in new impactful ways.


Designing Solutions to Misinformation | TIER 1 Project

This project is an investigation of how UI and UX elements can affect the consumption and spread of misinformation on social media platforms. In particular, we are exploring how design can mitigate the negative effects of social metrics (SM) and filtering algorithms (FA) on the consumption and spread of information and news on such platforms. The assumption is that we can influence users’ behavior and try to limit the spread of misinformation by designing new ways to present and visualize SM and to increase users’ awareness of the hidden effects of FA and SM. This assumption is based on previous research on the impact of UX design on user’s digital behavior.

Team Members: John Wihbey, Myo Chung, Mike Peacey, Estefania Ciliotta, Paolo Ciuccarelli, Yuqing Liu

Partners: Sara Colombo and Guangyu Chen – TU Eindhoven

Design + Public Policy

Faculty Coordinator: Dietmar Offenhuber

  • Design and evaluation of public displays and civic technologies.
  • Design factors of citizen feedback and collaborative governance platforms.
  • Material displays and citizen sensing in environmental conflicts.
  • Design studies of urban platforms in the global south (Philippines & Indonesia).


Faculty Coordinator: Mark Sivak

Design Bridge | Iterative Design + Extended Reality: A New NUFlex for A + D

A foundational element to design courses is an iterative design process. Students understand this process easily and intuitively and can apply it to projects and challenges they encounter. For many students, the iterative process through which they learn is opaque. Students want to improve their learning process and have some level of metacognition about how best they learn but lack a formal framework about how to apply this information. In this project new learning interventions and instruments will be developed to further these ends in design courses. This will include updating current materials for NUFlex and developing new pilots for design courses and expansion into other courses that use iterative creative processes including art

Team members: Mark Sivak, Jamal Thorne, Nick Wilson


LUCID Framework | National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant

From User Reviews to User-Centered Generative Design | Automated Methods for Augmented Designer Performance.

This project imagines user-centered design processes where the latent needs of myriad users are automatically elicited from social media, forums, and online reviews, and translated into new concept recommendations for designers. This project will advance the fundamental understanding of if and how AI can augment the performance of designers in early-stage product development by investigating two fundamental questions: (1) Can we build and validate novel natural language processing (NLP) algorithms for large-scale elicitation of latent user needs with cross-domain transferability and minimal need for manually labeled data? (2) Can we build and validate novel deep generative design algorithms that capture the visual and functional aspects of past successful designs and automatically translate them into new design concepts? Our convergence research team is well-positioned to undertake these questions, with expertise across four disciplines of engineering, computer science, business, and design.

Team members: Mohsen Moghaddam, Lu Wang, Tucker Marion, Paolo Ciuccarelli, Estefania Ciliotta
Partners: Northeastern College of Engineering, D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern, University of Michigan

The Design for Emergency (DfE) initiative interprets the theme of the Italian Design Day 2021 edition, “Design and Matter”, by moving the focus from the product to the process of design: Design for Emergency is a catalyst of creativity, a platform established to enable designers of all levels and provenances to tackle the challenges of the current pandemic and other future emergencies. Ideas are the matter here, and design is applied to create the conditions for designers to make an impact on a societal scale.


We envision a meta-platform – a platform of existing and new platforms – for building a common understanding and fostering collaborative action, composed of talks, seminars, documents, and other shared initiatives. We aim at sparking conversations within and outside the design field, both in the academic context and in the professional domain: we are reaching out to practitioners, design lovers, academics, and industry players.



Take a look at the discussion so far on our Notion repository here and join the conversation!

Partners: Paul Pangaro, Hugh Dubberly, Silvia Barbero, Remy Bourganel, Michael A. Mages, Nathan Felde, Vandhana Baskharan



Service Design Metrics

While there are many resources for service design professionals, there is rarely any mention of relevant service metrics. Most often, when metrics are referenced, they are high-level that capture the overall experience, such as NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), and Customer Effort Score (CES). Furthermore, there lacks a comprehensive inventory of relevant metrics for service design professionals. Therefore, the goal of our work is to build a comprehensive inventory of service design metrics that are relevant as part of the service design process, as well as the validation of a service experience.

Team Members: Miso Kim, Houjiang Liu, Estefania Ciliotta
Partners: William Albert – Bentley University


Design Resources Repository
The Center for Design is curating a collection of resources that might enlighten us to think about design, design research, and design practice in general as collaborative practice. We have been gathering different available resources and have built a Repository of design tools, trends, methods, publications, case studies, and podcasts to help designers and general practitioners easily find and access information and design materials, following the meta-design approach of enabling platforms for others to choose, design, and act.

*If you have design tools or links that you use or know of, please send them in so that we may add them to the repository.

Notion Design Resources

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