Explorative Research

In an 'explorative research partnership' the Design Sciences Hub offers its client scientific knowledge and tools for metropolitan challenges and systemic issues. Based on concrete questions from industry, civil society or government, DSH makes the spatial translation from in-depth academic research to the challenges of tomorrow. This unique form of collaboration offers the opportunity to tackle a wide range of 'wicked problems', from urban mobility over healthy air quality to the digitalization of the construction industry. An interdisciplinary consortium of experts at the University of Antwerp is gathered to guide this concise process.

Research by Design

Complementary to practices that design an end product, our academic valorization team starts from research and uses design as a tool to gain insights. With the concept of 'space' - in the broad sense of the word - as the common denominator in wicked urban challenges, we target infrastructure, public space, architecture and products of a resilient city of the future.

Proof of Concept

With a 'proof of concept', the Design Sciences Hub takes flight forward. It synthesizes complex urban challenges and gives form to a concept based on early idea or challenge from the client. In many cases, a combination of domain-specific knowledge to the challenge, technology as enabler and design as method is combined. By embedding feedback loops, novel findings engage with existing academic understandings via methods such as PSS or design research.

Foresight Sessions

Foresight sessions bring together experts with diverse backgrounds around 'wicked urban problems' and, beyond reactive 'problem solving', searches for innovative solutions in a co-creative process. A client brings a challenge to table and within a series of foresight sessions knowledge based in academic research provide tools to meet urban challenges. A multidiciplinary team of academics is tailor made combining next to design science also expertise from for example business development, law, governance, participation or engineering. In this process, 'design research and design thinking' are powerful methods for conceiving and synthesizing systemic change models. Knowledge from practice (industry, policy and society) and scientific insights reinforce each other and bring forward those future-oriented solutions that are not conceived in either of these worlds seperately.

Innovation Partnership

University of Antwerp has 3 central valorization themes where extra capacity is available for partnerships and valorization. Besides 'infectious diseases & environmental health' and 'sustainable chemistry & materials', 'metropolitanism' is the third pillar. Within the metropolitanism theme, Design Sciences Hub is the contact point for setting up structural collaborations on urban challenges that bring together academics, industry and/or policy to push for solutions. Under the flag of urban innovation partnerships, UAntwerpen wants to actively participate in the development of a customized innovation partnership. Topic, methodology and pricing depends on the partnership, the type and duration of the collaboration.