Professor Larry Leifer, founding Director of the Center for Design Research (CDR) at Stanford University visited the Engineering School at Trinity College Dublin last week to commence work on a link between the two universities on research led teaching on creative design.
Professor Leifer teaches the industry sponsored master's course ME310, 'Global Project-Based Engineering Design, Innovation, and Development' at Stanford University. This course will be the vehicle for collaboration between Stanford and TCD with the aim that TCD Engineering will become a global partner on the course. This will benefit Trinity undergraduates and postgraduates in their creative design courses.
In his research led teaching of creative design, the Stanford Professor leads a research team at Stanford which focuses on understanding and augmenting engineering design innovation practice and education. He is dedicated to facilitating individual creativity, understanding the team design process, and developing advanced tools and methods that promote superior design and manufacturing of products. He develops concepts and technical solutions for design thinking, concurrent engineering, distributed collaborative design, and design knowledge re-use. Corporately sponsored design examples, as part of the course, include redesigning the convertible car experience for BMW and the design of next generation TVs for Panasonic.
During his visit to TCD, Prof Leifer ran highly interactive design workshops for academics and students from across the College with a colleague Sushi Suzuki from Panasonic R&D Center Germany in Frankfurt. Prof Leifer gave a public lecture to a full house at the Science Gallery entitled 'Dancing with Ambiguity, design thinking in action, theory from practice'.
Welcoming Prof Leifer to Trinity College Dublin, Prof Margaret O'Mahony, Head of the School of Engineering, noted the important significance of his visit for the TCD Engineering School and expressed her sincere gratitude to him for the opportunity to collaborate on this programme. Prof Leifer said: "I have been delighted by the enthusiasm and rapid uptake of new ideas and research themes by faculty and students of the Trinity School of Engineering."
The next step in the collaboration is for academics from Trinity Engineering to spend periods working with Prof Leifer on the delivery of the ME310 course at Stanford during 2012. Following their return, TCD will join the course as a global partner in 2013 along with other leading universities across the world.