MIT has announced a new eight-year collaborative research programme aimed at driving scientific research in sustainable design, innovation and digital technologies, as well as in translating research results into practice.
Funded by the Hasso Plattner Foundation, the Hasso Plattner Institute-MIT Research Program on Designing for Sustainability will see researchers at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, the MIT Morningside Academy for Design and the Hasso Plattner Institute work together to tackle global challenges as expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The programme will connect faculty and students from both institutions, with the intention of having the most significant possible societal impact.
The MIT Morningside Academy for Design, a new institute-wide hub for cross-disciplinary education, research and innovation, will administer the collaboration and ensure the programme’s reach across MIT.
The Hasso Plattner Institute, based in Potsdam, Germany, is an international centre for digital engineering, advancing research and education in IT systems engineering, data engineering, cyber security, entrepreneurship and digital health. The institute’s School of Design Thinking is Europe’s first innovation school for university students.
Programme participants will conduct research into basic and applied design thinking and innovation. Design is understood broadly to include design research and thinking, as well as the use of creativity in addressing challenges in disciplines such as computer science and entrepreneurship, all with consideration of human and social impacts.
‘Alongside artificial intelligence, design research is a key driver for innovation in sustainability,’ said Professor Ralf Herbrich, managing director of HPI. ‘Bringing talented PhD students of our two institutions together that are committed to the Sustainable Development Goals will foster breakthroughs in this societally very important area.’