Professor Mark Armstrong has recently been appointed to the Eva and Marc Besen International Research Chair in Design at Monash University. A prestigious position, the appointment will help to unite industry and technology through design research, as well as help to strengthen links between the university and international corporations.

In the role, Armstrong – Australia’s high-profile designer for Qantas, Cochlea, Phillips and Electrolux – will be able to use his industry knowledge and contacts to contribute to the university’s studio-based research capability.

He will also continue his hands-on role at Blue Sky, one of Australia’s leading industrial design companies, allowing Blue Sky to develop a channel for deep investigative research into human behaviour and technologies that can be utilised to create design solutions and experiences for customers and end users.

“There are a number of outcomes that make the position exciting for me,” says Armstrong.“There will be the opportunity for exchanges of ideas and processes between the team at Blue Sky and the students and researchers at Monash. It gives me the opportunity to explore exciting and challenging ideas that under the normal commercially driven demands of a design practice, we rarely get to explore.”

For the university, it translates into transfers of methodologies and thinking that are integral in the Blue Sky holistic design approach to problem solving.

“I’m attracted to the freedom provided by university research, with the possibility to investigate concepts and ideas that in industry would not be possible,” continues Armstrong.

“I like the idea of pursuing risk-taking investigations that have the potential to yield greater returns in terms of IP and revenue generation for the university.”

A key component of the role is for the university to make connections with key international design institutions and research partners.

Armstrong will help to develop long-term design research strategies for the university design program – an initiative that will enhance the growing international reputation of university in studio-based design research.

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