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New Design Informatics courses

Nov 22, 2012 :

The School of Informatics from the University of Edinburgh and the School of Design from Edinburgh College of Art are launching a series of distinctive Masters Courses to start in 2013 as part of the Centre for Design Informatics.

The Centre has been formed to inspire, equip and nurture a new generation of researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs. It weaves together strengths from the two Schools.

For design: product, media, fashion and architecture.


For informatics: vision and robotics, speech and language technology, sensor networks, machine learning.

There are four parallel degrees, with differing emphases:

School of Informatics

*One-year MSc in Design Informatics
*Two-year MSc in Advanced Design Informatics

Edinburgh College of Art


*One year MA in Design Informatics
*Two-year MFA in Design Informatics

For core course work and projects, postgraduates will collaborate as a single cohort, to develop a firm understanding of how to design and develop a product.

Informatics focus

The School of Informatics is Europe’s largest computing department, highest rated for research in the UK (2008 RAE) and rated Best Overall Department in the 2010 Edinburgh University Students’ Association Teaching Awards.

Students applying for either of the MSc courses should have a scientific background and will study topics including computer vision and robotics, computer graphics, databases and speech recognition. Alongside ‘traditional’ teaching and research, Students will work on case studies with companies to apply data-led design principles to real-world product and service challenges.

Design focus


Edinburgh College of Art is a vibrant, creative teaching, learning and research community, combining world class faculties from the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, art, design, history of art and music.

As with the Informatics focused version of the courses, MA and MFA students will undertake project work and case studies with entrepreneurs and companies to apply their skills to real life design challenges.

MSc in Design Informatics

The one-year MSc in Design Informatics, combines taught classes in robotics, databases, graphics and speech recognition with an entrepreneurship course, company case study, group practicals and a major individual research project.

MSc in Advanced Design Informatics

The two-year MSc in Advanced Design Informatics, combines taught classes in robotics, databases, graphics and speech recognition with an entrepreneurship course, and a summer work placement in the Community of Interest. Students will focus on product design and entrepreneurship with a research project inspired by the placement. Students also have the opportunity to lead a team of first year MSc’s to revise or extend a project.

Example projects areas

*Social media that talks: Combining academic expertise in speech technology and ‘big data’ analytics with innovative start-ups – Cereproc, Feusd, Social Artisan – can we design applications which give a voice to the word of mouth?

*The collective intelligence of crowds: How do we use computer vision and sensor technologies to measure collective behaviour and harness the intelligence of crowds?

Can we engage groups of people in queues or turn citizens into sensors?

*Domesticating the robot: can robotic technology, with its autonomy, intelligence, sensing and networking capability, mediate our relationships with the everyday objects in our homes, and perhaps with each other?

For more information on Design Informatics see: http://www.designinformatics.org/ or visit the University of Edinburgh’s Post Graduate Open Day, November 23:

http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/open-day/on-campus-open-day/intro
 Contacts: Phone: 0131 650 4439. email: j.oberlander@ed.ac.uk
Phone: 0131 651 5717. email: a.murray@ed.ac.uk

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