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ESD560 Innovations in Sustainable Design and Manufacturing

Leader:                    Dr Dai Morgan

Timing:                    Michaelmas Term

Structure:                8 Two Hour sessions in Weeks 1-8 plus 2 coursework assignments

This module will review areas of innovation for sustainability in design and manufacturing, introducing perspectives that support the analysis of existing manufacturing systems, the process of developing design responses to sustainability challenges, and approaches to the implementation of new design and manufacturing concepts.

Using a variety of lenses (including business models, life cycle analysis, circular economy and industrial ecology, risk and resilience), contemporary issues in manufacturing will be reviewed and challenges identified. The role of sustainability principles and design strategies in developing responses will be explored and organisational and systemic challenges discussed.                                                                                               

Specific attention will be drawn to structured methods of analysing current practices and using this as a basis for developing innovative responses. This will be placed in the context of pragmatic development approaches such as whole system design.


Contemporary issues in manufacturing and sustainability. Understanding the range of activities involved in manufacturing and design, from understanding markets, users and technologies, through product and process design, to operations, distribution and related services.

Design perspectives. Building on product design principles and strategies, and integrated design implementation, the course will also explore emerging techniques and practices in whole system design. Industrial Ecology and the role of the circular economy. Exploring the science and business of circular models of production, introducing prominent examples and key concepts such as industrial symbiosis. Business models. Using a value exchange perspective to analyse products and service offerings for sustainability challenges and opportunities, leading to the development of new offerings.


  • Examine contemporary issues in manufacturing, taking a whole system approach which looks not just at production but covers the whole cycle of manufacturing related activities.
  • Highlight examples of good design and manufacturing practice in seeking to innovate towards more sustainable outcomes.
  • Provide sustainability lenses and tools for the analysis of manufacturing and design activities.

By the end of the course, students will be able to

  • Analyse existing manufacturing systems, and the products and services they deliver so as to identify sustainability oriented challenges and opportunities.
  • Develop concepts which address identified issues.
  • Articulate implementation challenges associated with new concepts and identify potential strategies for overcoming them, addressing organisational and systemic perspectives.

Coursework – A 4,000 word of coursework will be issued covering the analysis of a manufacturing system and the application of innovations which can support more sustainable outcomes.


    NB: Modules and structure of the MPhil are subject to change year on year. This information is representative of the 18-19 structure but options may not be available in future years.