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ESD560 Innovations in Sustainable Design and Manufacturing

Leader:             Dr Dai Morgan

Timing:                         Lent Term

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

This module will review innovation for sustainability in design and manufacturing, introducing approaches to analyse existing manufacturing systems, formulate potential design responses to sustainability challenges and exploring 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, 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.

Understanding the implications of sustainability constraints – such as climate change targets on materials usage in industrial systems.

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 network, life-cycle and service perspectives to analyse products and service offerings for sustainability challenges and opportunities and developing new offerings.

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.


  • Examine contemporary issues in manufacturing, taking a whole system approach which looks not just at production but covering 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 systematically address identified issues.
  • Articulate implementation challenges associated with new concepts and identify potential strategies for overcoming them, addressing organisational and systemic perspectives.

Coursework – A single term paper analysing and responding to sustainability aspects of a manufacturing system.


    NB: Modules and structure of the MPhil are subject to change year on year. This information is representative of the 17-18 structure but options may not be available in future years.