This is an interesting problem. It is located at the intersection of packaging, logistics, operations management, manufacturing, agriculture, and marketing. It is also related to problems in economic structure, development economics, and global finance. This offers interesting opportunities for research with applied outcomes and theoretical depth.
It will interest a great many people, but there are three universities especially well situated to engage in this work. Finding a PhD student will be a little more difficult — those already enrolled in a PhD program generally have their topics; those still aspiring do not yet have a program or a position.
If I might suggest the next step, I’d contact the most likely universities where you can find the help you seek:
1) Delft University of Technology Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
TU Delft has ample resources with significant laboratory capacity. There is a rich tradition of PhD students who solve significant applied problems with theoretically elegant solutions. You should contact the Director of Research, Prof. Pieter-Jan Stappers. Pieter-Jan will know which groups and labs might best help you. You may know his and Liz Sanders's wonderful book, Convivial Toolbox. To learn more about the Delft approach, take a look at that book or at the Delft Design Guide
Delft has a specific local advantage with respect to regional economics: it is located close by the major Dutch flower markets at Aalsmeer. At the same time, changes in technology mean that flowers grown in Africa can find their way to world markets through other channels.
The combined resources at Delft could give you real opportunities.
2) Loughborough Design School at Loughborough University
Loughborough has a rich tradition of collaboration with industry, doing cutting-edge research that functions in solid applications for real need. For example, a Loughborough graduate won the 2014 James Dyson Award for the MOM Inflatable Incubator.
Loughborough has some exciting new developments under way with a new centre in London that will function at the intersection of design, industry, and finance. They should be announcing a director soon.
In the meantime, I’d suggest contacting Prof. Tracy Bhamra, the dean, or Dr. Erik Bohemia, whose work has been focusing on international issues where designers from around the world address these kinds of problems. You can learn more at The Global Studio:
A group “working globally and in partnership (both remotely and face to face) with overseas designers and suppliers will require language and communication skills that go way beyond current needs, while designing in, and for, different cultures and contexts will stretch designers' abilities and methodologies to the limits.”
3) Swinburne University School of Design
Swinburne University School of Design has three groups that may be able to help you. Dr. Blair Kuys, Head of Industrial Design, has extensive experience working in industry, designing both new products and complete packaging solutions. Prof. Soullis Tavrou of the Product Design Engineering Program works with complex projects that cross these several boundaries. Prof. Kurt Seemann takes on these kinds of projects at the Centre for Design Integration, and he can serve as a link and an integrator for you. In addition, if you need a good PhD student, the person to query is the dean, Prof. Scott Thompson-Whiteside.
Swinburne has three specific local advantages. One is the presence of VISY, one of the world’s great packaging companies. Another is the Pratt Foundation, established by the family that built VISY. It could well be that Pratt is willing to fund the research that you require with support for both the research and for the PhD-Student. Third, Prof. Carlos Serrano is living in Melbourne right now. Carlos is an engineer and former professor of engineering from Colombia. He has extensive experience in packaging. He may have an interest in a project such as this. His wife, Maria Camacho, is earning her PhD at Swinburne, and Carlos may be available for consulting.
Each of these three universities has resources that can benefit you. The resources differ according to local advantages and specific people — in slightly different ways, each of these three can give you the help you need in this challenging project.
Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | Editor-in-Chief | 设计 She Ji. The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation | Published by Elsevier in Cooperation with Tongji University Press | Launching in 2015
Chair Professor of Design Innovation Studies | College of Design and Innovation | Tongji University | Shanghai, China ||| University Distinguished Professor | Centre for Design Innovation | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia
Email [log in to unmask] | Academia http://swinburne.academia.edu/KenFriedman | D&I http://tjdi.tongji.edu.cn
Francois Nsenga wrote:
As some of you remember, since almost a year I have relocated here in
Rwanda, from Canada, and I am actively involved in developing this country
One of the urgent problem we are facing now, is packaging material for cut
flowers as well as for other horticulture harvests. As yet, there is no
flower packaging industry operating in this country. And of course no
design professionals, in all fields including research, are available
around to tackle the problems related to packaging for local and for export
markets. Major problems here are those specific to a land-locked tropical
country, relatively away of the main world business centres.
Would anyone among list members know, and/or have ever worked on this issue
and be prepared to share results and insights? Would anyone among aspiring
PhD candidates pick this challenge and develop a thorough study on the
issue, a study I am sure many others elsewhere will benefit from?
PhD-Design mailing list <[log in to unmask]>
Discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design
Subscribe or Unsubscribe at https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/phd-design