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Explore our cutting-edge research projects at ImaginationLancaster. We conduct interdisciplinary design and architecture research into current and future challenges, providing fresh perspectives on real world issues that focus on key themes such as sustainability, health, and policy.

During the four years of Beyond Imagination our projects were arranged by clusters and themes. Since then we have evolved our research into Special Interest Groups.

Please browse our research by cluster, theme, or SIG. Alternatively, you can use the general search facility to learn more about what we do.

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Special Interest Groups

Clusters & Themes

Fixing the Future

The Right to Repair and Equal-IoT

Generation Fix

Designing Educational Toolkits to Accelerate Digital Circular Economy Education Within Local Communities

V&A Learning R&D Framework

Embedding research, design and innovation behaviours in the everyday work of the V&A Museum’s Learning Team.


Imagination in £2million Horizon project to help communities work with 100 living labs across Europe to improve our soils.

Cooperativa digital

Creating a community-run mobile app in Brazil

Fashion Forward

Investigating technology and sustainability in the fashion industry

Coastal Nature Lab

Using Locally Sourced Materials for the Creation of Community-Involved Coastal Protection

Accelerating the Data Driven Future of Our Region

Life Survey Impact Accelerator


Towards Resource Responsible Trustworthy Autonomous Systems

Lancaster District Insights Hub

Seeing the bigger picture through data and insights


Salt Marsh Participatory Sensing

Aqueous Futures

using design-led approaches for planning, implementing, and monitoring interventions for climate adaptation in coastal areas.

Digital Good Network

exploring equity, sustainability and resilience in people’s relationships with and through digital technologies

Dalton Square 2032: Beyond SMART City

How 'we' can design futures of connected places

Periplus Workshop, Kardamyli, Greece

Togetherness in design

Healthier Fleetwood:

accelerating the impact of the people’s partnership

Developing a Placemaking Framework with Lancaster City Council

Research Project: Youth, Democracy and Sustainable Citizenship | Dr Mirian Calvo | 28th May 2022

Placemaking with Young Adults Workshop

Research Project: Youth, Democracy and Sustainable Citizenship | Dr Mirian Calvo | 28th May 2022

Sensing the Luminous Night

Innovations in capturing and communicating observations of light pollution in an area of natural beauty


Infrastructure for Port and Coastal Towns

Edge of Reality

Experiencing Data (Un)Sustainability

Beyond Imagination Life Survey

ImaginationLancaster investigates major areas of modern life from health to travel to help shape the future of two local districts

Digital Infrastructure for Reusable Packaging

the World’s First Open Data Standard for reusable packaging

Located Making

Unlocking the potential of traditional material cultures and ensuring they are relevant and meaningful to contemporary needs


Co-designing discovery

Co-Presence in the Architectural Studio

A Study of Co-Presence in a University Architectural Studio using Bluetooth Contact Tracing Technology

The Repair Shop 2049

Exploring the Role of Physical-Digital Technologies in Shaping Future Local Sustainable Repair Ecosystems

Coliving Genotypes

Comparing Distinction, Homogeneity and Integration Values Using Small Graph Matching and Inequality Genotypes

Growing Together: a barometer to understanding and activate social wellbeing through micro-gardening

A barometer to understanding and activate social wellbeing through micro-gardening

Caring – with cities. BA Funding

Enacting more careful urban approaches with community-led developments and policymakers’

Mapping Values

Co-constructing understandings of the good city in pursuit of new models of urban governance

Placemaking with Young Adults | Youth, Democracy, and Sustainable Citizenship

Reimagining the City and Empowering Young People through Engagement with Policy-Makers

Edge of Tomorrow

Understanding the Impacts of IoT Cybersecurity and Datafication to Co-design a Sustainable Edge

Embedding Evaluation Method

A 2-Step Method for Embedding Evaluation into Research Projects

LatamHaus: sustainable, healthy and affordable homes

A network of professionals, academics and policymakers to improve the housing conditions in Latin America

Coliving, Copresence and Conversation

Analysing the Social Networks of Coliving Community Inhabitants


Envisioning sustainable futures together

Designing a Blood Donation Digital Ecosystem to Save Lives

Our Challenge: Blood Shortage Crisis

"My Data, My Self" at Dutch Design Week

Navigate through the co-design experience of three people living with their personal data.

National and international appointments for Imagination senior lecturer

Dr Carlos López Galviz, who now works with the Department for Transport and T2M

Biodiversity Logbooks

Collecting data stories of biodiversity in Morecambe Bay

My Mainway

Consultancy Project

Leapfrog: Improving a million creative conversations

Participants at a Leapfrog and World Design Weeks workshop at Dutch Design Week 2019

A Biodiversity Zoetrope

Stories of birds, shells, fishermen, and sands

Uncanny AI

Exploring the Legibility of AI

A Generative Methodology for the Design and Implementation of Social Distancing Measures in Public Buildings

A Generative Methodology for the Design and Implementation of Social Distancing Measures in Public Buildings

Design for Recovery and Resilience: COVID and post-COVID design

Global design response database for COVID-19

Design Research Works

Design Research for the 21st Century

Design Research Works, a Future Leaders Fellowship

Socio-Technical Design Research for 21st Century Technologies

Al Falah Development, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Urban development in the Middle East

Healthy Hands

Enabling schoolchildren to become actors of change for hygiene and hand-washing in their community


Accelerating the adoption of circular sanitation demonstration systems for improved health outcomes

Seafood Age

Design sustainable, healthier, safer, high-quality ready-to-eat seafood products to meet the 65+ adults’ needs and reduce food loss


Empowering local communities and Government in Malaysia in addressing social issues in ageing and disabilities


Participatory design and community engagement Network on WASH in Lusophone and Francophone African Countries

Damn It | COVID-19 pilot study

A Brazilian-UK resilience research network

News and Possibilities

news and activities that are not part of a project (yet)

Bank of Imagination

The Bank of Imagination: enabling academics and partner organisations to do good stuff for communities

Drone Futures

Drone Futures


Places and Spaces

The Knowledge Exchange: An Interactive Conference

An interactive conference, which took place on the 26th and 27th of September 2013 that explored academic engagement with the creative sector as part of The Creative Exchange project

Telling Tales of Engagement: The Wray Broadband Project

Scarebot and scARecrow Time Machine

Taking the Artwork Home

Digital Curation Through Mobile Augmented Reality

Structural IDEAS Exchange

Research into the exchange of knowledge exchange structures rather than the exchange of knowledge itself

Stories 2 Connect

Enabling children and young people at the margins of society to tell their own stories

Service Design for Innovation

Service Design for Innovation (SDIN) is a European Training Network for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs)

ServDes 2014

Service Design and Innovation Conference at Lancaster University

SDR UK Network

Developing a Network for Service Design Research in UK


Research for Wii Rehabilitation


Working with designers, businesses, academics and the public to promote innovation through new types of Knowledge Exchange


Using design fiction to help politicians and community groups imagine the future implications of policy initiatives in creative ways


Worlds First NFC Mixed Reality Game

Out of the box: assessment of cognitive and usability aspects of in-car navigation system use

Inter-disciplinary project evaluating efficacy of navigational instructions in sat-navs


Open innovation for textile-like materials made on a paper machine

Numbers that Matter

Exploring wellbeing and people’s understanding of data by co-designing a wearable open-data device

Next Generation Sustainability in Civil Engineering

Helping industry, educators and policy makers think about sustainable futures

New Interaction Order

New(?) mobile behaviour in public spaces


The aim of New IDEAS is to develop, refine and disseminate highly innovative knowledge exchange approaches to local, academic, creative industries and stakeholders that are not dependent on delivery by staff from Imagination for success

N8: New Thinking from the North

Stimulating reinvention and influencing economic growth across the North

Mobile Utopia

Co-creation research project to creatively analyse and explore alternative futures

Mapping Imagined Places

Mapping sense of place from literary poems and texts

Mapping Design Innovation Ecosystems

Creating a blueprint for to map and analyse their design innovation ecosystems

London Creative and Digital Fusion

Ambitious £5m project to inspire and support growth in the digital industries

Lancaster China Catalyst Programme

Lancaster University is embarking on a new initiative to leverage its global reach for the benefit of UK businesses

Knowledge Exchange Tools Design

PROUD are designing tools for creative public consultation in a collaboration with Lancaster City Council aiming to improve the uptake, creativity and effectiveness of public consultations

Innovation through Improved Service & Design

A series of 3 workshops aiming at introducing Design to manufacturing SMEs with a particular focus on the role of Service Thinking and Service Design for Innovation

Innovation Theory/Practice

Understanding through challenging: Innovation and Design

Include Me

Co-designing 'phygital' interactions for the social inclusion of children with autism

IDEAS for Impact

A project to help Lancaster University academics undertake high impact, excellent research

IDEAS at Daresbury

Collaboration for Innovation in Knowledge Exchange


Creating Innovative People for Radical Change

Geospatial Ontologies: Place

Addressing ambiguity in geospatial concepts such as 'place'

Free All Monsters!

Location based iPhone game exploring user generated content

Fields of Green

Addressing Sustainability and Climate Change through Music Festival Communities

Environment 2.0

Investigating new forms of social sensing and participatory observation of local environment and climate

Dust Bunnies

Scoping global challenge research in understanding real world interactions (of dust-born infections) in the home in Ghana and the UK through combining innovative design research with health data

DESIS UK Network

Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS)

Design Value: The Role of Design in Innovation

Exploring the roles design can play in innovation and the conditions enabling those roles

Design Routes

Envisioning the future of culturally significant designs, products and practices

Design In Practice

Flexibility and change for healthcare service providers

Design PhD Conference 2013

Design Research for Turbulent Times

Design PhD Conference 2015

Better by Design: Environment, Society & Self

Design for Service Innovation and Development

A scoping study into the contributions Service Design to Service Innovation and Development starting from service idea generation toward service implementation and measurement

Design For Europe

Design For Europe aims to increase the use of design for innovation and growth across Europe

DeEP: Design in European Policy

Evaluating and Sharing Design Innovation Policies for European Growth

Data Arts

An investigation into emerging approaches to visualising, interpreting and using data

Creative IDEAS

Innovative Mechanisms for Knowledge Sharing

Creative Exchange

Creating New Contexts for Growth in the Experience Economy

Creating and Exploring Digital Empathy

How do we unlock the digital communication of empathy?

Co-Design FaceMooc

A 5 week online course for design professionals interested in co-design


The first crowdsourcing jukebox to use NFC technology

Brief Encounters

An AHRC Network project to explore new forms of collaborative design processes


Bridging resources and agencies in large-scale emergency management

Beyond the Castle

Write a new chapter in the history of Lancaster's green space

Behaviours that Stick

Exploring emotional design of sustainable behaviours that stick


moBile sociAl netwoRking supporTing local Ethical tRading

Ageing Playfully

Co-designing interactive and playful ways to encourage dementia-friendly exercise and movement

Active Parks

Co-designing a Health trail in Ryelands Park

A Practice-Based Approach to Sustainable Design Research

Exploring new creative directions in product design to include sustainable principles

A Designerly Approach to Re-imagining Design Procurement

How can designerly approaches develop innovative ways of engendering empathy between commissioning and procurement?

Beyond Imagination

Providing fresh perspectives on real world issues and facilitating innovation

Design Policy Union

A collaborative partnership between Imagination and SUAD, China

What if? Design Fictions for Society

Imagining the future implications of policy initiatives in creative ways

The Funding Accelerator: Co-design for Health and Wealth

a HEIF funded project led by Professor Leon Cruickshank from Lancaster University

Sensors For Health And Wellbeing

Exploring internet connected sensors to improve health and wellbeing


Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Acceptability, and Security

IsITethical? Ethics in Crises

IsITethical? is an invitation to take time, and together support creative thinking for the complexity of ELSI challenges and opportunities. Through co-creative processes we are developing live, lived and living guidance and forming an strategic community intended to support practices in practice

G Up: Ghanaian specific design and innovation models

Working with manufacturing and high-tech company partners to co-design new, locally tailored innovation, design and training

Design Fiction: The Movie

EPSRC Project Highlighting Imagination Research in Design Fiction

An Open Invitation: Understanding Obesity in our City

Learning how obesity is organised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Living Design

The effective use of design for sustainability in maker enterprises


For all your future Design Fiction needs!

Tracing Tides

Mapping flows of Morecambe Bay

Liveable Cities

Transforming the Engineering of Cities for Global and Societal Wellbeing

Objects Of Immersion

AHRC Immersive Experiences Project with BBC, University of Nottingham and FACT

Dust Bunny

Understanding the home as a source of infection of AMR bacteria carried by dust by exploring hygiene practices in different home environments in Ghana

Leapfrog: transforming public sector engagement by design

The Leapfrog project will be a close collaboration with public sector and community partners to design and evaluate new approaches to consultation.

CaTalyST: Citizens Transforming Society (Tools for Change)

This £1.5 million EPSRC funded 4 year project examines the role of new technology in citizen led innovation looking specifically at Manchester and Derry as sites of innovation. The project includes innovation researchers from Computing, Design Sociology and management, all based in Lancaster University.

Design and Production for Sustainability

Research into the nature and form of functional objects

SODA Project

Realising Data together with people living with dementia.

Improve It - Leapfrog project

Testing of a new improvement process to support a collaborative redesign of the leapfrog tools