PDR leading €1.7m EU Project on Design

By: Lucinda Dargavel Date: 08/12/2016

PDR, the International Centre for Design and Research, at Cardiff Metropolitan University has secured a €1.7m project on design and innovation funded by INTERREG Europe. The project Design4Innovation is led by PDR over five years involving eight partners including regional governments, design centres and innovation agencies.

The aim of the project is to support governments to develop, implement and monitor Design Action Plans, to integrate design into innovation support programmes and for 1,600 companies to leverage competitiveness through design.

Design is an approach to problem-solving that can be applied across the private sector to drive innovation in products, processes, services and systems by putting the user first. The European Commission has developed an Action Plan for Design-driven Innovation recognising that companies strategically investing in design tend to be more profitable and grow faster.

The Commission encourages all EU countries and regions to develop their own Design Action Plans. However, the route to building capacity for companies to use design is not clear for policy-makers. As such, the Design4Innovation project will directly address this gap in knowledge.

"PDR will support Welsh Government to better understand how design can achieve innovation priorities for Wales."

"For example, by supporting 200 companies to benefit from design support within innovation funding programmes to bring new products and services to market that better respond to user needs."


The project targets are ambitious - each of the eight partners will integrate design into their innovation support programmes delivered as part of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) instruments and consequently 1,600 companies will participate in the programmes and 80% of these companies will implement new products and services by 2021.

"PDR has an established track record in the successful delivery of European projects and were finalists for the 2011 RegioStars award for impact."

"Across Cardiff Met there are a number of European projects that enable networking, collaboration for excellent research and impactful results. Anna and her team have done an excellent job in securing these funds which are appropriate for extending their policy work across Europe."



"There were 211 applications to this round of INTERREG Europe and 66 projects were approved. Furthermore, PDR is one of only eight UK lead partners."


Outputs from Design4Innovation will include thematic workshops using hands-on methods to facilitate shared learning among policy-makers, policy booklets for governments to integrate design into ERDF instruments, mini films of companies using design, 8 Design Action Plans and a conference in collaboration with the European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN).


1. PDR, Cardiff Metropolitan University
2. Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Flemish Government, Brussels
3. KEPA Business and Cultural Development Centre, Greece
4. Investment and Development Agency of Latvia
5. Culture Directorate, Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, Malta
6. Marshal’s Office, Government of Silesia, Poland
7. Galician Agency of Innovation, Spain
8. Barcelona Design Centre, Spain
Dr Anna Whicher, Head of Policy, PDR, Cardiff Metropolitan University: [email protected]
Mr Piotr Swiatek, Research Assistant, PDR, Cardiff Metropolitan University: [email protected]

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