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Professor Martyn Evans

Professor of Design
Head of Manchester School of Art Research Centre

Professor Martyn Evans

Martyn is a product designer and design academic with 20 years research, teaching and leadership experience and is Head of Manchester School of Art Research Centre. Interested in the strategic role that design commands in a variety of settings, his research explores the approaches designers use to conceptualise and communicate the future. With broad experience of design as future making, he has presented on this and related topics, nationally and internationally. He is a reviewer for a number of research councils and was appointed as a strategic reviewer for the AHRC in 2017.

He has significant experience of funded research projects, as both principal- and co-investigator, including:

- Design Action Plan (£585k, PI) which is developing an action plan for the strategic use of design in the UK (in collaboration with the Design Council).

- Located Making (£249k, CoI) which aims to develop a practical framework to unlock the potential of cultural heritage in China through use of contemporary design approaches.

- Living Design (£580k, CoI) which supports the implementation of design for sustainability in local maker enterprises (<10 employees) to ensure economically viable futures in ways that are culturally relevant and environmentally responsible.

- Design Routes (£768k, PI) which explores the role of design in developing and revitalising culturally significant designs and products and practices and in doing so increase their perceived value.

- Create Fellows: The North West Creative Economy Engagement Fellowships (£330k, CoI) secured a series of post-doc fellowships to conduct collaborative projects to scale up and grow the creative industries in the North West.

- Design For Europe (€3.85m, CoI and Expert Advisor) which aims to increase the use of design for innovation, growth and competitiveness across Europe.

- DeEP: Design in European Policies (€1m, CoI) which created an understanding of the impact of design innovation policies by building frameworks and indicators to evaluate these actions.

Martyn has supervised numerous doctoral candidates in a variety of design areas with majority of these exploring the value that design brings to organisational and societal settings. He has also examined PhDs in the UK and Australia and is always willing to discuss potential PhD research projects.

With an extensive track record of undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum development, and external examinership roles in the UK and South Korea, Martyn has a broad range of leadership experience in UK Higher Education Institutions including roles as head of department and director of research.

He holds the following degrees: BA (Hons) Product Design, Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication (1996); MA Industrial Design, Manchester Metropolitan University (1997); and PhD in Design Futures, Lancaster University (2010).

Research expertise: Design Driven-Innovation; Design Strategy; Design Management; Design Futures; Design Policy; Product Design; New Product Development; Branding and Design; Design Research.


Creating Sustainable Innovation through Design for Behaviour Change

AHRC Design Innovation Development Award The project Creating Sustainable Innovation through Design for Behaviour Change will result in the first holistic overview of design for behaviour change as a driver for sustainable innovation. This will provide a basis for developing successful strategies for the effective implementation of sustainable innovation through design for behaviour change by public and private service providers with focus on SMEs. Details…

DeEP - Design in European Policy

Evaluating and Sharing Design Innovation Policies for European Growth. Funded under the ‘first action plan’ of the European Design Innovation Initiative (EDII), DeEP aims to create an understanding of the impact of design innovation policies by building frameworks and indicators to evaluate these actions both at a macro (regional, national, European) and micro (specific initiative) level. Details…

Design 2020 - The UK design industry in 2020

Design 2020 was a research project undertaken by the Universities of Salford and Lancaster in partnership with British Design Innovation. The overall aim of Design 2020 was to explore potential futures for the UK Design industry. Details…

Design Ecologies

Design Ecologies aims to develop an understanding of the cultural significance of products through exploration of creative urban ecologies in China and the UK. The three-year project is a collaboration between Lancaster University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. Details…

Design for Europe

Design for Europe is a three-year programme to support design-driven innovation across Europe. It is co-funded by the European Union as part of the EU's Action Plan for Design-Driven Innovation. Details…

Design Routes

A 3-year AHRC funded project in collaboration with Lancaster and Leeds Universities, Design Routes aims to explore how design can make a meaningful contribution in developing and revitalising culturally significant designs, products and practices to make them relevant to the needs of people today. The research considers designs and products that are linked to particular places, employ traditional making processes or are embedded in local ways of life. Details…

Living Design

Living Design employing practice-based research to support the implementation of design for sustainability in local maker enterprises (<10 employees) to ensure economically viable futures in ways that are culturally relevant and environmentally responsible. I am Co-Investigator on this 30-month AHRC funded project (£580k) which runs from July 2016 toDecember 2018. Details…

Mapping Design Innovation Ecosystems

Creating a blueprint for to map and analyse their design innovation ecosystems. In collaboration with The National Centre for Product Design & Development Research (PDR), this AHRC funded project aims to create a blueprint for stakeholders across the UK and Europe to map and analyse their design innovation ecosystems to provide input for evidence-based policy-making. Details…

New Thinking from the North

Stimulating reinvention and influencing economic growth across the North. The N8 Research Partnership, a collaboration of the eight research-intensive universities in the North of England (Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York) undertook an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project to identify ways in which academics, practitioners in the arts and humanities and local authorities can collaborate to stimulate reinvention and influence economic growth across the North. Details…


Martyn Evans is a member of the Design Research Group.

A selection of recent research outputs.

Book Chapters

Evans, MD., 2014. 'Researching the Future by Design'. In Rodgers, P., Yee, J. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Design Research, pp. 190-202, Routledge, Abingdon.


Evans, M., Cooper, R., Williams, A., Hodgson, L., Sun, Q., Hall, NA., 2009. 'Design 2020: The Future of the UK Design Industry - An investigation into the threats and opportunities for the UK design industry over the next 10 to 15 years'.

Journal Articles

Mullagh, L., Walker, S., Evans, M., 2019. 'Living Design. The future of sustainable maker enterprises: a case study in Cumbria', The Design Journal, 22 (sup1), pp. 849-862.

Walker, S., Evans, M., Mullagh, L., 2019. 'Traditional Maker Practices and Sustainable Futures. The implications of expertise', The Design Journal, 22 (sup1), pp. 835-848.

Twigger Holroyd, A., Cassidy, T., Evans, M., Walker, S., 2017. 'Wrestling with Tradition: Revitalizing the Orkney Chair and Other Culturally Significant Crafts', Design and Culture, 9 (3), pp. 283-299.

Niedderer, K., Ludden, G., Clune, SJ., Lockton, D., Mackrill, J., Morris, A., Cain, R., Gardiner, E., Evans, M., Gutteridge, R., Hekkert, P., 2016. 'Design for Behaviour Change as a Driver for Sustainable Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities for Implementation in the Private and Public Sectors', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DESIGN, 10 (2), pp. 67-85.

Evans, M., Chisholm, J., 2016. 'Design for Europe: Employing Scenarios to Benchmark the Effectiveness of European Design Policy', The Design Journal, 19 (2), pp. 253-268.

Gancho, S., Cooper, R., Evans, M., 2016. 'The Value and Importance of Design When Branding for Social Media: Models for a Framework Analysis', Journal of Design, Business & Society, 2 (1), pp. 95-115.

Cruickshank, L., Evans, M., 2012. 'Designing creative frameworks: design thinking as an engine for new facilitation approaches', International Journal of Arts and Technology, 5 (1), pp. 73-73.

Choi, Y., Lim, S., Evans, M., 2012. 'Supporting Design: National Business Support Programmes in the UK and South Korea', The Design Journal, 15 (1), pp. 79-104.

Lee, Y., Evans, M., 2012. 'What Drives Organizations to Employ Design-Driven Approaches? A Study of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Brand Development', Design Management Journal, 7 (1), pp. 74-88.

Sun, Q., Williams, A., Evans, M., 2011. 'A Theoretical Design Management Framework', The Design Journal, 14 (1), pp. 112-132.

Evans, M., 2011. 'Empathizing with the Future: Creating Next-Next Generation Products and Services', The Design Journal, 14 (2), pp. 231-251.

Choi, Y., Cooper, R., Lim, S., Evans, M., 2011. 'The Relationship Between National Policy and Industrial Development in the UK and South Korea, 1940s-2000s', Design Issues, 27 (1), pp. 70-82.

Choi, Y., Cooper, R., Lim, S., Evans, M., 2010. 'National Support for Design: Developing Propositional Models', Design Management Review, 21 (4), pp. 60-69.

Ramduny-Ellis, D., Dix, A., Evans, M., Hare, J., Gill, S., 2010. 'Physicality in Design: An Exploration', The Design Journal, 13 (1), pp. 48-76.

Conference Papers

Na, J., Evans, M., Zitkus, E., Whicher, A., Walters, A., 2018. 'Design in Action: Understanding the Drivers and Barriers to Strategic Use of Design for Innovation', Next Wave: The 21st DMI Academic Design Management Conference, London, 1/8/2018 - 2/8/2018, pp. 127-140.

Mullagh, L., Walker, S., Evans, M., 2018. 'Touch of Genius: Traditional craft, its relationship to place, culture and nature, and design praxis', Cumulus Wuxi 2018: Diffused Transitions, Design Opportunities, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China, 31/10/2018 - 3/11/2018.

ZitKus, E., Na, JH., Evans, M., Walters, A., Whicher, A., Cooper, R., 2018. 'Understanding How Design Action Plans Support the Strategic Use of Design', Design Research Society Conference 2018, Limerick, 25/6/2018 - 28/6/2018, 2, pp. 780-791.

Niedderer, K., MacKrill, J., Clune, S., Evans, M., Lockton, D., Ludden, G., Morris, A., Gutteridge, R., Gardiner, E., Cain, R., Hekkert, P., 2014. 'Joining forces: Investigating the influence of design for behaviour change on sustainable innovation', in Proceedings of NordDesign 2014 Conference, NordDesign 2014, pp. 620-631.

Hall, NA., Evans, M., 2005. 'Tales of the Unexpected: Understanding Emergence and Its Relationship to Design', International Conference of Computational and Cognitive Models of Creative Design VI, Heron Island, Australia, 10/12/2005 - 14/12/2005, in Computational and Cognitive Models of Creative Design VI, Gero, J & Maher, L (eds), University of Sydney, Australia, pp. 319-331.