|dc.description.abstract||Effective university-industry collaboration has become a major focus for governments in
recent years. Universities are increasingly expected to play a greater role in the
innovation system and evidence their contribution to economic development. At the
same time, the growth in research quality assessment exercises makes it imperative that
all opportunities to discover excellent research with the university context are uncovered.
This research was conducted at a commercial design consultancy based within an
academic institution, PDR (International Centre of Design and Research). The interaction
between applied research and commercial consultancy within PDR led to a recognition of
research potentially existing within commercially designed output. The Research
questions posed within this PhD thesis are:
Research Question 1: How best to recognize where commercial outputs can be
characterized as research?
Research Question 2: Where a research characterization is met, how best to recognize
and describe the research quality?
The aim of this research is to identify whether research value exists within commercial
design outputs produced in an academic context and how the quality of this research
could be assessed.
This thesis adopts grounded action research inquiry using semi-structured interviews to
explore the barriers to, and drivers of, reconciling commercial design activities with
research quality in design.
The thesis uncovers opportunities to capture value beyond the commercial impact, which
university-industry collaboration projects are initiated for. The research led to the
identification of a knowledge creation spiral resulting from the knowledge and technology
transfer activities taking place within the commercial design projects in a university industry context. In some instances, this new knowledge can be of excellent research
quality if it meets the necessary research criteria.
A discovered barrier to the identification of research quality within in commercial outputs
was the lack of granular data on the projects thus demonstrating appropriate rigour. It
was concluded that there is a need to build a documentation framework to capture the
needed information and assess the research potential of commercial design projects from
the outset, in order to capture the exchanged and created knowledge. A prototype of a
documentation process was developed and tested with two of PDR’s lead designers. The
documentation process barriers are limited to technical issues, and its implementation
could assist in learning and development, as well as generating new knowledge of