RMIT awarded partner in CoDesign4Transitions doctoral network

RMIT awarded partner in CoDesign4Transitions doctoral network

The new European training initiative will see PhD candidates engage in practical, cross-disciplinary and innovative research rooted in design approaches.

RMIT is one of eight institutions soon to recruit PhD candidates as part of a new doctoral network addressing major global challenges through design research.  

The Sustainable Transitions through Democratic Design Doctoral Network, CoDesign4Transitions for short, has been awarded over €2 million by the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Doctoral Networks through the European Union's Horizon Europe framework. 

Working at the crossroads of democratic innovation and climate transitions, the 13 doctoral candidates will apply innovative approaches in design research to address ambitions of reaching climate neutrality.

The researchers in CoDesign4Transitions’ community of practice will apply several sub-disciplines of design in their projects, including service and systems design, social design, co-design and design for sustainability, while engaging and interacting with stakeholders such as citizens, business and local government authorities. 

“In the context of sustainability transitions, CoDesign4Transitions will provide the doctoral researchers with a unique opportunity to pioneer democratic design methodologies for climate transitions in an interdisciplinary, intersectoral environment,” said Marzia Mortati, Associate Professor at the Politecnico di Milano and scientific coordinator of the project. 

The 13 transdisciplinary PhD projects are themed into three complementary areas of investigation – prototyping, facilitating practice-system change, and materialising and visualising – which will contribute to a new body of design research integrating theories, concepts and methods.

Two doctoral candidates employed by RMIT Europe as part of CoDesign4Transitions will tackle individual projects related to prototyping policy options, and practices for circular design.

The candidates will be supervised by Professor Laurene Vaughan from RMIT’s School of Design in Melbourne with co-supervision provided by Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering.

“Transdisciplinary cooperation is urgent to enable governments, businesses and civil society organisations to develop and deliver multi-level societal solutions to achieve net zero targets laid out in the Paris Agreement,” said Vaughan. 

“Design can play a key role to meeting these goals given its creative capacities for enabling small-scale experimentation to de-risk solutions through prototyping, synthesising ideas and evidence into materials and visual forms for engaging stakeholders.”

CoDesign4Transitions’ comprehensive program of cross-country, cross-discipline and cross-sector cooperation will be supported by 15 associated partners from business, civil society, policy and local government whose knowledge and mentoring will enhance the professional development and employability of the PhD candidates.  

An ongoing training program for the doctoral contingent, organised and hosted by CoDesign4Transitions partners, will include both summer and winter schools and all candidates will undertake two secondments, allowing them the opportunity to develop novel methodological approaches and test their research in an industry or governmental context.  

CoDesign4Transitions is coordinated by the Politecnico di Milano (Polimi) and is a recruiting university alongside Aalborg Universitet, SWPS University, Vrije Universiteit, Syddansk Universitet and RMIT Europe as well as associated partners University of the Arts London and Moholy-Nagy Muveszeti Egyetem. 

10 of the PhD positions are directly funded by the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions Doctoral Network program, two positions by UK Research and Innovation and one position by the Hungarian government.

Recruitment for the network’s 13 transdisciplinary researchers will commence in January 2024 – visit the CoDesign4Transitions website for more information about the projects and how to apply.

In 2023 RMIT Europe is celebrating the significant milestone of its 10-year anniversary of operations in Barcelona. To learn about RMIT's history in Europe and keep up with the latest news and events, visit the #RMITEurope10 webpage and follow RMIT Europe on TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram


Story: Hannah Tribe

EU funding acknowlegment


  • Sustainability
  • Society
  • Design
  • Research
  • RMIT Europe
  • DSC
  • Environment

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.