The ISD project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and operated between 2011 and 2015. It was led by University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Metropolitan, in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University.

ISD was a pan-Wales initiative aimed at building design and innovation capacity in the private sector. The team comprised business, design and technical advisors working together to transfer the knowledge of the University and assist businesses through the iterative process of concept generation and development, product testing and prototyping, manufacturing and implementation.

What is ISD?

The Institute for Sustainable Design (ISD) was a European funded initiative that encouraged businesses across Wales to ‘innovate through design’.  ISD encouraged businesses to adopt design thinking and integrate design processes into their core functions by providing the tools for them to become more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. ISD helped business utilise design to add value to their products and services, boosting the Welsh design sector and creating an innovative and design led economy.

Led by Dr Ian Walsh at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea Metropolitan, with a satellite team at Cardiff Metropolitan, the team boasted business, design and technical advisors who worked together to support and mentor business through the iterative process of concept generation and development, product testing and prototyping and manufacturing and implementation. 

ISD worked across the Welsh Government’s priority areas for development.

  • Energy and Environment – working with industry to support the introduction of low carbon design solutions.
  • Life Science – through the provision of specialist design expertise.
  • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing – working with partners in science and engineering to bring innovation in materials and manufacturing to the market place.

Design is essential to the growth and survival of business. Through the delivery of workshops, seminars, demonstrations and collaborations ISD encouraged companies to focus on the design of their products and services to improve their sustainable credentials, create products and services that meet market needs and have real positive benefits for the companies’ bottom line.

The project encouraged and supported the generation of sustainable, innovation-led, design activities which aim to significantly increase Wales’ capacity to meet the Welsh Government’s objective of building an economy based upon knowledge transfer, innovation and entrepreneurship. Key beneficiaries are existing SMEs and individual innovators in the Convergence Area in Wales. The project also acted as a catalyst for inward investment and spin-out businesses.