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Umeå University

Umeå Institute of Design (UID)

Umeå , Sweden Full Member Institution

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Mission Statement

To design is to be in dialogue with the world around in order to make a difference that matters. To make things, and to make things happen, we engage with matters and materials; with capacities and contexts, with people and practices; with society, industry and environment.

At Umeå Institute of Design, this engagement is the core of our philosophy. Our heartfelt passion for being in dialogue with people and with the world, stems from our Scandinavian tradition.

This is why:

  • our design approach puts people first, from design methodology to aesthetics,
  • we are committed to teamwork and to each individual student's learning process,
  • we work together to create a social and supportive environment,
  • professional design practices have a strong presence in what we do,
  • our projects are thoroughly collaborative, with external stakeholders and real issues,
  • making things will always be a fundamental way of testing and explaining our ideas.

We are an international Swedish school, founded in 1989 with the aim of giving future designers the best possible start of a life-long professional and personal career.  As design is constantly evolving in response to changes in society and environment, education and research at the Umeå Institute of Design aims to be at the forefront of addressing the future foundations of industrial design.

International Role

UID is a highly international learning environment with an avarage of about 30 nationalities represented amongst students, faculty and staff every year. Our applied research projects are often run in collaboration with external partners. Examples of international collaborating partners include Microsoft, BMW, Philips and many more. In adition, work produced by our students is top ranked on international design competitions like Red Dot, Core77 and IF. There are exchange agreements with a selected group of schools in europe and overseas and our 'research through design' activity is visible and influential in the academic research community.

National Role

UID is part of the Umeå Arts Campus at Umeå University, sharing this location in synergy with the School of Architecture, Academy of Fine Arts and Bildmuseet. The school's excellent reputation has been helping to positively project the city of Umeå on a national and international level. This translates in tremendous support and appreciation from the local community. UID often collaborates with local, regional and national industry and institutions. Recent examples of these include applied research projects done together with Umeå Municipality, Kalmar and Volvo Cars. 

Main Focus

Industrial Design on BFA, MFA and PhD levels.

Faculties and Departments

Umeå Institute of Design belongs to the Faculty of Science and Technology at Umeå University.

Bachelor Level Programs

BFA Programme in Industrial Design
UID offers a three-year industrial design programme leading to a Bachelors degree worth 180 ECTS-credits. The programme aims to give a broad basis and a general competence in handling a range of design problems within many different product areas. The programme is run in Swedish and has no tuition fees. Only open for students from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland.
Contact person: Per Sihlén, Programme Director, +46 90 786 70 67, [email protected]

Master Level Programs

UID offers three specialisation programmes open for international students. Programmes have a duration of two years (120 ECTS-credits) where English is the official language of instruction.

MFA Programme in Advanced Product Design (APD)
The philosophy of the program is to combine the knowledge and insights of today's hard-core product design with the possibilities that arise when applying both the physical and digital technology of tomorrow, induced with an universal approach and respect for human and nature that characterize the Scandinavian design tradition. With this as a starting point, the next generation of industrials designers have all the possibilities at hand to build new knowledge and to broaden the scope of product related functionality and experiences.
Contact person: Thomas Degn, Programme Director, +46 90 786 7741; [email protected]

MFA Programme in Interaction Design (IxD)
The Master Programme in Interaction design deals with the relation between people's behaviour and the behaviour of products and services. The interaction designer gives shape to that relation, bringing cognitive, emotional and physical aspects together in a successful whole. We aim to enable designers to perform the balancing act between societal relevance, understanding people and working with the possibilities and consequences of technology.
Contact person: Christoffel Kuenen, Programme Director, +46 90 786 56 30; [email protected]

MFA Programme in Transportation Design (TD)
Our Transportation Design Programme is unique in its scope of interest, dealing with the whole transportation design field in cooperation with industry. Students are educated to have an open mind on both conceptual ideas and detailed realistic design solutions. They are encouraged to have a balanced thinking process where form and function work together.
Contact person: Jonas Sandström, Programme Director; [email protected] 

Research Activity and Main Areas

The primary objective of our research is to develop the design discipline by extending its existing practices and by forming its future foundations. To achieve this, we make use of a range of activities and formats: We educate design researchers in our PhD programme. We carry out basic design research in research programmes. We lead and participate in collaborative projects together with industry and academic partners. We work closely with both national and international design research networks, such as the Swedish Faculty for Design Research and Research Education and the Design Research Society (hosting its 2014 conference).

Depending on the purpose, we make use of a range of different research formats to advance design. We use programs for research efforts that require substantial critical mass to be possible. With a lifespan of three to five years or even more, our research programs are set up to probe deep into the futures and foundations of design. We use different kinds of projects to advance existing design practice as well as its future forms, typically through collaboration with industrial and academic partners. Our projects range from basic research to the applied, and are all significant research efforts often taking years to complete. Additionally, we also make use of more compact formats, events and interventions, for instance to conduct pre-studies or to probe new areas and formats.

Research contact person: Johan Redström +46 90 786 76 89; [email protected]

Doctorate Level Programs

Doctoral Programme in Industrial Design
We use programs for research efforts that require substantial critical mass to be possible. With a lifespan of three to five years or even more, our research programs are set up to probe deep into the futures and foundations of design. 

Current Research Programme:
Johan Redström & Heather Wiltse: Things That Change

Research Projects:
Heather Wiltse & Johan Redström: Design philosophy for things that change
Johan Redström & Heather Wiltse: DCODE
Ambra Trotto: Digital Ethics
Maria Göransdotter & Valentina Auricchio: Designing Design Methods

Subject Areas for Exchange Students

Industrial Design on basic and advanced level

Application Deadlines

Nomination deadline

Autumn term: 1 April
Spring term: 1 October

Application deadline

Autumn term: 15 April
Spring term: 15 October

In event of the dates below occurring on a weekend/holiday, the deadlines are postponed to the next weekday.

Teaching Languages

English and Swedish

Semester Dates

Beginning: August/September

Ending: June

Cost of Living Per Month (Studying and Living)

~7300 SEK/month


Bachelor: 45
Master: 60
Doctorate: 8

Exchange Students

Incoming: 15
Outgoing: 6

Teaching Staff

Professors: 3
Lectures: 20
Part-time Teachers: 7 (of 23)

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