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Professor Saeema Ahmed-Kristensen

Product and engineering design expert joins INDEX team from Royal College of Art

In a sign of the rapid digital transformation of industry and society, the Initiative in the Digital Economy at Exeter (INDEX) has appointed to its team an expert in product and engineering design with a focus on understanding digital innovation.

Professor Saeema Ahmed-Kristensen joins INDEX, which is part of the University of Exeter Business School, from the Royal College of Art, where she was Head of Design Products and a Professor of Engineering Design.

Her appointment in INDEX strengthens its ability to work across disciplines and deepens its understanding of the impact of digital innovation on industry and society.

She brings to INDEX a wealth of expertise and experience: she was deputy head of the Dyson School of Design at Imperial College London and was the first female professor in the management engineering department of the Technical University of Denmark, where she founded and led the Design Engineering and Innovation Group.

She has a BSc in Product Design and received her PhD from the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Ahmed-Kristensen said: “I am delighted to join the Initiative for Digital Economy INDEX, SITE, enabling the possibility to work across disciplines to tackle these research question holistically, bringing my knowledge in understanding user experiences, product development and manufacturing process together with the impact on business models, understanding of data, trust.

“My research in engineering, design and product development increasingly looks at understanding the impact of digital tech on users, and the opportunities to integrate digital tech to create new innovative products – and that aligns very much with INDEX.

“They are a multidisciplinary team with a strong research focus working very closely to industry and public sectors, and that echoes my own approach: working in strong collaboration with industry to inform research – but also to impact practice, to impact industry.”

Professor Roger Maull, Associate Director of INDEX, described Professor Ahmed-Kristensen’s appointment as a “fantastic addition”, saying: “Her skills in product and service design will enable INDEX to extend its application into devices and new datasets. Her knowledge of engineering materials and processes is important as we seek to engage with manufacturing industry on a range of transformational projects.”

Professor David Allen, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the University of Exeter Business School, added: “Professor Ahmed-Kristensen asks the right questions about how products and services work to serve users. Saeema brings an integrative analytic approach to the creative process of idea, design, production and user experience that is rare and valuable. It’s fantastic to have her as part of the INDEX team.”

Date: 15 June 2020