New design centre set for Surrey

April 05, 2006, volume 35, no. 7
By Terry Lavender

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Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus will soon be home to a new Canadian Design Research Network studying design in fields ranging from architecture to interactive technology to industry. The network is supported by the Networks of Centres of Excellence program.

Under the direction of interactive arts and technology professor Rob Woodbury, the network will bring together more than 100 researchers from across the country working in all aspects of design.

This includes sustainability, advanced design technologies, fabrication, interactive technologies, design visualization and simulation, and visual analytics, says federal Industry minister Maxime Bernier, who announced funding for the network on March 27.

“Good design is the best means to improve the social, physical and economic well-being of all Canadians,” says Woodbury. “Advanced economies depend on good design. Badly designed products, systems and services seldom thrive in the global marketplace.”

The network will receive $400,000 per year from the federal government for the first two years of its operation.

“We hope to strengthen the Canadian industrial base through the introduction of new tools for visualization and fabrication; to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, expertise, best practices, hardware, software, staff and researchers; and to ensure that design expertise stays in Canada by providing a stimulating and rewarding environment and opportunities in design,” Woodbury says.

Besides SFU, other founding members of the design network include Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Université Laval, McGill University, École de Technologie Supérieure, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Ryerson University, Ontario College of Art and Design, University of Manitoba, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, and University of British Columbia.

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