Skip to content
Professor Peter Ford

Peter Ford

Associate Dean for Practice

School of Art & Design

Staff Group(s)
Academic Division Employment, Learning and Knowledge Management (Research Group)


Peter Ford joined Nottingham Trent University in September 2018 as Professor of Design where he heads the recently established Design Matter research group, a product design and research group investigating approaches to New Product Development. He is also taking a lead role within the School of Design on its applied, Practice Research focus and approaches to staff mentoring prior to REF 2021 UoA32 submissions.

Professor Ford’s research largely centres on working with SME’s to make effective use of design within their New Product Development strategies, having assisted numerous SME’s in recent years to do so. As such his work is very outward facing and externally oriented. Typically, this led to an ‘outstanding’ impact case study in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, based on design support in business.

In early 2018, Professor Ford was successful (as lead PI) in securing a £4.65 million enterprise grant from Research England to deliver the Connecting Capability Fund (CCF) project, ‘Impacting Business by Design’ project, again aimed at helping SME’s make effective use of design, thus enabling Professor Ford to continue his work with SME’s while at NTU.

To this end Professor Ford will also be collaborating with NTU’s Advanced Textiles and Medical Design research groups. He will also be working closely with NTU’s Medical Technology Innovation Facility (MTIF).

Professor Ford is also involved in the development of undergraduate and post graduate design courser and in PhD supervision. He is currently interested in PhD supervision in the areas of (see research areas).

Career overview

Professor Ford’s career began with ten years of product design consultancy for the international consultants BIB, (Butler, Isherwood and Bartlett) and Jones Garrard, working on products for companies that included Minolta, Ferguson, Duracell, British Telecom, Pfizer, and Black and Decker, working on contracts in Japan, the USA and the rest of Europe. He joined De Montfort University in 1991, becoming Professor of Design in 2010. There he was involved with the development of undergraduate and post graduate product design courses, and higher degree supervision and examining. He established the Design Unit (an industry facing design research and consultancy group) in 1992 which undertook projects totalling over £8 million of design research support for industry during his tenure ( Peter has advised Government bodies on design in the UK, Oman, and Indonesia and regularly speaks at international design conferences and publishes in international journals on design support for industry.

Research areas

Professor Ford’s interests are broad, but generally relate to Product Design and the New Product Development processes. In particular, these interests revolve around the following themes:

Design Supporting Business; PI on the following projects: -

  • Numerous directly funded Private Sector design research projects (1991 to present) – approximately £1.5 million
  • Impacting Business by Design (2018 to 2021) - £4.65 million
  • ERDF, Regional Design Support scheme (2008 to 2012) - £900 thousand
  • Manufacturing Advisory Service Design Pilot Scheme (2007 to 2009) - £350 thousand.
  • Improving Business by Design (2004 to 2008) - £1 million


Sustainable Design and the Circular Economy (Product and Retail): -

  • The British Telecom, ‘Using 100% recycled ABS project’ (2013 to 2015) - £140 thousand.
  • The Innovate UK, ‘sustainable, short life retail display system’ (patent GB2505923)
  • The East Midland Development Agency (EMDA) funded Deep Resource Efficiency (RED) efficiency project (2010 to 2012) - £350 thousand.
  • The EMDA funded RED project (2008 to 2010) - £250 thousand.
  • The EMDA funded Retail Lab (2006 to 2009) - £1 million.


The Use of Additive Manufacturing in Design: -

Various projects and patent GB GB2517490


External activity

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

Visiting Professor, Newcastle University (New South Wales).

Currently External Examiner – Lancaster University (BA Design - undergraduate)

Currently External Examiner Brunel University London (Product Design BA and BSc – Undergraduate)

Sponsors and collaborators

Current collaborators include:

Brunel University London, De Montfort University, Newcastle University (New South Wales), the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), the British Industrial Design Association (BIDA), Nottingham City and Nottingham County Councils, the Leicestershire LEP.