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Join the inaugural research conference of the DFGN a leading network of higher education and research-based innovation platforms in the world
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DFGN.R 2022 -Designing the Future - is the first research conference organised by the Design Factory Global Network. The open event offers the opportunity for all like-minded educators, designers and researchers to share their insights and inspire others on education, methods, practices and ecosystems of co-creation and innovation. 

The conference collaborates with the CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation (CIJ), and selected papers will be published in a special issue in December 2022.

The DFGN.R conference is a two-day event hosted on-site in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Day 1 is built around the presentations of submitted papers, giving the opportunity to exchange ideas and initiate collaboration with researchers from around the world. On Day 2 we dive deeper into the conversation with paper development sessions and related workshops, as well as providing opportunities to get to know the local ecosystem.


The conference is organized alongside International Design Factory Week 2022, the annual gathering of DFGN members. This year's conference is organized in collaboration with Aalto University from Helsinki Finland and hosted by the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. 

Call for Papers

The DFGN.R 2022 is excited to launch a call for papers focussed on "Designing the Future". We’re inviting abstracts of 1,000 words that fall within  three themes:

1) Developing innovation capabilities through interdisciplinary higher education,

2) Methods and practices for co-creating the future, and

3) Ecosystems for design-based-innovation.

Accepted authors are invited to present the abstracts at the conference.


Authors of accepted abstracts are invited to submit a 3,000-word full paper. Full paper submissions will be considered for publishing in a special issue of the CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation (CIJ) scheduled for December 2022. 


The deadline for abstract submissions is June 1st, 2022.

See the 'For Authors' page for more detailed information on the submission process.

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DFGN.R 2022 Themes

Theme 1) Developing innovation capabilities through interdisciplinary higher education 

  • What type of practices and methods are effective in cultivating innovation capabilities in interdisciplinary programs, and what might be relevant in the future?

  • How can innovation eco-systems, hubs, and/or culture enrich learning and vice-versa?

  • How can co-creation be used to effectively engage higher education with external partners (social enterprise, corporations, government, or research institutions) to create innovative outcomes that impact communities and economies in a positive manner?


Theme 2) Methods and practices for co-creating the future

  • How can design methodologies help to create a shared understanding across diverse stakeholders in development and innovation projects?

  • What kind of prototyping and experimentation activities can support effectively exploring possible futures in different types of contexts?

  • How can design methods and practices be combined with futuring, systems thinking or other approaches to effectively promote collaborative change efforts?


Theme 3) Ecosystems for design-based-innovation

  • How can design factories and similar design-oriented innovation hubs contribute to the sustainable socio-cultural and economic strengthening of the region in which they are located? 

  • How can the quality of the regional innovation network be assessed, and how can new working conditions in the networks be established in order to further create value for all stakeholders?

  • How can well-functioning ecosystems stay resilient in the face of future crises, and how can design factories or similar innovation hubs contribute to this resilience?

Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches are all welcome. Papers should represent original, empirical work. We welcome new perspectives in the field of interdisciplinary co-creation and innovation that might fall outside these specific themes, as we love to be surprised! 

The Venue

NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Rengerslaan 8-10, 8917 DD Leeuwarden
P.O. Box 1080
8900 CB Leeuwarden
The Netherlands
Note: More specific information about the venue will be published closer to the event. 


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