Debra Lilley is a Senior Lecturer in Design. She has an MRes in Innovative Manufacturing, Sustainability and Design and completed the 1st UK PhD in Design for Sustainable Behaviour, an emerging field of research seeking to reduce the environmental and social impacts of products by moderating users’ interaction with them.

Debra is currently Co-Investigator on CLEVER: Closed Loop Emotionally Valuable E-waste Recovery and CORE: Creative Outreach for Resource Efficiency. Both are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).  

Debra has extensive knowledge and experience of applying user-centred sustainable design methods and tools to generate behavioural insights to drive design development of less-resource intensive products. Her current research focuses on design for sustainable behaviour and product lifespan extension specifically, and the sustainable design agenda more broadly.

Research Group: Sustainable Design.

CLEVER: Closed Loop Emotionally Valuable E-waste Recovery” (2013-2016)

A three-year multi-disciplinary research project in collaboration with several UK Universities and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The CLEVER project investigates how materials and product service systems for portable electronic devices can be developed to optimise recovery and reuse of components and materials, particularly rare earth metals and extend product lifespans. In this project the product is conceptualized as having three layers - the 'skin' - the outer casing, or the part that the user interacts with directly; the 'skeleton' - the critical support components inside the device; and the 'organs' - the high-tech electronics that deliver the function and which need to be the most up-to-date parts of the device. It is envisaged that within the new PSS component parts with 'low-emotional value', but requiring regular technical upgrade (such as the printed circuit board or flexible circuits) will be owned by manufacturers and leased to customers, and potentially "high-emotional value" components (such as the outer casing) will be owned and valued by the customer, so that they become products that are kept for long periods of time. For more detailed information on CLEVER please visit the EPSRC grants on the web.

 CORE: Creative Outreach for Resource Efficiency” (2013-2016)

CORE (Creative outreach for resource efficiency) is a 3 year project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in collaboration with several UK Universities. The aim of the CORE project is to support the delivery of a vibrant and creative outreach programme to maximise public and user engagement in resource efficiency.
To achieve this, the project will support public and user engagement activities, organise specific events and activities, establish a new, one-stop online shop for information, dissemination and knowledge-sharing, support targeted dissemination, sustain and develop a healthy, collegiate community of practice; and communicate news of outreach, collaboration, enterprise and research opportunities.


Design for Sustainable Behaviour, Emotionally Durable Design, Resource Efficiency, Product Lifespan Extension, Design Research.

Semester 1:

  • DSB009 Industrial Design Studios 2
  • DSB013 Sustainable Design
  • DSP810 Enterprise and Business
  • DSP851 Design Research Methods
  • DSA003 Design Contexts

Semester 2:

  • DSP802 Design for Behaviour Change
  • DSP866 Interaction Design Major Project 
  • DSP811 Group Project

PhD students:

  • Marie Lefebvre
  • Alan Manley
  • Danya Hakkey (Virginia Tech, US)