Dr George Torrens

Higher Education (HEA) / Advance HE, Fellow 2015 PhD, An evaluation of the potential order and priority of research methods, design methods and design heuristics within an Assistive Technology new product development process.
1988 BA Hons, Design for Industry.
1983 Higher Technician Engineering Certificate (TEC 5), Production Engineering.
1982 Ordinary Technician Engineering Certificate (TEC 3), Mechanical Engineering.

Pronouns: He/him
  • Senior Lecturer

Research groups and centres

George Torrens has been a practicing Industrial designer for the last 30 years. He became a lecturer to help designers deliver best practice, particularly in the field of Assistive products. He came to Loughborough University in 1994 learn how to validate the designs he produced. 

He has undertaken research and design development projects for UK Government, charitable and commercial organisations. George has been the named inventor on four patent applications, with two GB and one US patents granted. 

He has been an invited speaker to present on issues relating to Inclusive design and design ergonomics at National and International Events. He has also been a panelist reviewing short listed proposals for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as well as the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council. He regularly reviews papers for over eight academic journals.

He was the founding member of a University spin-out Company, Dexterity Research Limited, which was the first University spin-out company to win a DTI SMART Award. He was a Director and shareholder between 2000-2003. George currently advises inventors on their designs through the East Midlands Development Agency and The Nottinghamshire Business Venture Trust. 

In 2009 he was awarded funding by the Audi Design Foundation to develop the his patented fit-splint, an innovative new method of fracture support for the wrist.

He had undertaken a four year course in Design For Industry at Newcastle Polytechnic (now known as the University of Northumbria), prior to which he served a four-year apprenticeship at British Nuclear Fuels Limted, Windscale and a one year arts and crafts foundation course at Carlisle College of Art and Design.

George has accrued nearly £1 million in research, enterprise, and pedagogic research funding. The funding has been awarded from Ministry of Defence, Industrial partners, Charities, Research Councils and UK Innovate equivalent. 

His research interests include: 

  • Validating design interventions based on principles of social psychology and their associated effect on behavioural change.
  • Optimising the physical and cognitive interaction between people and the products they use.
  • Evaluation of a process model of Business Integrated Industrial Design and Innovation (BIDI) towards more effective design practice within Assistive new product development.

George has published over 35 Journal and 45 Conference articles and produced over 20 principle-proving prototypes and commercial products within nearly 50 associated research and enterprise funded projects. 

Selected grants:
2021 British Council £60,000. Co-I, A User-Centred development of an innovation eco-system to support best practice of sustainable inclusive enterprises in South Africa. 
2019 AHRC, £61,700. PI, Raising awareness of inclusive crafts: building capacity and self-sufficiency of communication within the Charity SAFOD and the Countries of SA.
2017 AHRC, £44,307. PI, Expression of heritage and culture through inclusive arts and crafts design: empowering people with disability to contribute to their community in SA.

Current external research collaborators:
Dr Tim Whitehead, Aston University, UK
Prof Cathy Holloway, University College London, UK
Dr Cheryl Metcalf, Southampton University, UK
Prof Deon De Beer, Central University of Technology, South Africa
Mussa Chiwaula, Southern African Federation of the Disabled, Botswana.
Susan Bevan, Nottingham Rehab Supplies Ltd, UK
Greg Burton, Lester Packing Materials, UK
Dr Rachel Lawes, Lawes Consulting, UK

George has supervised and co-supervised 7 PhD students to completion, acted as internal examiner for 1 student and external examiner for 1 MSc by research. He is currently supervising 6 PhD students.

Additional research links

Current roles:
SDCA Competitions Coordinator

Module leader:
DSA301 Design at SDCA
DSA304 Signs and meanings
DSP861 Business Enterprise and Design parts A & B

Support tutor:
DSP859 Integrated Industrial Design - major projects
DSP114 Inclusive Design for Products and Services
DSC021 Inclusive Design

Personal tutor IID Masters students
Personal tutor Part C ID&T students

Previous roles:
Student Disability liaison 
Year 1 tutor 

Module Leader:
DTA109 Industrial design studies 1
DTB002 Universal design
DTC013 Universal design
DTP853 Inclusive design
DTC010 Universal design
DTB010 Universal design
DTC011 Product Analysis Systems and Artefacts 3
DTC005 Design studies 2

Support Tutor:
DTA002 Design practice
DTA003 Design context
DTC003 Industrial design studies 3
DTC004 Dissertation
DTC005 Design practice 5
DTC015 Final year design practice
SAP101 Visual thinking and communication
DTZ001 2D and 3D Visualisation
Diploma in Professional Studies tutor

Additional teaching links

George has been returned in every Government Research assessment and Teaching assessment since 1994. 

2019 Best paper, Social camouflage: A survey of 143 students of their preference for assistive technology cutlery and the visual mechanisms being influenced. Ergonomics & Human Factors (EHF 2019), Stratford-upon-Avon, 29th April-1st May.

2022 Eric Dickens Memorial Award 2022, (shortlisted) The Packaging Society, IOM3
2021 Eric Dickens Memorial Award 2021 (co-winner), The Packaging Society, IOM3
2019 Eric Dickens Memorial Award 2019, The Packaging Society, IOM3
2018 Eric Dickens Memorial Award 2018, The Packaging Society, IOM3
2017 Eric Dickens Memorial Award 2016, The Packaging Society, IOM3
2019 Runner-up: Innovation in Education and training award, LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards 2019
2016 Teaching and Innovation Award 2016, Usability-NET, Loughborough University.
2014 Short-listed, Category: Social Enterprise, LU Enterprise Awards 2014, Loughborough University Enterprise Awards
2008 Winning team, Audi Design Foundation 48 hour co-design challenge, 2008.
2000 SMART Award, 2000. Department of Trade & Industry. 

Invited speaker:
2021 Webinar on Assistive Technology Business Innovations
2019-2020 Product and Industrial Design Department, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan
2016 Weill Cornell Medical College New York US
2014, Naidex 2014, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, 29th April - 1st May 2014
2012 ALT2012, 1st DMU Assisted Living Technologies Workshop, De Montfort University, Leicester, 20 Nov 2012-20 Nov 2012. 1-34.
2005-7 MSc Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology, Kings College. London
1997-8 BSc Hons in Occupational Therapy, University of Derby 

• Member of the Chartered Society of Designers.
• Member of the Design Research Society.
• Associate member of the Ergonomics Society.
• Member of REMAP GB, Leicestershire & Rutland panel.
• Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College
• Member of the International Peer Review College, UKRI

• Founding member of the British Institute for Design and Disability.
• Member of the European Academy of Design.
• Associate member of the Society for Research in Rehabilitation.
• Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts and Manufactures.

External Grant peer reviewer:

Internal grant peer reviewer:
University Global Challenges Research Fund panel

Invited Reviewer:
2020-2 Invited review panel, Snowdon Masters Scholarships 

Journal peer reviewer:
Applied Ergonomics, Design Journal, Design Studies, Ergonomics, Ergonomics Abstracts, IASDR 2019, International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, International Journal of Engineering Design, Journal of Design Research, Management Sport and Leisure, Neurological Rehabilitation Review, Plos One, Rapid Prototyping Journal, Textile research Journal, Universal access in the information society

External examining (MSc by Research):
2012 Allsop, C.A., An evaluation of base layer compression garments for sportswear. 

Internal examiner (PhD):
2016 Chan A., Perspectives of academics and practitioners on design thinking.

PhD Supervision:
Current supervision 
Principle Research supervisor

  • Simon Downs - Using Complex Adaptive Systems as an Epistemology for Graphic Communication Design Practice 
  • Salma Ghulman - Enhancing Saudi Arabia as a tourist destination: An evaluation of current and future branding approach
  • Yan Huang - Enhancement of emotional intelligence development of 7 - 9 years old children through user-centred participatory design process
  • Nicholas Samuel Johnson - 'It has Got to be Eye-Catching’: An Investigation into Packaging Design Management & Design Practice in the UK FMCG Industry
  • Suhaiza Hanim Binti Suroya - Typographical Factors in Legibility and Readability: Dyslexia as Multicultural Perspective
  • George Whitfield - Why do we teach Police Officers to shoot standing still? A critical review of conventional firearms techniques and training for armed Police Officers under current (2018) United Kingdom Home Office legislation.

Completed students
Principle Research supervisor

  • 2020 Salman Asghar - Cross-cultural Product Semantics: A comparative investigation between the UK and Pakistan into the socio-cultural meanings ascribed to digital images (a case study of manual wheelchair design)
  • 2020 Georgina Palmer - Pot throwing: An investigation into the real-time cognitive and physical processes involved in a craft performance

Secondary Research Supervisor

  • 2019 Beth McMurchie - Forensic Evidence Enhancement using Physiological Aspects and Processes
  • 2017 Mark B. Edwards - An investigation into the relationship between deposited fingerprint and other body characteristics
  • 2015 Matthews Ollyn - Optimising user-centred approaches to design practice in Botswana: Challenges for the Industry and Education Institutions
  • 2013 Gavin Williams - Improving fit through the integration of anthropometric data into a computer aided design and manufacture based design process
  • 2010 Will Tutton - Exploring, evaluating and improving the development process for Military Load Carrying Equipment