Professor Rebecca Cain

  • Associate Dean for Research and Innovation


Prof Rebecca Cain is Associate Dean for Enterprise and Professor of Transdisciplinary Design in Loughborough Design School. Prior to this she held academic positions as a Reader in Experience Design (Loughborough Design School 2017-2019) and prior to that in WMG at the University of Warwick – as Associate Professor (2012-2017) and Assistant Professor (2010-2012), and post-doc positions as a Senior Research Fellow (2006-2010) and Project Engineer (2005-2006). Rebecca is a designer by training, with specialism in human-centred and experience design and holds a First Class degree in Industrial Design and a PhD in participatory design, both from Loughborough University (2001 and 2005).

Rebecca’s expertise is in transdisciplinary design research - bringing together industry with academia to create and lead diverse multi-disciplinary design research teams across the healthcare, automotive, mobility, rail and energy sectors.  Her personal research funding comes from the EPSRC, Innovate UK, the AHRC and through industry contracts. She has accrued research funding worth over £3.8m (over which £2.6m is as Principal Investigator) on projects with a total worth of over £6.5m

Rebecca’s research interests are driven by using design to improve people's experiences, and ultimately their wellbeing. Her research uses creative and highly participatory methods to engage people in co-designing new experiences for products, environments and services. She has a particular interest in design for subjective wellbeing, future manufacturing and mobility and the issues of technology acceptance related to these. Her research blends design, architecture, engineering, psychology, ergonomics, business, science and computer-science. She has worked with physicists, social scientists, health professionals and artists to deliver projects across sectors from healthcare, automotive, rail and energy, where she has transferred knowledge into large organisations such as the NHS and Jaguar and Land Rover, and into SMEs

Rebecca has held an EPSRC Challenging Engineering Fellowship award worth £1.3m (2009-2015) which launched the development of her research group. From 2012-2017, Rebecca led the multi-disciplinary Experiential Engineering Research Group in WMG at the University of Warwick.  Rebecca has supervised 9 PhDs and EngDs to completion, often in collaboration with other academic departments. She is a human-centred design educator on undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and professional programmes and a spokesperson and advocate for women in design and engineering. 

Rebecca currently holds a number of positions with external organisations, including the Design Research Society (Honorary Secretary 2009-Present); EPSRC Peer Review College (2010-Present); EPSRC Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research; Founder and convenor of SIGWELL: the Design Research Society Special Interest Group for Wellbeing, Happiness and Health.  Rebecca has been a member of several international conference committees (e.g. MinD2019, ADIM 2019, DRS2016, DRS2018) and was Associate Editor for Ergonomics (2017-2018).  She is Co-Chair of DRS2020 in Brisbane Australia and her forthcoming book Design for Wellbeing is to be published in 2020.