About the CDR

The University of Kansas Center for Design Research conducts advanced research that emphasizes the use of design and technology to solve problems related to consumer goods and services. It is housed in the CDR complex located on KU’s West Campus, and operated under the auspices of the School of Architecture, Design & Planning.

Led by CDR director and professor of design Gregory Thomas, students enrolled in the CDR's classes have the opportunity to work on industry-sponsored projects. This creative process emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration, bringing KU students, faculty, and industry professionals from diverse disciplines to create imaginative yet practical solutions to complex problems. These may be "blue sky" applications, to validate a corporation's internal direction or new developments that may help position that company for the future.

This work goes far beyond simple aesthetics. Other elements that might be included in our design analysis include human factors, industrial and interaction design, cognitive psychology, persona and scenario development, economics, and rapid-prototyping. Hybridizing cutting-edge technologies in unprecedented ways is particularly important in our work.

The advanced students admitted to the classes that execute these projects are drawn from programs throughout the university, including industrial design, visual communications and interaction design, mechanical and transportation engineering, architecture, the health professions, and business.

The corporations that cosponsor our research with financial and in-kind support also help us develop accurate and focused problem statements, collaborate with the students during design, and evaluate our work product during final presentations.

Through the transfer of technologies developed at the CDR we are providing benefits to both KU and the public. We are developing new knowledge to advance design methodologies and a generation of designers who will become leaders in diverse professions. 


In top 5 programs nationwide for its emphasis on construction materials and methods —DesignIntelligence magazine
Studio 804 students design and construct a technically sophisticated, sustainable building each year
Four buildings designed and constructed by Studio 804 architecture students have achieved Platinum LEED ratings
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
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