Research Unit in Design and Communication
UNIDCOM/IADE - Research Unit in Design and Communication - Scientific Production


UNIDCOM/IADE institution inherited the scholarly activities and knowledge skills of two independent university schools: IADE Design School (IADE/ESD) - that instituted UNIDCOM - and IADE Marketing & Advertising School (IADE/ESMP). Both schools were founded in 1993 by IADE, then an independent school of Design active since 1969. Prior to the present fusion, in 2010, the two schools were evaluated by the EUA (European University Association) aiming to set a strategy for the forthcoming 10 years.


1. Strategy

The first goal for the IADE/ESD is to acquire the status of a University Institute, undertaking all required actions and making all necessary adaptations. The second goal comes from the mission statement, appearing in the Self Evaluation Report and already mentioned in the previous chapter: (The mission of the IADE/ESD is) to pursue excellence in higher education and research in the Productive Arts, promoting Design as the core concept that agglutinates Visual Culture, Advertising and Marketing as key transforming productive activities in a creative society”.Finally, the third goal for the IADE/ESD is to be a Creative University, (STANKOVIC, F. chair, MITCHELL, L. LIUKKONEN, J. KLADIS, D. coord., Escola Superior de Design Evaluation Report) in


http://www.iade.pt/media/104745/eua%20evaluation%20report%20esd%20iade.pdf , p. 12)


Having fully attained the first goal and, at least created the motto for the third one, accomplishing the mission for the second goal still remains our main guide-line today.

Further on, the report recommended, concerning research:

In this regard, the evaluation team recommends that the IADE/ESD, through UNIDCOM, develops an effective and efficient research strategy, which should enhance further the strengths of interdisciplinary and which should include effective dissemination practices. To that end, the development of PhD programs is a necessity that can no longer be delayed. For the evaluation team, research topics and research in general should obviously remain the competence of the academic community – to remain consistent with our earlier comments on autonomy and in consistency with the provision of the Law for scientific autonomy of private HEIs. This means that future structure, planning and prioritization of research should be the responsibility of the rector and that research income money (including fees for future PhDs) should stay within research.
In these cited texts we may clearly find the framework that should articulate the research responsibilities attributed to UNIDCOM within the present institutional goals of IADE-U.

It is clear that only through PhD activities the institution’s research goals may be fully attained. However, in the European tradition and present situation, it is also clear that fee funding is not enough for financing the whole scope of research activities and infrastructures. Moreover, socio-economic demands often place research opportunities not directly connected with PhD studies. Therefore, the research groups must coordinately work to gather funding, and scope aligned with Horizon 2020 and Portugal 2020 goals, through international networking exchange, infrastructural dimension and scholarships funding, in which FCT funds play a major role.

2. Research and PhD

In the present curricular program of our PhD on Design- submitted to the national agency for accreditation in 2010, and approved in 2011- the PhD students must be integrated in research groups right aft the first semester and work in residence within UNIDCOM structure. In spite of being based in one research group, students´ research and thesis must also integrate knowledge from at least two other research groups.

Research production is also strongly focused on dissemination and thus mainly devoted to research and publication. Therefore we may expect that the scientific outcome for Portuguese Science and Technology will be, in a primary level, scientific knowledge resultant from the PhD program activities- since the second year of the programs -translated into peer-reviewed international exchange networking, communications in scientific forums (i.e. conferences, etc), scientific publications (i.e. articles, book chapters, books, etc) and finished PhD thesis.

We must stress that UNIDCOM´s present structure is composed by four research groups that integrates PhD students within the general scope of IADE-U’s doctoral program on Design, in addition to the other researchers. Therefore, the PhD program will provide a forum for the articulation of the research groups’ production. It is previewed that some of the research groups will claim other specific PhD programs (i.e. marketing, etc) if justified by their own scientific production, in the period of 2015-2020.

3. Research outside PhD

As stated in the research groups objectives and description programs in the following years there are several research project opportunities to be pursued engaging researchers and other members of the learning community nationally and internationally. By embodying the motto of creative university, IADE-U will continue, through UNIDCOM, to stimulate the connection between academia and society, responding to the demand of commissioned based research from external organizations (e.g. companies and institutions). It is also previewed a growing collaboration with technology based companies requiring design interfaces for their products and any institution needing a thorough investigation on its cultural background and a strategic positioning definition. A particular emphasis is considered for the economic sector and to market dynamics, on SMEs sustainable development and skills and knowledge qualification.

The internationalization through networks, partnership alliances and cooperation with other research centers, organizations and universities is vital to scientific quality of the production of the Unit´s research groups. To be noted that here are several agreements/protocols already established by the UNIDCOM research groups at European and other international level in full development. Others will be pursued.

In short, there are three main focused objectives considered for the 2015-2020 period:

1 Create a continuous innovation flow of knowledge and skills development to the market through advanced master courses and PhD programs.

2 Promote and help SME’s to adopt R&D+i knowledge and skills policies and operational programs, to become more qualified, competitive and innovative.

3 Develop and activate research networks in co-creation between academic based units and market organizations for knowledge development and interchange.

All in all we believe that an interdisciplinary and intergroup fruitful collaboration will always be successfully achieved if clairvoyant leadership will be exercised by a future rector of the university institution, which already has a clearly defined mission, as in the case of IADE-U.

IADE-Instituto de Artes Visuais, Design e Marketing | UNIDCOM/IADE | 2014