Good Design Research


This initiative empowers designers and design enterprises in Singapore to find their unique value proposition in designing for impact through research and experimentation, supported by a wide network of knowledge partners.

About the Programme

There is a growing recognition of the role design can play in addressing complex issues we face in the world today, such as climate change, diversity, an ageing population and mental health.

To stay relevant, designers have to relook at how, why and what they design; re-examine the materials, technology and processes that they work with; and consider the impact their works have on individuals, society and the environment.

These are exactly what DesignSingapore Council (Dsg)’s Good Design Research (GDR) initiative is tailored for. And we’re calling for designers across all disciplines to participate!

We want to

  • Enable you to gain a competitive edge in the global marketplace by designing for impact and sharpening your unique value propositions.
  • Equip you with knowledge, skills, network and resources to develop globally relevant and impactful solutions, while meeting increasingly complex needs of your target users and clients.

Who is this for

Practising designers/ design enterprises with an interest in:

  • Designing for impact through exploration and research
  • Building innovation into their business
  • Cross-industry collaborations

Project Tracks

Dsg is looking to support exploratory projects in these three areas:

1. Identity & Culture

How might good design promote social cohesion, or foster a sense of identity and connectedness? Projects within this cluster may explore emerging contemporary identities, modern interpretation of ethnic cultures and crafts, or community-based participatory design that encourage ownership and interaction.

Example: Bringing about social good via community design by Common Ground

2. Systems & Processes

How might current systems and processes be re-designed to achieve global goals like sustainable development? Projects within this cluster may explore new craft methods, as well as manufacturing, prototyping processes or the adoption of novel systems models that have ecosystem impact.

Example: Designing a sustainable process for Singapore wood by Roger & SonsReframing our perception and treatment of material waste by Offcut Factory; A sustainable retail model that is “Made in Shop” by GIN LEE.

3. New Technologies (material/ digital)
How might we design bold new products, services and experiences through the adoption of technological and digital advancements? Projects within this cluster may explore new materials, application of robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality or IOT.

Example: New sustainable building material by PRODUCESustainable food packaging for takeaway and food delivery systems by Forest & Whale.

Challenge Statements

Designers who are keen to work on impactful design projects but do not have an existing problem statement can refer to our list of challenge statements to submit for the GDR open call.

Our Support

Dsg and a panel of independent design experts will select projects to be supported with up to 80% of the qualifying costs, for activities essential to deliver: 

  • The proof of concept over a maximum duration of 12 months

  • The event-based profiling activity (e.g. exhibition/ talk) within 6 months upon completion of the proof of concept

Assessment Criteria

Each project will be assessed for:

1. Strength and feasibility of proposal

2. Clarity of commercialisation/publicity plan

3. Strength of applied research and approach in addressing global issues and impact outcomes in any of the following areas:

  • Enabling economic transformation
  • Raising quality of life
  • Advancing Singapore’s brand and culture
  • Achieving ground-breaking design achievements

4. Clarity on how the project strengthens the designer’s unique value proposition

Designers and design enterprises will be assessed for:

  • Track record of portfolio over the past two years
  • Design ethos that aspire towards design impact

Eligibility Criteria

  • Practising designers with three years of working experience or more at the time of application
  • Design enterprises that have been incorporated in Singapore for three years or more at the time of application
  • Lead applicant must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident

How to Apply

The application for this round of the Good Design Research initiative is now open!

To apply, please complete the application form by Thursday, 13 May 2021 (23:59 SGT).

You can also download our full information kit here and slides from our Open Call briefing here.

Strong network of knowledge partners

As part of the GDR initiative, you will have access to our strong network of knowledge partners who will be able to help develop your design impact projects through:

  • Meeting experts in the fields of technology, systems and processes, and identity and culture
  • Learning about latest innovations, concepts and tools available to designers
  • Gaining deeper understanding of global issues, challenges and opportunities
  • Exchanging ideas and forming partnerships within a network of impact-driven clients and designers

Strengthen your Good Design Research projects with our resource partners 

If you’re ready to work on a design challenge but need some extra help in developing your proof of concept, here is a resource listing of latest innovations, concepts and tools that you can tap on.

Seeking Knowledge Partners

The Good Design Research programme is also seeking knowledge partners in our efforts to equip designers with knowledge, skills, networks and resources.

Examples of knowledge partner profiles could include:

  • A potential client/investor looking for innovative solutions or are keen to engage with designers who are driven by design impact
  • A bold material or digital technology innovator seeking partners to design for new applications
  • A traditional cultural and heritage practitioner seeking to work with designers to modernise craft
  • A first-mover of new systems and/or processes
  • An advocate of social cohesion and inclusivity who would like to inspire designers with new ideas

If you are keen to engage with the Singapore's design community and would like to be connected as a knowledge partner, please reach out to us at


Stay up to date on the various events we are brewing that aim to share knowledge and build capabilities within our design community!   

 Past Events

 Catch up on our past events here

If you would like to find out more about the projects we supported from the second open call, you can view the results here. Or read about each of the projects from the first open call in this series of stories. For further enquiries regarding the Good Design Research initiative, please feel free to write in to


Recommended reads

Interested in this initiative?

Leave your details with us and we'll get in touch with you.

Subscribe to
our Newsletter