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FIRA teams with Brunel University to offer free design projects to member companies

The Furniture Industry Research Association's Ergonomics Unit and the School of Engineering & Design of Brunel University are collaborating on a series of student projects, offering FIRA members the opportunity to benefit from a valuable free design and development service.

FIRA is looking for short research and design projects which would constitute coursework assignments for about 60 design students. Brunel Design Department has some of the top design students in the UK and FIRA is linking with the teaching team to bring real-life design issues to these students.

The aims of these projects are to identify problems of user interactions and recommend solutions to improve the design of a product by means of ergonomics principles and methods. These projects could be either in terms of gathering information, a survey on user needs or physical improvements to a product based on ergonomics and verified by user trials. A fundamental learning outcome is that the project must cover both physical and cognitive ergonomics issues.

Levent Caglar, Head of Ergonomics at FIRA explains: "Ideally we're looking for companies which need a human-centred evaluation of their product. These students are a mix of BSc Product Design and BA Industrial Design & Technology students, and we're sure they'll be able to provide some excellent input to participating members."

Because of the timeframe - the projects will last four or eight months depending on the type of project - a physical working product is unlikely to be expected; however, a foam or cardboard conceptual model showing a mock-up of the product for its ergonomic analysis and user trials could be achieved depending on the complexity of the suggested project.

The deadline for applications is 16 September 2010. Interested companies should apply direct to Levent Caglar at FIRA, at:

E: lcaglar@fira.co.uk; or FIRA customer service on:

T: 01438 777700

27th August 2010




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