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Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and Enterprise)

Steven KyffinProfessor Steven Kyffin


Professor Steven Kyffin was appointed as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and Enterprise) in September 2016, having previously been Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences since September 2012 and Dean of Northumbria School of Design since January 2010.   

Before joining Northumbria University, from 1998, Steven spent 12 years with Royal Philips Electronics in the Netherlands, where he was Senior Director of Design Research and Innovation, responsible for Design Research world-wide, a member of the Philips Design Global Management Team, and headed up Philips Design's European Commission Research activities.

During the early part of his career, he worked on a wide range of assignments for several London based design consultancies. In 1988 he started his own design company and in the early 1990s joined the academic staff at the RCA, becoming Director of Industrial Design from 1995-98.

Steven holds an Adjunct Professorship in Monash University, Melbourne Australia. He was Chief Scientific Officer (Design Research) and core member of the 'driving team' in the founding of the Faculty of Industrial Design at the Technical University of Eindhoven, The Netherlands, where he now chairs their International Advisory board.

Steven holds an Honorary Doctorate Civil Law. Hon from Northumbria University, a MDes (RCA) Master of Design Degree from the Royal College of Art, London.  A BA Honours Degree, (First Class ) Industrial Design from Northumbria University.

Steven was a member of the Chartered Society of Designers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Arts.

Member of the University Executive Board to co-create and realise the University’s Mission and Vision 2025.

Steven’s role is to provide strategic overview to the Business & Enterprise Team, developing the vision, direction and ethos of the portfolio and function.

Contribute to creating and realising the University’s Vision, Mission through our University strategy and annual operating plans. Build and develop networks with organisations, both within and outside Higher Education, across the world to both guide enrich the University’s Mission. To create and enable:

  • A University wide culture of proactive leadership working with external organisations. (private, public and charitable sectors)
  • Leaders in co-creating inclusive growth and transformation by sharing new thinking, knowledge and ideas to drive economic and social transformation (place and ways of living).
  • A portfolio of ‘world class quality’, relevant collaborative and contract research, consulting, commercialization, venturing and education (CPD, short course, Degree Apprenticeships, PGR and PGT) to drive ‘remarkable impact’.

Member of the University Executive Board to lead the core strategic function and operational processes to co-create and realise (1) the University’s Knowledge Exchange (‘enterprise’) strategy and programme.  Accountable with the Faculty PVCs to the board for realising the academic ambition in our core areas of excellence, the growth in annual income and the development of the KE leadership and operating culture across the seven elements:  collaborative research (inc. KTPs); contract research; continuing professional development (CPD); consultancy; intellectual property; facilities and equipment; and regeneration (European structural funds).

Other responsibilities

  • Steven is Principle Supervisor for a Design Phd student.
  • Steven mentors and coaches several UG and PGT students.
  • Steven is an active conference panel member and session chair for the upcoming MIT hosted DesForM 2019, a Design Research and Professional practice Conference, which Steven co-founded in 2005.
  • Steven chairs two external academic advisory boards, one in the CASS Business School, London and the second, that of the Faculty of Industrial Design University of Technology, Eindhoven.
  • Steven is the University Executive sponsor for the burgeoning partnership with Kunming City, Yunnan, China.
  • Steven is a member of the North of Tyne Industrial strategy, strategy group and leads the task and finish group to create a ‘futures narrative’ and action plan to the develop the NT Digital Sector.
  • Steven is working with several external organisations to co-lead a Newcastle based Adaptable Homes future visions project with Newcastle City Council.
  • Steven hold a few non-exec director roles in Newcastle City.

Research Interests

  • The role of Design: A driver of integrated Strategic Innovation: Bringing Design and its creative means, to the Board Room of Innovation.
  • The nature of “Objects”: Designing “Objects” as Media: Exploring, so as to provide a richer understanding, the future nature of objects as they become dynamic, mediators of ‘content’ and in some way ‘intelligent’. This quest gave rise to the launching of the Design Conference, DeSForM:
  • Being Human: About forging a deeper understanding of the likely consequences, which our Design Ideas (products and Services) have on our future ‘being’, our quality of Life, our behaviour and our happiness


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