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Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and Enterprise)

Image of Steven Kyffin Professor Steven Kyffin


Professor Steven Kyffin was appointed 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 to 1998.

Steven holds an Adjunct Professorship in Monash University, Melbourne Australia and 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 Master of Design Degree from the Royal College of Art, MDes (RCA)  London and a BA Honours Degree, (First Class ) Industrial Design from Northumbria University. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Arts and was a member of the Chartered Society of Designers and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

At Northumbria, Steven’s role is to provide strategic overview to the Business Development and IP and Commercialisation Teams, developing the vision, direction and ethos of the portfolio and function to support the delivery of the University’s Strategic Knowledge Exchange plan 2018-2023, ensuring a match of academic strength with stakeholder needs, civic, government and industrial alike.

As a member of the University Executive, he contributes to creating and realising the University’s Mission and Vision 2025 through our University strategy and annual operating plans.

Steven engages with the local, regional, national and international external and business community, in areas of common interest, to both guide and enrich the University’s Mission and to create and enable; a University wide culture of proactive leadership, working with external organisations (private, public and charitable sectors), inclusive growth and transformation by sharing new thinking, knowledge and ideas to drive economic and social transformation (place and ways of living), the co-creation of 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’ and drive innovation in our chosen areas of academic strength through student enterprise, academic enterprise, business support and a growing number of innovation platforms.

Other Responsibilities include:

  • Principle Supervisor for Design Phd students.
  • Mentor and coach of several UG and PGT students.
  • An active conference panel member and session chair for design research conferences.
  • Chair of two external academic advisory boards; one in the BAYES Business School (formally CASS), London and the second, that of the Faculty of Industrial Design University of Technology, Eindhoven.
  • Executive lead for International Centre for Connected Construction (IC3) Digital Disruption innovation platforms and the China Yunnan programme.
  • Developing Northumbria’s contribution to the ‘Collaborative Newcastle Universities Agreement’ programme of co-delivered Research and Innovation projects.
  • A member of the North of Tyne Industrial strategy, strategy group and lead for the task and finish group to create a ‘futures narrative’ and action plan to the develop the NT Digital Sector.
  • Working with several external organisations to co-lead a Newcastle based Adaptable Homes future visions project with Newcastle City Council.
  • A number of non-executive director roles within other Newcastle City organisations.

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

Contact the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and Enterprise)


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