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Frequently Asked Questions

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What Is Multidisciplinary Innovation?

MDI is a one-year Masters programme focusing on innovation practice. The course is practical and project focused. The course is multidisciplinary and takes a design-led approach to tackling complex problems with creative solutions. Theory and knowledge are used to support the evolving innovation practitioners (students) as they apply themselves in teams to a series of projects with external organisations. These student-led innovation projects aim for social, organisational and business innovation where the MDI team co-creates with partnering organisations to think creatively about socially responsible solutions.

Who is Multidisciplinary Innovation for?

We welcome all academic and professional backgrounds. The programme is for people who are interested in applying themselves, their knowledge, experience, expertise and viewpoints in creative and analytical practices to positively impact systems, networks, organisations, services and products for the benefit of communities of people. The programme is for people seeking a career path or experience in innovation.

What is a multidisciplinary approach?

A multidisciplinary approach is one that not only considers, but utilises more than one field of knowledge to ideate a solution. By combining the knowledge of Technology, Design, Business etc. creative development is given depth that shines through in the final project outcome. This approach encourages you to consider situations from perspectives and with priorities different to your discipline; it takes into account the views and values of a broad range of project stakeholders that may have been otherwise overlooked. In short, a multidisciplinary approach is one that facilitates responsible innovation.

What if I'm not a designer, an engineer or have a business background?

That’s okay; a range of disciplines is what MDI needs to run, we need a range of people who think differently to each other.

What kind of projects do clients give you?

MDI projects all respond to our clients’ needs and challenges. This is really important. We only work on projects that really matter to a community or organisation or collective. Through our work we aim to stimulate change and progress towards innovation; we generate insight into and about the situation and context; we develop strategy, ideas and plans for new forms of value creation; and produce communications that persuasively illustrate and argue for action. 
To do this we engage in a variety of activities, for example: explorative and creative stakeholder research, internet-based research, prototyping, mapping; product design, graphic communication and animations; business models, marketing and brand development; systems and service creation, stakeholder workshops and behaviour nudging. Where possible we respond in an integrated manner, maximising the skill set of the student cohort, stimulating organisations, communities and teams with new ideas about desirability, feasibility and viability.

What does it involve?

On a day-to-day basis we have a mixture of taught sessions and self-led project-based work. MDI is fast-paced and exciting. Design thinking drives our approach to tackling unique projects.

What type of team working is involved?

Students work in teams of various sizes and are encouraged to work with people from other disciplines. This is because there’s no-one better to learn from than your peers. By working with different people you are able to develop your own team skills.

What am I going to learn?

On MDI there are four knowledge stands which support your progression as an innovation practitioner. Planning & Professionalism, develops understanding about business models, business plans and project planning; it provides theory about brand development and marketing strategy. Self & Community helps you better understand and develop your professional self, to evolve as an innovation practitioner, it also helps you understand team and interpersonal dynamics and leadership. Science & Technology Futures reviews emerging technologies and science that have the potential to transform the way we live, work, play, and make, it also provides tuition in technologies to support innovation practice and project work. Methods & Communication explores, tests and reviews tools and techniques to support innovation practice; to creatively generate project data, insights and ideas; to support analytical review and evaluation; and to consider persuasive communication mechanisms for project development and presentations.

Who teaches me?

There is expertise from a variety of schools, including Business and Design. MDI also benefits from visits from and discussions with global leaders and industry guests.
Click here to visit our staff profiles
Find out about MDI guests click here.

Why do MDI?

Multidisciplinary Innovation offers the chance to develop personally and professionally; you develop personal and professional self awareness. You may choose MDI to enhance your current disciplinary expertise whilst gaining know-how in other disciplines or perhaps as a facilitator for a change in career path. With expert tutelage, high-tech facilities, sessions from industry leaders and opportunities to innovate for renowned clients such as Unilever, Mars and British Airways; **Why would you not do MDI?**.

What kind of people will I be working with?

MDI is different every year. The student group will have a unique make-up each year. Different disciplines, different personalities, different priorities. The projects and clients change too, but what always seems consistent is the team’s drive and desire to make positive, tangible change. To playfully explore and support one another through the trials and challenges that are faced by the group and by individuals as they develop.

What do I get at the end?

You will receive a Master’s Degree; this may be a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Science (MSc). Which degree you are awarded depends upon you, the research methodology you develop for your thesis and the approaches you apply to projects.

What career will it lead to?

The careers of our graduates are as diverse as they are, but four different employment paths stand out. (1) Regardless of your discipline, MDI opens the door to innovation-based careers in a consultancy or within an established organisation. (2) Getting out there and innovating from the ground up; starting an enterprise or small business. (3) Satisfying a hunger to know more; some students tackle a PhD becoming an expert in their field. (4) Many of our graduates follow a career path based on their previous discipline entering fields such as Industrial Design, Interactive Media Design, Management, Marketing, Computing, Engineering, Psychology etc.

Where is Northumbria?

We are based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, in the North East of England. Newcastle upon Tyne is regularly named as the UK’s Best University City by MSN Travel Guide. This is partly due to the city’s compactness, which makes it large enough to be vibrant and exciting while small enough to feel like home. It’s also due to the sheer number of students: one in every six people in the city is a student.

How often do I need to be in?

It’s a self-led course so when there are no scheduled taught sessions it is down to you, but it is treated like a 9-5 job.

Do you offer student accommodation?

There is plenty of accommodation (private and University) nearby. Even if your accommodation is further away, don’t worry, transportation links around Newcastle are great. Visit our accomodation page.

Will I get paid?

No, this Master’s is not paid but the experience you will gain is invaluable.

Is the programme for International students?

Diversity is really important to us. It helps our teams develop sophisticated and sensitive responses to client project briefs. As well as academic diversity we also aim to achieve international and cultural diversity. Typically our cohort is made up of 70-80% UK nationals and 30-20% international students, who join us from across the globe.


Alumni Discounts

Graduates of the University are entitled to a 20% alumni discount on Masters study at Northumbria (T&C’s apply).

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