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SIG Setup Guidelines

Creating a DRS Special Interest Group

DRS Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are specialist global research communities within and across the many disciplines of design research. SIGs engage with their communities through a broad range of activities including (but not limited to):

  • Building platforms of engagement;
  • Organising events; 
  • Creating publications.  

SIGs are led by an organising group and manage their own membership. The DRS encourages SIGs to collaborate together in recognition that contemporary design research blends disciplines and perspectives.

Our approach in building new SIGs is to co-create proposals with proposers. If you have an idea for a SIG please contact us and we can guide you through the application process so that your proposal is as strong as it can be and fits the scope and objectives of the DRS.

The guidelines that follow provide an overview of what is required for an application together with a description of what is expected once SIGs are approved and operational.



SIGs should be concerned with a defined or developing discipline area within the broad field of design research. We particularly encourage applications in new and emerging areas. SIGs should be international in scope, with diverse leadership not bounded by institutional or individual interests. The primary objective of all SIGs is to foster open collaboration and exchange between DRS members.


SIG Membership and Organisation

SIGs comprise of an organising group, who will manage the activities and membership of the SIG and are members of the DRS. There are no formal requirements to become a member of a SIG, though it is expected that SIG members will also be DRS members.


Starting a new SIG

Any member of the DRS can propose a new SIG by completing the new SIG proposal form. Informal enquiries can be made initially by contacting the DRS Administrator (

New SIG proposals are initially assessed by the Executive Board of the DRS and if thought appropriate further developed through a co-design process with a member of the Board before a final approval decision is made. The Executive Board are responsible for monitoring the activities and progress of the SIG and can recommend ending a SIG when appropriate.


SIG Operation

Once approved by the Executive Board, new SIGs receive: a visual identity in consultation with the DRS graphic designer, a page on the DRS website, and a discussion forum (open only to members of the DRS). DRS and SIG visual identity should be used when promoting and holding activities. SIGs are free to develop their own platforms for communication and exchange linked to their webpage. The DRS will endorse, promote, and support the activities of the SIG.

SIGs gain access to resources such as a DRS marketing, a SIG Zoom account, event management, and mailer system. SIGs can apply for seed funding should reasonable additional costs be incurred. 

SIGs should be financially self-sustaining, raising any income through the events and activities that they hold. The DRS website has an event management module that can be used to register participants and take payments. Guidance about peer-review and budgeting can also be obtained from the Executive Board. If these options are taken up the DRS will make an administrative charge that should form part of any event registration fee (generally 5%).

Publications arising from SIG conferences and events, and appropriately peer-reviewed, can be included in the DRS Digital Library at a cost of £25 per item to cover article processing fees (usually included as part of any event registration fee).

SIGs are expected to contribute to the DRS Biennial conference by running a theme-track session or other event enhancing the quality and richness of the conference. Note however that participation is not guaranteed.

SIGs are required to report annually, providing a short account of the activities that have been held along with future plans for development and other key information. SIG reports will be included in the annual report of the DRS.