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An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


Head of Department of Engineering

Engineering design

John is currently leading a team with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal College of Physicians, The Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Academy of Medical Sciences to develop Engineering Better Care, a systems approach to health and care redesign and improvement.

His research interests are in the general area of engineering design, particularly the development of design methodologies to address specific design issues, for example, process management, change management, healthcare design, inclusive design and automotive design. As well as publishing over 800 papers, he has written and edited a number of books on medical equipment design, inclusive design and process management.



Key publications: 


CLARKSON, P.J. (2018) What has engineering design to say about healthcare improvement, Design Science, 4(17), 1-35. Available from Design Science A description of a systems approach, expressed as a series of ordered questions, to explore poeple, systems, design and risk perspecrtives on a system.

CARD, A.J., WARD, J. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2014) Generating Options for Active Risk Control (GO-ARC): Introducing a Novel Technique, Journal for Healthcare Quality, 36(5), 32-41. Available from Wiley A description of a before and after pilot study of the Generating Options for Active Risk Control technique, a tool to assist the generation of the risk control options.

HORBERRY, T., TENG, Y-C., WARD, J., PATIL, V. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2014) Guidewire retention following central venous catheterisation: A human factors and safe design investigation, International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, 26(1), 23-37. Available from IOS Press An investigation and analysis of the incidence of retained guidewires and the proposal of effective and practical solutions to reduce future risk.

BENIUK, K., BOYLE, A.A. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2012) Emergency department crowding: prioritising quantified crowding measures using a Delphi study, Emergency Medicine Journal, 29(11), 868-871. Available from BMJ The identification of eight quantified crowding measures, using a Delphi study, which present a comprehensive view of how crowding is affecting ED operations and highlighted areas of concern.

WARD, J.R., BUCKLE, P. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2010) Designing packaging to support the safe use of medicines at home, Applied Ergonomics, 41(5), 682-694. Available from Elsevier The results of a project for the National Patient Safety Agency to evaluate the value of improved design of medication packaging.

CLARKSON, P.J., BUCKLE, P., COLEMAN, R., STUBBS, D., WARD, J., JARRETT, J., LANE, R. and BOUND, J. (2004) Design for patient safety: a review of the effectiveness of design in the UK health service, Journal of Engineering Design, 15(2), 123-140. Available from Taylor & Francis The results of a project for the UK Department of Health and the Design Council to evaluate the value of design in improving patient safety.


WYNN, D.C. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2017) Process models in design and development, Research in Engineering Design, 29(2), 161-202. Available from Springer An organising framework for design and development process models that clarifies the topology of the literature and relates the main perspectives that have been developed.

WYNN, D.C., CALDWELL, N.M.H. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2014) Predicting change propagation in complex design workflows, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, 136(8), 1-13. Available from ASME A simulation model to manage change propagation through design workflows, predicting the resource requirements and schedule risk of a change process.

MAIER, J.F., WYNN, D.C., BIEDERMANN, W., LINDEMANN, U. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2014) Simulating progressive iteration, rework and change propagation to prioritise design tasks, Research in Engineering Design, 25(4), 283-307. Available from Springer A model that explores the combined effects of progressive iteration, rework and change propagation during design of interconnected parts within a product architecture.

CHALUPNIK, M.J., WYNN, D.C. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2013) Comparison of ilities for protection against uncertainty in system design, Journal of Engineering Design, 24(12), 814-829. Available from Taylor & Francis A framework to compare the concepts of reliability, robustness, adaptability, versatility, resilience and flexibility as applied to systems design.

WYNN, D.C., GREBICI, K. and CLARKSON, P.J. (2011) Modelling the evolution of uncertainty levels during design, International Journal on Interactive Design and Manufacturing, 5(3), 187-202. Available from Springer An analysis of the influences of evolving uncertainty levels on the design process with a focus on uncertainties associated with choosing the values of design parameters.

CLARKSON, P.J. and HAMILTON, J.R. (2000) Signposting: a parameter-driven task-based model of the design process, Research in Engineering Design, 12(1), 18-38. Available from Springer A model of design is proposed, founded on the assumption that a design process can be constructed from a predefined set of tasks in which the confidence in key design parameters is used as a basis for identifying, or signposting, the next task.


Department of Engineering
Engineering design: including process management, change management, healthcare design and inclusive design.
Professor P John Clarkson
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy


Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: 
Engineering Systems
Public Health
Engineering Design
Healthcare Design