Master in Design for Emergent Futures

The world of the future is yet to be imagined and designed. Shaping societies, industries and behaviours is a task to tackle by those able to combine different disciplines and overview the present challenges to become agents for change and adaptation.

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The world of the future is yet to be imagined and designed. Shaping societies, industries and behaviours is a task to tackle by those able to combine different disciplines and overview the present challenges to become agents for change and adaptation.


Master's Degree in Design for Emergent Futures, degree awarded by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and Elisava.


Tomás Díez and Oscar Tomico

ECTS Credits

75 (course 1)
45 (course 2) 
120 (course 1+2) 


+ Course 1 UE: € 12,800
No UE: € 16,000 
+ Course 2 UE: € 11,500
No UE: € 14,400
+ Courses 1+2 UE: € 24,350 
No UE: € 30,400 
Financing and grants

Course length

October to June (1 or 2 courses)
Full time



Admission requirements

Higher university degree, bachelor's degree or o college degree diploma.
Motivation letter.
Access and admission

The Master in Design for Emergent Futures focuses on designing interventions in products, platforms, and deployments to produce new emergent futures.

We want to help you take design one step further by turning your innovative ideas into great solutions. By combining high technology, innovation, thinking and creativity for the future, designers, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, technology entrepreneurs, computer scientists and changemakers will provide the strategic vision and tools to become agents of change in multiple professional environments.

We will encourage you to work at multiple scales to design and test interventions in the real world in an exploratory journey to comprehend and critique the role of disruptive technologies in the transformation of our current societies. A close look at digital fabrication, blockchain, synthetic biology or Artificial Intelligence, among others, will lead you to develop a hybrid profile, mixing various sets of skills (technical and human). We want to help you conceive and produce impactful ideas to transform the world and:

  • To generate a new breed of ‘changemakers’ professionals in transdisciplinary fields combining high-tech, digital know-how and sustainable design strategies.
  • To train professionals on new creative ways of using disruptive technologies to transform the industry.
  • To prepare professionals to challenge the current productive model through emergent technological advances (digital fabrication, synthetic biology, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, etc.) and circular economy solutions.
  • To train professionals in developing projects with social, environmental and technological concerns.
MDEF Elisava
MDEF Elisava
MDEF Elisava
MDEF Elisava
MDEF Elisava
MDEF Elisava

This master has a high component of hands-on learning and project-based learning. Students will be requested to transform big ideas into design strategies, prototypes, and interventions to be tested in the real world focused on Barcelona but connected globally with other cities.

We will delve into:

  • Instrumentation. Learn a modular set of maker skills and tools and how these can be used in the design process of translating ideas into prototypes and prototypes into products. Skills include coding, digital fabrication, hardware design, synthetic biology, and computational thinking.
  • Exploration. Be exposed to a set of technologies and socio-cultural phenomena that can disrupt our present understanding of society, industry and the economy.
  • Reflection. Participate in individual and group reflection sessions to develop one’s own identity and skill set, knowledge and attitude as a designer.
  • Application. Create design responses to explore curiosity through innovation. Be encouraged to be creative and follow a culture of making where prototyping is a generator of knowledge, and experimentation is crucial for problem-solving.

The Master in Design for Emergent Futures is organised into three terms: Oct-Dec, Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun. Each term includes design studios, seminars and expert masterclasses. The master also offers a research trip. Previous trips have been to Shenzhen (China) and Cuba.

In the first year, we will be exposed to:

  • Design Studio sessions focus on real-world experimentation and socio-technical development. Students develop technical, aesthetic and conceptual skills during the year by working on real-life scenarios.
  • Seminars. International experts from design and emergent technologies, including speculative futures, futurology and speculative design, contribute to the programme as guest lecturers throughout the academic year.
  • Fab Academy provides advanced, hands-on digital fabrication instruction and access to technological tools and resources. It is directed by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms and is based on MIT’s rapid prototyping course, MAS 863: How to Make (Almost) Anything.

The second academic year is devoted to going deeper into our previous training and developing the final Thesis Project. We will continue research and innovation agendas using a multi-scalar, experimental and realistic approach and turning the final projects into living platforms for academic research, business development or direct impact on open source communities.

We have three types of Thesis projects, related to each quarter of the programme, and each with its specific objectives:

  • Implementation: tutorials carried out with the directors of the master, directors of the study workshop, and guest experts to reinforce the ability to articulate innovation projects in the real world incorporating the acquired knowledge.
  • Validation: developing a series of strategies during the implementation of the final Masters project for its economic, environmental, social, and communicative assessment.
  • Dissemination: developing the communication strategies (in traditional and innovative media: digital field, print or performative) and dissemination actions in the academic area.

The programme also offers a 9-month residency program working on a first-rate research project at Fab Lab Barcelona, IAAC and Elisava. You will become a full-fledged junior researcher at the host institution, working hand in hand with the project teams and with the guide of a research mentor.



Oscar Tomico
Co-director of the Master in Design for Emergent Futures
Professor of the Master in Design through New Materials 

Tomás Díez
Co-director of the Master in Design for Emergent Futures


  • Mariana Quintero, Multimedia Developer, Interaction Designer and Researcher.
  • Kate Armstrong, Strategic Design and Communication (Fab Lab).
  • Guillem Camprodon, Researcher (IAAC and Fab Lab).
  • Victor Barberán, Hardware and Software Developer and researcher (Fab Lab).
  • Óscar González, Hardware, Software, Calibration Engineer (Fab Lab).
  • Anastasia Pistofidou, Co-Founder (Fabricademy and FabTextiles).
  • Jonathan Minchin, Founder (Ecological Interaction Applied Research).
  • Nuria Conde, CSO (Moirai Biodesign).
  • Lucas Peña, Co-Founder, Principal and Technology Synthesist (Futurity Studio).
  • Santi Fuentemilla, Co-creator and current coordinator (POPUPLAB).
  • Xavier Domínguez, Creativity and Action Researcher in Future Learning (Fab Lab).
  • Eduardo Chamorro, Leader of the Digital Prototyping at the Architecture course in the Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings (IAAC).
  • Thomas Duggan, Artist and Director (Thomas Duggan Studio).
  • Mara Balestrini, Researcher (GTI) and collaborator (CCCB Lab and Ideas for Change).
  • José Luis de Vicente, Curator (Sonar +D), Founder and Codirector (Tentacular).
  • Mercè Rua, Strategic Designer and Founding Partner (HOLON Design).
  • Andrés Colmenares, Co-founder and Strategist (IAM) and Co-Founder (Wa-sabi Lab).
  • Carlos Barbero, Managing Director and Co-Founder (BTC-Guardian).
  • Jordi Riulas, Business Development and Board Member (Ethichub).
  • Ariel Guersenzvaig, Director of the Master in Design and Management of User Experience and Digital Services (Elisava) and Member (Research Ethics Committee).
  • Ron Wakkary, Director (Interaction Design Research Centre) and Founder (Everyday Design Studio).
  • Kristina Andersen, Advisor (Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie).
  • Angella Mackey, Design Researcher and Founder (Vega Wearable Light).
  • David McCallum, Emeritus Professor (Centre for International Research on Education Systems - CIRES).
  • Neil Gershenfeld, Professor (MIT) and Director (Center for Bits and Atoms – MIT).
  • Indy Johar, Architect and Co-Founder ( and Dark Matter Studio).
  • Daniel Charny, Founder Director (Forth Together CIC and Fixperts).
  • Primavera de Filippi, Legal Scholar, Internet Activist and Artist Member (Creative Commons).
  • James Tooze, Founder (Matalog) and Product Design course leader (University of Brighton).
  • Liz Corbin, Director (Metabolic Research).
  • Efraín Foglia, Founder (Mobilitylab and XRCB).
  • Heather Corcoran, Professor (Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts).
  • Usman Haque, Founder and Creative Director (Umbrellium).
  • Mette Bak Andersen, Founder and Director of the Material Design Lab (Copenhagen School of Design & Technology).
  • Saúl Baeza, Director (Does Work) and Founder and Editor-in-chief (VISIONS BY).
  • Pol Trias, Founder and Head of Product Division (Domestic Data Streamers).
  • Sara González de Ubieta, Research and Development (Nanimarquina).
  • Laura Clèries, Director (Elisava Research) and Director of the Master in Design through New Materials (Elisava).

Find out the rest of the Masters Beyond.