Researcher biography

Dr Cara Wrigley is currently Professor of Design Innovation within the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology at The University of Queensland. She was the inaugural Director of the Queensland Defence Science Alliance. Prior to this appointment she was the Jericho Chair of Design Innovation at The University of Sydney, leading an interdisciplinary research group sponsored by the Royal Australian Air Force. This multi-million-dollar engagement brought together the Australian Defence Force and world-leading researchers to investigate the role that design plays in the creation of disruptive technologies for military capability.

During her time at the University of Sydney Professor Wrigley established the Defence by Design Group, where she ran applied research projects in the military domain. This collaboration contributed to the theoretical development of 'military design thinking' that has been taught and applied widely throughout the Australian Defence Force. In 2018, she also established and directed the Design Innovation Research Group, leading a research team that focused on design-led exploratory research, conducting applied and theoretical research into people, emotions, strategy and business.

Professor Wrigley holds extensive experience in curriculum development and delivery, during her time at the University of Sydney she developed and delivered a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Design Innovation (2018), rolled out a university wide Design Major (2018) and launched the Master of Design Innovation and Strategic Design (2019) program. This new degree has been reported on in the Book 'Design Thinking Pedagogy: Facilitating Innovation and Impact in Tertiary Education' by Routledge published in 2022.

Professor Wrigley has secured over $60M in competitive industry and government grants and is currently Chief Investigator on ARC Discovery and Linkage projects as well as a Medical Research Future Fund. Her research projects have received funding from industry partners such as the Brisbane Airport Corporation, Suncorp Insurance Australia, TAFE NSW, WaterCo Ltd, Bank of Queensland, BiVACOR and the Royal Australian Airforce. She is a reviewer for the Australian Research Council (ARC) and provides advice to organisations and their executives from diverse industries. For this work she has received Australian Good Design Awards.

Professor Wrigley has published extensively on the application and adoption of design disseminated through seven (7) books. Including the Research Handbook on Design Thinking (2023), Design Innovation and Integration (2021), Design Innovation for Health and Medicine (2020) and Affected: Emotionally Engaging Customers in the Digital Age (2018). She has more than 100 refereed research papers in outlets such Design Issues, Journal of Cleaner Production, Energy Policy, California Management Review, ASAIO Journal, and Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the leading design research journal Design Studies published by Elsevier.

Professor Wrigley has delivered invited keynotes at prestigious global academic conferences in the medical field including the European Mechanical Circulatory Support Summit (EUMS) Conference (2019, Vienna), the American Society of Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) 65th Annual Conference (San Francisco (2019) and the Asia-Pacific Extracorporeal Life Support Organisation (APELSO) Conference (2018). Furthermore, she is a regular invited speaker at the Australian Defence College and the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra for her work in Defence.

She is passionate about providing positive student and supervisor experiences and has presented at a number of universities on the topic of academic development and PhD supervision. She has advised a number of colleagues and high degree students on how to develop efficient and successful ways of collaboration, building professional networks and working with industry partners.