Professor Alastair Macdonald

Job Title:

Senior Researcher, School of Design


School of Design



Professor Alastair Macdonald
image - still from Envisage rehab project

Professor Alastair Macdonald


Professor Alastair Macdonald

Alastair Macdonald is Senior Researcher in the School of Design at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA). He operates at the interface between design, health and care practice, and people’s experience of products and services. Prior to 2006 he was Head of Product Design Engineering at GSA, a programme jointly run with the University of Glasgow. He was awarded a personal professorship by the University of Glasgow in 2000 and, in 2004, a Japan Foundation Research Fellowship for age-related design research in Japan.

As lead- and co-investigator Alastair has held several UK research council (RCUK) and National Institute of Health Research grants working within multidisciplinary healthcare teams, addressing staff/patient-centred issues in, e.g., physical stroke rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, end-of-life care for dementia, infection prevention and control, and malnutrition. To address these complex healthcare challenges, he and his teams have developed a number of exploratory healthcare interventions using collaborative design, mixed method, narrative and iterative prototyping approaches with substantial stakeholder input.

Alastair has an international profile in design education and research, is a frequent conference and seminar speaker, a peer reviewer for journal articles and grant applications, and a PhD supervisor and examiner.


AMR / Infection Prevention and Control

AMR image

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is recognised as one of the most important global issues for human and animal health due to the increasing numbers of resistant infections leading to many existing antimicrobials becoming less effective. Appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) measures across hospital settings have a crucial role in reducing the incidence of healthcare associated infections (HAIs). VisionOn provides details of a programme of sequential studies addressing the issue of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) including a proof-of-concept interactive tablet-based teaching tool for hospital staff using dynamic visualisation techniques.

End of Life Care for People with Dementia

SEED diagram

Supporting end-of-life care for people with dementia is particularly challenging. Appropriate care requires complex coordination to meet the different needs of specialist care staff, the patient (and those important to them), carers and the healthcare team. Resources are required to support these relationships and to reflect the needs for information, discussion and shared decision-making between all parties involved along a patient’s uncertain trajectory at end-of-life: dementia adds another level of challenge.

The SEED project’s key outputs will include an intervention for supporting individual end-of -life care in dementia. The GSA team is developing a prototype platform for accessing resources to support the dementia care facilitator.

Rehabilitation following stroke



In this programme of research, supported by grants from the ESPRC’s Extending Quality of Life (EQUAL), ESRC’s New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) and MRC’s Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) programmes, the development and use of motion capture and motion sensor technology combined with data visualisation methods has assisted communication and understanding between patient, therapist and clinician.

Collaborative Rehabilitation Environments in Acute STrokE (CREATE)


Stroke is a common health problem often leaving people with disabilities requiring specialist stroke unit care. Patients and carers regard inpatient therapy and rehabilitation as the most important elements of treatment after stroke. The CREATE study, funded by an NIHR grant, will use co-production methods to improve patient, carer and staff experiences.


In MAPPMAL (Multidisciplinary approaches to develop a prototype for the prevention of malnutrition in Older People) supported through an ESRC New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) research grant, the team developed a demonstration prototype for an innovative food and nutrition management system designed to address malnutrition issues in hospital patients.