John K. F. Irving AB ’83, MBA ’89 and Anne Irving Oxley established the John E. Irving Dean’s Innovation Fund in 2013 to honor the legacy of their father, John E. (Jack) Irving, and support the tradition of outstanding teaching and innovation at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

2024-2025 Overview

The Irving Innovation Fellowship offers students graduating with GSD master’s degrees an opportunity to extend their research and discovery in design, architecture, urban planning and design, and landscape architecture and continue contributing to the School’s pedagogy and dialogue.

Number of Fellowships: 1

Theme: Material Investigations

Description: Continuing a two-year thematic focus that began in 2023, the 2024-2025 Irving Innovation Fellowship is again dedicated to Material Investigations. The topic is conceived broadly to encompass a wide field of inquiry and concerns. The fellow will work with faculty advisors to advance exploration and discourse on materials across disciplines, practices, and programs. The current Irving Innovation Fellow, Amelia Gan MDes ‘23, has built a strong relationship with Loeb Library’s Materials Collection and is convening materials researchers at the GSD in the spring of 2024. While continued work with the Materials Collection is desirable, current efforts do not dictate or restrict research opportunities for 2024-2025.

Applicants should explain how they would engage with a selection or combination of the below areas for investigation. We encourage a range of experimental and analytical studies that produce tangible and non-tangible outcomes. This might involve hands-on work in the FabLab, the Library’s Materials Collection, archival research, or collaboration with the rich ecosystem of materials science at Harvard.

Material Investigations

Performance and Lifecycle of Materials

How can we investigate and minimize the full environmental impacts of materials by making sustainable design choices across the lifecycle, from extraction to reuse and adaptation? How can we address growing material uncertainties by pushing the development of renewables, biomaterials, and novel processes?

Smart and Augmented Materials

How can we leverage smart and augmented materials in understanding and improving the functionality and performance of designs—across the senses, scales, design fields, and products?

Culture and History of Materials

How do the use, value, choice, and perception of materials differ across cultures and time? How can the culture and history of materials be thoughtfully incorporated to create more meaningful designs?

Expression and Aesthetics of Materials

How can we qualify and/or quantify the expressive and aesthetic attributes of materials and their impact on experience and place?

Current & Past Irving Innovation Fellows

AY2024: Amelia Gan (Material Time symposium)

AY2023: Laier-Rayshon Smith

AY2022: Alia Bader, Alex Yueyan Li, Sheng Zhao; Irving Instructional Technology Fellows are Jon Gregurick, Esesua Ikpefan, Kevin Liu, and Blake Mitchell

AY2021: Sarah Fayad, Isabella Frontado, Gia Jung, Ian Miley

AY2020: Inés Benítez Gómez, Mark Heller, Evan Shieh, John Wagner

AY2019: Ernest Haines, Hyojin Kwon, Enrique Aureng Silva, Youngjin Song (extended from AY2018)

AY2018: Xun Liu, Zahra Safaverdi, Caroline Smith, Youngjin Song

AY2017: Iman Fayyad and Alex Timmer