Offering transformative opportunities for improving the quality of life

The Institute for Design Research and Outreach (IDRO) encompasses the research, extension, and outreach missions of the College of Design. Broadly defined, IDRO’s overall mission is to stimulate and support research, extension, and outreach efforts in areas of strength and relevance to the design disciplines.

The institute promotes interdisciplinary design research, facilitates communication with design professionals and the public, and responds to the needs of the people of Iowa in areas associated with the design disciplines. Projects often are conducted collaboratively, and individual faculty may be involved in several different programs at the same time. Through IDRO, faculty and students work together with citizen groups, businesses, communities, nonprofit organizations and government agencies in addressing problems to improve the quality of our built environment and our lives.

Research Services

At the Institute for Design Research and Outreach (IDRO), we are dedicated to providing comprehensive support to faculty, staff, and students at Iowa State University (ISU) in their research and outreach endeavors. Our range of pre-award, survey, and data support and post-award services are tailored to facilitate the success of your projects. Explore how IDRO can assist you at every stage of your research journey.

  • Internal and external funding assistance
  • Streamline proposal development
  • Budget development assistance
  • Guidance with solicitation-specific documentation and ISU information

Contact: Sandra Norvell

  • Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  • Research needs, program evaluations, data gathering, and statistical analysis
  • Data collection and analysis, report preparation, and occasionally publishing and distributing the reports
  • Short surveys and evaluations for faculty/staff/admin candidates or reviews (i.e., 5-year reviews) and departmental accreditation
  • Exit surveys for graduating students
  • Research and outreach programs by conducting community surveys
  • Master’s students in statistical analysis of their thesis or other research data

Contact: Nora Ladjahasan

  • Routing cost allocations and assistance with payroll and accounting adjustments
  • Purchasing and requisition assistance
  • Support with budgetary issues
  • Billing of outreach projects
  • Hiring Graduate Research Assistants and students
  • Research-related summer salary

Contact: Clare Andresen

Internal Funding Opportunities

The Institute for Design Research and Outreach team supports faculty and staff looking to apply for research funding opportunities. For internal funding available through the College of Design, contact Julie Robison, associate director.

University Research Funding Opportunities

For funding awarded through Iowa State University or external organizations and agencies, contact Sandra Norvell, research coordinator.

  • Research Facilities and Units

    Through our cutting-edge research units, we foster collaboration, experimentation, and innovation. By providing access to state-of-the-art facilities and forging strategic partnerships, we empower designers at Iowa State to explore new frontiers, pushing the boundaries of creativity and technology.

Research Showcase Series

The Institute for Design Research and Outreach highlights faculty and staff research through the showcase poster series. We aim to celebrate faculty and staff research success and share highlights with the larger College of Design community. Posters are displayed in the IDRO windows outside 126 Design and are widely viewed by prospective students and parents. All faculty and staff are invited to participate by completing the Showcase Series Submission Form below or by contacting Julie Robison, IDRO Assistant Director, at

Evan Hume Headshot

Jennifer Drinkwater

The What’s Good Project: an ongoing collaborative archive of “what’s good” in communities across the United States via interviews, stories, and paintings.

Chengde Wu headshot

Bruno Oro

Oro’s current research involves creating toys and products for children with cerebral palsy. Oro’s current research involves creating toys and products for children with cerebral palsy.

Johnny DiBlasi headshot

Evan Hume

Hume’s series, Sonic Interventions is a recent body of work made primarily with declassified photographs of historical and contemporary SIGINT and supersonic reconnaissance aircraft.

A professor critiques students on their latest project.

Faculty and Staff Research Showcase

One of IDRO’s goals is to showcase and celebrate the research success of the College of Design’s faculty and staff. All faculty and staff are encouraged to submit research interests and activities so that IDRO can promote ongoing research on various platforms throughout the college.

Students working on class project in the King Pavillion.

A Cyclone in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.