Renowned designer Dr Leah Heiss joins Monash Art, Design and Architecture

Monash Art, Design and Architecture has appointed Associate Professor Leah Heiss as the Eva and Marc Besen International Research Chair in Design, after a competitive international search.

Dr Heiss will join Monash from RMIT in July 2021, where she works as an academic, designer and co-director of the RMIT Wearables and Sensing Network. She has a strong track record in collaborative design, working with experts from nanotechnology, engineering and health services through to manufacturing on projects that include jewellery to administer insulin through the skin for diabetics; biosignal sensing emergency jewellery; and swallowable devices to detect disease. She is also a visiting scientist/designer with CSIRO.

Leah has received multiple awards, including the 2018 Australian Good Design Award of the Year, the 2018 CSIRO Design Innovation Award, the Premier’s Design Award 2018 (Product Design), 3 Victorian Government Awards and the Melbourne Design Award for her work on Facett, the world’s first self-fit modular hearing aid for profit-for-purpose company Blamey Saunders Hears.

Professor Shane Murray, Dean of Monash Art, Design and Architecture, is very much looking forward to welcoming Associate Professor Leah Heiss to the faculty.

Dr Heiss’ appointment will further enhance Monash’s international reputation in studio-based design. Leah is the right person to extend our ambitious program to unite industry and technology through design research.

Professor Shane Murray

“This appointment is especially significant in light of our recent partnership with the Monash Institute of Medical Engineering. With extensive experience in developing innovative health design solutions, Leah will be crucial to the success of this partnership.” he added.

“I’m delighted to be joining Monash as the Eva and Marc Besen International Research Chair in Design. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the wonderful team in the Design Health Collab as well as the wider faculty and university across devices, services and experiences,” Leah explained.

Dr Heiss added that Monash Art, Design and Architecture is particularly well placed to help expand her research collaborations.

She explains: “There are already strong research collaborations in place with Monash’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, who also have an extensive network of health partners. I am excited about the prospect of furthering these collaborations and partnerships.”

Funded through the generosity of the Besen family, the Eva and Marc Besen International Research Chair in Design provides the opportunity for an internationally renowned design academic/practitioner to assume a leadership role in shaping the world’s design future and addressing the challenges the world faces today.

This position was previously held by Professor Mark Armstrong, now an adjunct professor at Monash. Mark made a significant contribution to the field during his tenure, providing industrial design expertise to the 'Gennaris' Bionic Eye project, working very closely with clinicians and engineers from the Monash Vision Group to produce the wearable headgear assembly for the first human implant.