Christian McLening

Phone number: 0121 204 3742 

Email: c.mclening@aston.ac.uk

Room number: MB162

I am a designer and academic based at Aston University since 2009 with a research interest in sustainable design & creativity.

My main area of industrial experience has been within the automotive and architectural product design industries. I have worked on concept vehicles, electric vehicles and the design & manufacture of automotive interiors for a range of large car companies.
In recent years I have been involved with the Product Design group within ARUP associate London, through an industrial secondment scheme. This involved the design and development of a number of architectural product and environmentally sensitive projects.

My lecturing experience has been varied and I have worked with both engineers and creative designers. I have taught design at a French university as well as several UK based universities at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I have been involved with course development, external validation and examination at another universities.

I head up the undergraduate product design courses, if you have any questions do please feel free to email me about any of our design course.

I am the academic project manager for the Aston Shell eco-marathon team. The student team is made up of designers and engineers who each year design, build and race a new car at the European competition in Rotterdam. The Aston car uses a hydrogen fuel cell so has zero emissions as well as an innovative plywood composite chassis. The chassis is not only fully sustainable but is also 'flat-pack' so can be assembled in a radically new way to conventional steel chassis. 

In 2013 the Aston Eco marathon team won the ECO DESIGN award at European competition against over 200 other teams.

I continue to enjoy learning and working within both academia and industry, viewing research and learning as the natural link between both worlds.


Qualifications & Education
  • PhD Product Design: process & personality.Brunel UniversityBA Industrial Design: Transportation. Coventry University
  • PGCE in Higher Education. Greenwich University
  • MA Design Studies (Distinction) Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design. University of the Arts London.
  • BA Industrial Design (Transportation). Coventry University.


  • 2009-: Design lecturer Aston University BSc Product Design, Automotive and MSc Design courses.
  • 2007-2009: Senior Lecturer. Product Design & Three Dimensional Design. The Arts University College at Bournemouth.
  • 2000-2007: Senior Lecturer. Product Design and Mechanical Engineering. Buckinghamshire New University.
  • 1998-2000: Lecturer. Product Design. West Thames College. London.
  • 1997-1998: Lecturer. Design & Technology. Winchester University.
  • 1996-1998: Lecturer. Product Design. Somerset College of Arts & Technology.
  • 1996-1997: Lecturer. Product Design , Transport Design, Design & Management. I.S.D. Institute Superiur de Design. University of Valenciennes. France.

Teaching activity

Teaching across all BSc and MSc Design courses.

Research interests

Research interests include:

  • New Product Development
  • Concept generation
  • Sustainable design approaches
  • Automotive and transport design

Please contact me if you have a New Product Development proposals or ideas.

PhD Supervision   
  • Supervising PhD research student John Burgess investigating Sustainable composite structures 
  • Please contact me regarding PhD projects or KTP supervision.

Membership of Professional Bodies

MIED: Member of the Institution of engineering Designers.
FHEA: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Selected publications  

Mclening. C. and Buck, L (2012) Practice based learning approaches in collaborative design and engineering education: A case study  investigation into the benefits of a crossdiciplinary practice based learning strategy. International conference on engineering and product design education 2012, Artesis University College, Antwerp, Belgium. Published by Design Society & The Institution of Engineering Designers.

 Mclening, C. and Owen, J (2011) Practice based learning for automotive engineering students. International conference on engineering and product design education 2011, City University. London, United Kingdom. Published by Design Society & The Institution of Engineering Designers. (Winner of Best conference Poster Award)

Presented- refereed paper (2010) The effect of personality on the design team: lessons from Industry from Industry for design education. 12th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education. Trondheim, Norway.

Presented refereed paper: (2008) An investigation into the sustainable approaches of the ARUP associates Product Design group.13th International Conference-Sustainable Innovation 08 -Future Products, Technologies and Industries. (Selected in top 40 referred papers) Malmo. Sweden.

Presented refereed paper: (2005) Developing a new SPDS: Sustainable Product Design Specification Tool. 10th International Conference-Towards Sustainable Product Design-Global ’state of the art’ in sustainable development & design. Farnham. Surrey. United Kingdom.