Prof. Clarkson, P. J.

John is Professor of Healthcare Systems at Delft University of Technology, Professor of Engineering Design at the University of Cambridge, Director of the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre and Co-Director of Cambridge Public Health. His research interests are in the general area of engineering design, particularly the development of design methodologies to support healthcare design. He is currently leading a team with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal College of Physicians, The Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Academy of Medical Sciences to develop `Engineering Better Care', a systems approach to health and care redesign and improvement, and an accompanying toolkit for `Improving Improvement'.

Academic Background

John Clarkson is a Cambridge trained engineer, with degrees in Electrical Sciences and Electrical Machines, who has a passion for translating engineering systems approaches into methods for healthcare improvement. His early career with PA Consulting Group led to his engagement in areas ranging from the design of fire training systems for the Royal Navy to the provision of automated manufacturing systems for the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.On his return to the University of Cambridge in 1995, John developed research interests in design process and change management, working with companies such as Rolls Royce, Leonardo (formally Westland helicopters) and Jaguar Land Rover, and inclusive and healthcare design, working with the Royal College of Art, Healthcare Trusts and designers. For more than 25 years he has led the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre, which undertakes fundamental and applied research to generate knowledge that improves the design process. Its work is driven both by intellectual curiosity and industrial collaboration, resulting in understanding, methods and tools that shape design theory and design practice.


  • 2014 ─ 2017
    Doctor of Science (Engineering Design), University of Cambridge, UK
  • 1984 ─ 1987
    PhD in Engineering (Electrical Engineering), University of Cambridge, UK
  • 1981 ─ 1984
    BA in Engineering (Electrical Sciences), University of Cambridge, UK


  • 2020 ─ Present
    Professor of Healthcare Systems, Faculty of Industrial Design, Delft University of Technology
  • 2020 ─ Present
    Co-Director, Cambridge Public Health, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2004 ─ Present
    Professor of Engineering Design, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 2001 ─ 2004
    Reader of Engineering Design, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1997 – Present
    Director, Cambridge Engineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1995 – 2001
    Lecturer in Engineering Design, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1988 – 1995
    Manager, Advanced Process Group, PA Consulting Group, United Kingdom

Lectures and/or coaches students on:

  • Healthcare Systems Design
  • Inclusive Design

Secondary employment

  • Professor of Engineering Design, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Staff Fellow in Engineering, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, UK