Avril Accolla

Researcher at Center for Italian Studies of Tongji University (CSIUT)

Associate Professor, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University

Director of ResLab for Sustainable Business and Cultural Bridge


Designer, inventor and author, dedicated her career to Design for All (DfA), Holistic Ergonomics, Design Driven Social Innovation, and Sustainable Development. Previously Adj. Professor at Milan Polytechnic, presently Associate Professor and Director of the ResearchLab for Sustainable & Cultural Bridge - Design & Innovation College, Tongji University, Shanghai, focuses on Sustainability’s impact in China (economical-social-environmental).

She served as Vice President of DfA Europe and DfA Italy and received the Compasso d’Oro Honorable Mention and the DfA QualityS Label.

Among her publications, her book on Design for All, on Social Innovation for Sustainable Development, at its 5th reprint, also translated in Spanish, is published in a new Chinese edition "全民设计:面向真实个体的设计" by Tongji University Press.

Designed and taught courses in 15 universities in 7 different countries. Project leader and teacher in customized courses and workshops for private companies (middle management) and institutions, does keynotes and workshops in more than 40 conferences in 16 countries.

Appointed International Scientific Director for the Spanish research project “DfA Curricula in Universities” redesigning academic education for social innovation and integration.

Designs and researches product, communication and system for multinational industrial groups (e.g., Mars Inc., Legrand SA, Lactalis SA, Autogrill Group), SMEs, institutions and NPOs (e.g., TNO, EU Commission’s DG Enterprise, Chamber of Commerce) in different sectors (such as industrial and consumer products, machinery, medical, branding, communication, food value chain) realizing strategies for profitability in new markets and major gains brought by the DfA and related methodologies.

Managed a production engineering R&D department focusing on industrialization of innovative products including mechanical and medical products and appointed Design & Brand director for a lighting company.

Received several acknowledgements for her industrial designs and created various Invention Patents, including for medical sector in China, now exported to the USA.