Photo of Abhijna Neramballi

Abhijna Neramballi


I strive to develop knowledge, tools and methods that can support practitioners in the manufacturing industry and graduate students in their endeavour to design environmentally benign solutions for a sustainable society.

Demystifying and engineering environmentally conscious design thinking

Designers think, therefore the technological society is.

The technological systems, sub-systems and components of our society can be considered as a manifestation of the design thinking and effort of designers. Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged that the resource-efficiency and environmental impacts of such technological systems are largely decided in the design stage of their development. As a consequence, the quality of the design effort of the designers significantly influences the quality of our environment and thus, of our lives.

Currently, we are challenged by several accelerating environmental issues that are fueled and enabled by outdated design practices. Therefore it is crucial to rethink how we design, develop and consume products and services which serve as the building blocks of the modern day societies. At its core, the activity of designing is an intentional thought process of transforming the physical environment for the well being of humanity. Therefore it is imperative to improve the understanding of how human designers think while designing and to subsequently support their effort in designing environmentally benign societal solutions.

I am a researcher with a background in mechanical and industrial engineering, and the experiences of a few short-term stints in the manufacturing industry. Through my research, I aim to improve the scientific understanding of how expert designers from the manufacturing industry think while designing environmentally sustainable solutions. By building on this understanding of how experts think while designing such solutions, I aim to co-develop tools and methods that can support their thought processes, decision making and thus, the outcomes of their design effort. Furthermore, I strive to inspire and equip future engineers with the latest cutting edge knowledge and methods that can support them to transform contemporary societal and environmental challenges into opportunities for sustainable development of the society.

CV in short

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Sustainable System Analysis with specialisation in Environmental management and engineering, Linköping University, 2022.
  • Licentiate of Engineering, Environmental technology and Management, Linköping University, Sweden, 2020.
  • Master of Science, Production systems, Jönköping University, Sweden, 2017.
  • Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical engineering, NMAMIT, India, 2015.

Research areas

  • Design cognition
  • Product-Service System design
  • Environmentally conscious design
  • Sustainable design
  • Design methods

Pedagogical experience

  • Resource efficient products (TKMJ29), Lecturer and supervisor, Linköping University, Sweden, 2017- ongoing.
  • Sustainable manufacturing (TMPS31), Supervisor, Linköping University, Sweden, 2020-ongoing.
  • Environmental technology and management - Master thesis, Supervisor, Linköping University, Sweden, 2019-2020.
  • Integrated product-service engineering  (TKMJ32), Supervisor, Linköping University, Sweden, 2018-2019.
  • Large technical systems and the environment (TKMJ14), Supervisor, Linköping University, Sweden, 2019.
  • Product development (TMKT78), Supervisor, Linköping University, Sweden, 2017.


Academic review experience

  • Journal of cleaner production, Reviewer, Elsevier, 2020-ongoing.
  • CIRP IPSS conference, Reviewer, Proceedia, 2018.

Industrial experience

  • Volvo Group, Engineering intern, Sweden, 2016.
  • Gnosjö Laserstans, Engineering intern, Sweden, 2016.
  • Federal Mogul Goetze, Engineering intern, India, 2015.
  • MRPL, Engineering intern, India, 2014.


From product to product-service system design thinking

Understanding and supporting the designing of resource-efficient and effective solutions.

The focus of my research is to develop an understanding of how designers think while designing product-service system (PSS) based resource efficient and effective solutions (REES), and to investigate if and how, they think differently while designing traditional material-centric products. Grounded on this understanding, I have co-developed, applied and verified knowledge, methods and tools that can effectively guide practitioners to transition from designing material-centric products towards PSS based REES. These research outputs are expected to contribute to the push of the manufacturing industry towards a circular and resource-efficient economy. This research is both inter-and trans- disciplinary, as I integrate the views of multiple disciplines and transcend beyond the views of a singular discipline, while actively collaborating with practitioners from the manufacturing industry to solve environmental sustainability related challenges. I primarily use protocol analysis, a social science research method pioneered by the late nobel laureate Herb Simon, to tap into the minds of expert designers from the manufacturing industry. I also employ other widely used research techniques such as action design and case study research to fulfill my research aims.  

My research is financed by the Mistra (Swedish Stiftelsen för miljöstrategisk forskning) REES project. I am actively collaborating with internationally renowned researchers based in the US and Sweden and with a wide range of Swedish manufacturing companies such as Volvo group, Volvo cars, Eriksson and Attends. I am also a member of the design society and have presented scientific results in several affiliated and reputed conferences such as international conference on design computing and cognition, international conference on engineering design and human behavior in design. I am also serving as a reviewer for the Journal of Cleaner Production. I was part of the organizing team of the 2018 edition of the CIRP industrial PSS conference.



Abhijna Neramballi (2022) Product-Service System Designing for Environmental Sustainability: Insights into Design Cognition of Experienced Product Developers
Tomohiko Sakao, Abhijna Neramballi, Johannes Matschewsky (2022) Avoid service design trap by guiding product/service system design with product-service dependency knowledge base Proceedings of the Design Society: DESIGN 2022, p. 1955-1964 Continue to DOI
Tomohiko Sakao, Abhijna Neramballi, Johannes Matschewsky, Annelie Carlson, Max Bäck, Vishnu Teja Tirumalasetty (2022) Systemic improvement of lifecycle performance by leveraging product and service interdependencies - A case of a product for wind power generation systems CIRP annals, Vol. 71 Continue to DOI


Abhijna Neramballi, Tomohiko Sakao, Siri Willskytt, Anne-Marie Tillman (2021) A design navigator to guide the transition towards environmentally benign product/service systems based on LCA results 12th International Symposium on Environmentally Conscious Design and Inverse Manufacturing
Abhijna Neramballi, Tomohiko Sakao (2021) Zooming in on product-service system ecodesigning: a novel analysis approach and application to a case involving experienced practitioners Proceedings of the Design Society , Volume 1 , August 2021 Continue to DOI


Design, systems thinking and environmental sustainability  

Research informed education

I teach both graduate and undergraduate students in courses such as resource-efficient products and sustainable manufacturing offered by Linköping University. I have also been involved in other courses such as product development, large technical systems and the environment and integrated product-service engineering. I have also supervised a master thesis in environmental technology and management. I have also actively trained several student research assistants to carry out protocol analysis and design research. The education I provide is grounded in and updated by the latest scientific knowledge available in the state of the art.

Knowledge bank

I have applied knowledge and expertise in the following areas: Design cognition, ecodesign, product-service system design, design science and methods, systems engineering, circular economy, sustainability oriented change management in organizations, computer-aided design, engineering design, statistics, product development, production development and management and sustainable production.

I have theoretical knowledge in the following areas:

Corporate environmental management, industrial symbiosis, sustainable systems and management, basic and applied thermodynamics, kinematics of machines, machine design, industrial management and entrepreneurship, statistical quality control, operations research, automotive engineering and finite element methods.