£100 000 research fellowships for design in business

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 has awarded £100 000 for research into design in business – its first ever research fellowship dedicated to design.

A £60 000 award has been given to Professor Tom Barker, of the Royal College of Art, for a joint project with London School of Economics research fellow Garrick Jones. They will create a system of learning games that demonstrate the importance of design to the efficiency of businesses. The project – Introducing Businesses to the Value of Design through Learning Games – will produce educational and training aids for design in business.

A second, special award of £30 000 has been given to Joanna Shaw, manager of the Parliamentary Design Group, to undertake a one-year project looking at the relationship between the design industry, parliament and the Government.

She claims that it is the first time ‘extensive’ design research has been carried out in parliament.

Working in partnership with the Design Business Association, Shaw will interview the association’s member consultancies to learn about their relationship with parliament, asking how they access Government ministers.

She will also interview parliamentarians and civil servants to understand their views of the design industry.

‘I’m aiming to provide a map of the industry for the civil services, new members of parliament and the Government, helping to show them what it looks like, what they can do and who

they should talk to,’ says Shaw. ‘It will also look at how the industry currently talks to the Government, and vice versa.’

The research will culminate in a series of workshops towards the end of the year and Shaw intends to report back to the Royal Commission at the start of 2008.

Although the project is a personal undertaking by Shaw, findings from the study will be fed back to the DBA and the PDG.

• First award for design given by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851
• £60 000 two-year award for Professor Tom Barker, head of the Royal College of Art’s Industrial Design Engineering department
• £30 000 one-year award for Joanna Shaw, manager of the Parliamentary Design Group
• Future awards to be biennial

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