UAL and King’s combine to investigate design and policy innovation

The universities are collaborating to offer a research-based PHD course to improve understanding around design and public policy.

LCC, UAL. Photograph by Ana Escobar
LCC, UAL. Photograph by Ana Escobar

University of the Arts London and King’s College London are joining forces to offer a new research-based course that will use design to tackle public policy issues.

The Policy Institute at King’s and the Innovation Insights Hub at UAL are collaborating to offer PHD studentships as they bid to “explore, develop and assess” the intersection between design and policy.

UAL’s design thinking and King’s policy expertise will be shared to contribute to what the universities call “the emerging field of policy innovation”.

Creative solutions to public challenges

UAL vice-chancellor Nigel Carrington says: “It builds on UAL staff collaborating for over a decade with government policy-makers to help them generate and prototype new creative solutions to some of the biggest public challenges.”

The universities hope that the course, Design Thinking for Policy Making Practice, will give an insight into further understanding of how policy can be developed and tested by using approaches from design.

Dr Lucy Kimbell, director of the UAL Innovation Insights Hub and course leader, says: “We’re looking to bring imagination, creativity and science to the forefront of public policy, exploring design solutions for today as well as future generations.

“This programme joins our current project in collaboration with Policy Lab in the Cabinet Office, delivering training on design thinking for civil servants and supporting the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre to develop an EU Policy Lab.”

“Policy thinking has not caught up with people’s behaviour”

Her King’s counterpart Professor Jennifer Rubin, professor of public policy and director of analysis at King’s Policy Institute, says: “There are many areas where policy thinking has not yet caught up with and responded to people’s behaviour and needs in order to improve outcomes.”

Rubin says she expects the partnership will bring together “rigorous social science, policy and design thinking in new ways to help tackle societal challenges.”

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