1m funding for RCA research

The Royal College of Art has secured 1m funding to set up a research centre to look at design in the context of social and environmental developments.

The funding from benefactor Helen Hamlyn, who studied fashion at the RCA in the 1950s, is pledged over three years. It covers the establishment of the Helen Hamlyn Foundation Research Centre, which will absorb the RCA’s existing DesignAge unit. Independent research company AEA has helped the RCA identify what form the centre should take.

Described by RCA rector Professor Christopher Frayling as “a think tank”, the centre will look at how design can affect areas such as transport or working practices. Working under the DesignAge strapline “Designing for our future selves”, it will link students and industry sponsors on a couple of big projects a year.

The aim, says Frayling, is to encourage former students to become fellows for a couple of years to carry out research in partnership with business.

The centre, which launches in January, will be run by Professor Roger Coleman, head of Design-Age, and a co-director to be announced next week.

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