Universities and consultancies meet to discuss link-ups

More than 60 universities and design consultancies will meet next month to discuss how to support each other’s commercial interests withoutfalling into competition.

British Design Innovation is organising the meeting, which it hopes will result in the creation of a design knowledge transfer initiative, which it iscalling the University Design Industry Partnership Scheme. About 30 directors of product and industrial design consultancies from across thecountry will attend the meeting at the Design Council in London, including Tangerine chief executive Professor Martin Darbyshire, The Alloychairman Gus Desbarats, London Associates partner Les Stokes and Small Fry managing director Steve May Russell.

They will meet with representatives from Cambridge University, the University for the Creative Arts, Goldsmiths, and more than 30 other universities, in what the BDI is claiming to be the first non-Government organised meeting between design groups and higher-education institutions.

Desbarats says, ‘We are seeking to agree on what we can do for each other, in terms of designers helping universities to commercialise their intellectual property, and on handling design services provided by [them]. Our aim is to reach a positive concensus.’

Maxine Horn, BDI chief executive (pictured), says, ‘We want collaboration between universities, not competition.’ She would like to see university graduates with technological innovations paired up with design groups to develop and market their concepts. ‘Design groups know what is going on in the market, who would be interested in the product, and they can open doors to global brands,’ she says.

Horn emphasises the differences between any potential design knowledge transfer scheme and the Government-backed and funded Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, which the BDI has previously attacked for encouraging competition between universities and design groups.

She says, ‘This initiative would not result in universities competing with their own alumni working at design consultancies. Previously, therehasn’t been a means to commercialise research results and graduate work’.

Horn hopes that at least ten attending universities will agree to collaborate with design groups ‘to do something positive’. The meeting takes place on 26 February at the Design Council in London WC2.

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  • Antonia November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Who’s the woman?

  • Maxine Horn November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    It’s me.( lol )

  • Andy Penaluna November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hi Maxine,

    Great move – do other departs in Universities do this I ask?

    We keep our alumni informed at my institution (Swansea Met) and more importantly, they us. We learn loads as a result and open channels of communication have many, many, benefits educationally.

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