Centre for Research through Design


AHRC Skills Development Award for Researchers in Design Practice


The successful partnership of three major national and world-leading institutions in art and design, the Royal College of Art, Kingston University and University of the Arts London, has led to an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to fund an 18-month skills development programme for PhD students and early career researchers in Design Practice at the participating institutions. 

The consortium, led by the Royal College of Art, will focus on delivering an innovative programme to help build a critical mass of researchers in design and stimulate growth in the field for the benefit of society and the economy. The planned programme for 2012–13 will offer a dedicated and rigorous collaborative skills development package which will also highlight the AHRC’s themes of Care for the Future, Digital Transformations and Science and Connected Communities.

This new programme is structured around six one-week cross-disciplinary thematic workshops, a work placement/seminar scheme, a series of public lectures 'Keynotes in Design Research' and a residential summer school. The workshops will explore the areas of Design Ethnography, Commercialisation, Design against Crime, Materials Futures, Writing Design and Inclusive Socially Responsive Design and will be led by experts drawn from all three institutions.  Work placements will be modelled around the researcher’s training needs, supported by a framework of seminars (pre- and post-placement) to evaluate their impact. Collaborative seminars will be held on how researchers can integrate their work placement experiences into their research degree or project. The scheme will also enable researchers to reflect on the needs of industry, commerce and other public/private stakeholders to promote new ideas in design and strengthen the impact of the research at universities.

The 'Keynotes in Design Research' will feature three special public lectures by visionary thinkers in Design Research. These high-profile events will form the major public face for the programme.

It is hoped that the Skills Development Programme for Researchers in Design Practice will create a major forum for advanced level research in design in London and the South East, which will firmly secure the region as a national centre of excellence in the field.


Annalisa Sonzogni PhD, 'Site-Specific Modern', links photography, moving image and architecture.

Photo: Annalisa Sonzogni's PhD, 'Site-Specific Modern', links photography, moving image and architecture.