You may remember back in Spring this year the Design Council and AHRC jointly invited the design research community to comment on barriers and opportunities to funding and to highlight gaps in design research. This consultation has now concluded and an initial scoping study [PDF] has been produced outlining the key findings and suggesting possible future areas for research funding:
The key messages in the report are:
- An ‘open call’ approach to funding design research is generally favoured, ensuring that design remains at the centre of any multidisciplinary approach
- Thematically, healthcare and service design were both seen as strong options for future calls, and indeed Design Council are currently leading a study on service design to conclude in November, for which there may be small amounts of funding available – contact Ruth Flood to find out more.
- A range of funding mechanisms were suggested, allowing for both large and small grants, with a general trend towards ‘sand-pit’ collaborative development approaches
- Working with business and policymakers is seen as important, but this cannot be the sole approach to research
- Large-scale collaborative grants were seen to be the right approach for multidisciplinary research, but the importance of access to small grants was also emphasised
- There was strong endorsement of AHRC and Design Council working closely together
- Further research is needed to evidence the value of design to the economy and, in particular, innovation: designers, economists and business practitioners should collaborate on this
- There are opportunities to put design at the centre of sustainability focused projects in science and business
- Further academic research should be conducted to demonstrate the impact that improved environmental/urban design can have on human outcomes in health or broader well-being
The immediate next step is to carry out work on service design and anyone interested in encouraged to contact Ruth Flood (Ruth.Flood@madano.com) from Madano partnership – the consultancy which carried out the initial study.