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Boost design research funding, universities urge

More money should be invested in research into design to help boost the UK economy, a new report argues.

A report published by the University Alliance and the Intellectual Property Office says that design innovation is essential for finding solutions to the environmental, social and economic problems of today.

The authors say design-led research has been underfunded in the past due to the interdisciplinary collaborations it requires, and they call on the research councils to work together to offer more funding opportunities.

The report also calls on the Government to place UK design at the heart of its industrial strategy to boost employment and economic growth. It cites research from the Design Council which shows that every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £20 in increased revenues.

Libby Hackett, Chief Executive of the University Alliance said: “Many of the grand challenges facing the UK require new and innovative research, bringing together many different disciplines to find new solutions.

“While design-led research is well placed to develop those methodologies and research, it remains a challenge to secure Research Council funding because of its cross-disciplinary nature.”

The report provides case studies from Salford, Nottingham Trent, Manchester Metropolitan, Kingston and Northumbria universities showing how design-led projects are helping to solve “grand challenges”.