Managing Innovative Thinking + Design

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

AHRC UK - Designing

Designing for the 21st Century

Designing for the 21st Century is a joint initiative between the AHRC and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It has a budget of £6.5m and will run from 2005 to 2009. By working together, the AHRC and the EPSRC hope to encourage applicants from across the remits of both funding bodies to work collaboratively and foster understanding of the different perspectives of design research. The initiative itself aims to support leading-edge design research which will explore new modes of design thinking suitable for the challenges of designing for 21st Century society.

Current Funding Opportunities
The AHRC and EPSRC are now inviting applications for research project grants under the second phase of this initiative. Applications are welcome which are structured in the most appropriate form to deliver the research objectives identified in the project proposal. It is anticipated that this call will be highly competitive and the available budget will allow up to 20 awards to be supported. The call will support a portfolio of research projects of between 12 and 24 months in duration, and for between £20,000 and £400,000 (fEC).
The closing date for the receipt of applications is 4pm on 6 April 2006.

Design Dialogues
The 21st century has seen rapid advances in almost every aspect of our lives. With our lifestyles, and our demands, changing so quickly, new design disciplines are being created, and new roles for designers are becoming apparent.

With funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) researchers involved in the Designing for the 21st Century, have been finding ways to tackle this issue.

Over the past year, designers, engineers, architects and even a top chef, have been taking part in design clusters, aiming to stimulate new ways of design thinking and support leading-edge design research that is self-reflective, socially aware, and internationally significant. These research clusters will be sharing their findings at a special event at the Royal Institute of British Architects on March 7th.
The event will be an opportunity for academics, design practitioners, engineers, software developers and architects, among others, to learn more about the findings of the research clusters, and to discover how the Designing for the 21st Century initiative will develop over the next three years.

"By bringing together experts working in the domains of both AHRC and EPSRC, it has been possible to develop understanding of the different perspectives of design research," explains Professor Tom Inns, Director of the Initiative. "Design is a vital source of competitive advantage for UK enterprise. It contributes to the country's wealth creation, affects social inclusion, and impacts on people's quality of life. The insights which have been generated from these research clusters will help us all deal with many of the challenges and opportunities that await us in the 21st century."

The call for applications for Research projects will be issued in the next month, and the deadline for applications is 4pm on Thursday, April 6th 2006. Further information about how to apply will be available from


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