A year off to work on design with a business

This fund gives a design researcher the chance to work in business for 6 months to a year and collaborate on projects. They are interested in three priorities:

  • The role of design in the innovation system
  • The role of design in service innovation
  • Evidence to demonstrate the impact and value of Design

Below is some more information.

Funding Body: AHRC and ESRC

Scheme: Design fellowships

Overview: These enable design researchers in UK universities to become embedded in business or public service organisations and work with them on collaborative projects.

Researchers should be keen to apply or test ideas about service innovation in business, public sector or similar context. They should apply in collaboration with a business or public sector organisation of their own choice.

Fellowships support a period between six months and one year on a full time or part time basis, with costs. Awards must start between 1 August and 31 December 2014.

Budget: AHRC meeting 80 per cent of full economic costs

Deadlines: 24 April 2014

Further Information: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Pages/AHRC-ESRC-Design-Fellowships.aspx

Design and innovation

Design in innovation: research development funding

The AHRC is very interested in design innovation at the moment. This fund looks is particularly interesting because it supports speculative research.

Funding Body: AHRC

Scheme: Design in innovation: research development funding

Overview: This call is aimed at enabling groups of researchers, including academics, design practitioners, businesses and any other relevant non-academic organisations or individuals, to hold exploratory workshops, networking and collaborative activities, or conduct original research reviews, scoping studies or capacity building activities focusing on design in innovation.

The following areas were identified as being in particular need of academic investigation:

•the role of design in service innovation;

•the role of design in the innovation ecosystem;

•providing evidence of the impact of design.

Awards should last for a maximum of six months and should be completed by the end of October 2014.

Budget: Funding of up to £50,000 is available on full economic costs basis with the AHRC meeting 80% of the FEC

Deadlines: 31 October 2013

Further Information: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Pages/Design-in-Innovation-Research-Development-Funding.aspx


Priority Areas and Future Trends in the Built Environment

The UK construction industry is a large part of the economy: annual output in 2011 was £107bn. It accounts for 7.6% of UK GVA and directly employs approximately two million people. About a third of all UK construction is procured by the public sector.

Growing and aging populations, rapid urbanisation, new customer trends, changing infrastructure demands and more stringent environmental regulation are all putting pressure on our buildings, and simultaneously creating innovation opportunities. 

Within the UK, some of the largest environmental impacts are from operating buildings. To start to tackle these challenges the whole lifecycle of a building needs to be considered.  From concept – to design and construction – in commissioning and hand-over – during operation and adaption – and through to demolition and re-use –  where the cycle starts again.

The Technology Strategy Board leads in this area, with a variety of programmes and tools designed to accelerate innovation to improve sustainability in the built environment.


Within the UK, around 45% of total UK carbon emissions come from buildings – 27% from domestic buildings and 18% from non-domestic buildings. Much of these emissions come from space heating and hot water provision. 

Construction, globally and in the UK, has a strong subcontracting culture. This means that information and innovation can spread slowly, and contracting practice limits novel approaches or technologies due to concerns over product and professional liability – both the industry and the consumer are conservative and risk averse.


The UK has demanding targets, backed up by policy and legislation, to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. This will require far-reaching changes in design, construction, operation, refurbishment and demolition (for re-use) across the domestic and commercial built environment.

 A rapidly emerging priority for innovation is the need to lift the focus from individual buildings to groups of buildings and ultimately cities.

 To reap the greatest benefits from the needs of adaptability, efficiency and resilience requires a more holistic whole life approach; from cradle, to grave, and repeating again, and again. When considering our buildings we need to think more broadly to include the emerging social dynamics, buildings as clusters, the communities within, and all the players along the full lifecycle of buildings.

The Technology Strategy Board and Future Funding

The Technology Strategy Board established the Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform in 2008 to support UK industry in supplying the growing market for low-impact domestic and non-domestic new build and retrofit and to support delivery of the DCLG Code for Sustainable Homes by 2016. In consultation with industry, government and the knowledge base, the Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform is focusing on six challenges where they can effectively support innovation:

  • Design for future climate change
  • Design and decision tools
  • Build process; allowing the supply chain to innovate together 
  • Management and performance of buildings
  • Materials and components for sustainable buildings
  • Integrating with sustainable infrastructure.


Funding focusing on Research combining Design and Innovation

The Arts and Humanities Research Council have decided to focus a chunk of their funding on design. They are particularity interested in projects which link design and innovation. This sounds like something Staffordshire University are very good at (Flux, High House), so we should be looking to get a bid in.

They want applications to be in by 3 October 2013. We can only submit a maximum of three bids, and in truth we should really be looking to submit only one, so anyone looking to apply should talk to the External Projects Team and the head of their faculty.

More details here: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Pages/Collaborative-Doctoral-Awards.aspx


Staffordshire University wins support from the Design Council


Staffordshire University has won a place on the Design Council’s Design Leadership Programme. The programme is a unique opportunity to work with the Design Council and their Design Associates, to help us use design in the Commercialisation of our research. In the process the projects have been learning valuable new skills to add to their existing capabilities. The successful projects include the Urinary Flow Assessment Monitor with Mr Khawar Hameed and Dr Abdel-Hamid Soliman, The Development of Unfired Commercial Pavers with Professor Michael Anderson and Mr John Adlen, The Development of Shear Reducing Midsoles Concept and Intelligent Footwear with Professor Nachiappan Chockalingam and Dr Roozbeh Naemi and finally the Forensic Contamination Prevention Project which involves Professor John Cassella, Ms Laura Walton, Mr Julian Partridge and Mr Rob Buurstede. The programme runs from November 2012 through to spring 2013 and over that period we will have up to 8.5 days of Jonathan Butters (Design Associate) experience.

Jonathon has kindly agreed to present at our next Enterprise Exchange Meeting on Wednesday 27th March 2013 to talk about the Design programme. The Enterprise Exchange is a quarterly meeting run by the Enterprise and Commercial Development team as a forum to share best practice and showcase projects and activity. Chaired by Dr Stuart Brown, Head of IP and Commercialisation, the group welcomes all university staff engaging in knowledge exchange activity, enterprise, applied research, consultancy and innovation to attend. If you would be interested in joining the group please contact Elizabeth Plant our Information Officer, on 01785 353851 or email e.j.plant@staffs.ac.uk

Schutz v Werit (currently in the UK Supreme Court) infringement of patent by ‘making’ it


Please find attached a Blog on the Schutz v Werit Patent case currently before the UK Supreme Court.  As potential licensees, Universities would need to ensure what contractual rights they require when participating in the ‘manufacture’ of patented products, wherever the University might find itself in the chain.

Design across Europe

A group known as the European Design Leadership Board has formulated a series of recommendations for the European Commission on how to incorporate design as a driver of user-centred innovation across Europe in order to contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy’s goals for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The aim of the report is to enhance design’s long-term contribution to the Europe 2020 goals through increased competitiveness and the pursuit of a better quality of life for EU citizens, with design embedded in Europe’s innovation systems. The recommendations in the report cover aspects including differentiating European design on the global stage, positioning design within the European innovation system and design for both innovative and competitive enterprises and an innovative public sector. On Horizon 2020, the report states that design research must be better embedded in the programme and in particular, that Horizon 2020 work programmes should have sufficient flexibility to enable the formation of multidisciplinary consortia in which design is one essential element. One possible output of projects could therefore be new, meaningful applications with a better design content, better technology usability and better value for users. http://europeandesigninnovation.eu/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Design_for_Growth_and_Prosperity_.pdf