Programme launch workshop
We are running a free workshop on 12 September 2022 at 10:00 UK time. This workshop will enable you to:
- identify whether the scheme is a good fit for your project or partnership
- hear more about the opportunities and common pitfalls of academic, industry or public sector collaborations
- receive in-depth guidance on the application process
- ask the panel questions (including representatives from AHRC, Future Observatory and the Knowledge Transfer Network).
Register for the workshop on Eventbrite.
The UK government has now set in law the world’s most ambitious climate change target, cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. It aims to bring the UK more than three-quarters of the way to net zero plus by 2050.
Realising this ambition requires targeted innovation across a multidisciplinary sectorial spectrum. There is a growing recognition of the role of design-led solutions and the role of design researchers as facilitators of the necessary multi and interdisciplinary innovation.
UK Research and Innovation’s current priority of building a sustainable, productive net zero economy provides an opportunity to both inform research in this area and to demonstrate the value of design research in driving innovation to support progress towards green transition goals.
AHRC is seeking to explore the potential of design thought leadership for the green transition through the establishment of a national Design Exchange Partnerships (DEPs) network. Building upon the successes of the pilot cohort, the first full round of DEPs will comprise up to twenty distinct but complementary design-led projects addressing specific challenges in the context of coastal and island communities.
The challenges presented in making progress towards green transition goals impact the day-to-day lives of people and communities across the UK. We actively encourage DEP proposals that seek to demonstrate tangible impact on these local communities. In particular, we are keen to see this in places where investment can make the biggest difference to everyday life.
Coastal and island communities are especially vulnerable to climate change because of rising sea levels, wave heights and accelerated coastal erosion. They are also disproportionately impacted by:
- low and highly seasonal employment
- low skill levels and educational attainment
- social immobility
- ageing and transient populations
- physical isolation
- poor public health outcomes.
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report has found that by 2050, more than a billion people worldwide will be put at direct and significant risk from coastal-specific climate hazards with more than $14 trillion of infrastructure assets severely exposed by 2100.
Severely accelerated sea level rises resulting from rapid continental ice mass-loss could bring these impacts forward by decades. Adaptation will need to occur much faster and at a much greater scale than ever done in the past. A mix of infrastructural, nature-based, institutional and socio-cultural interventions are needed to reduce the multifaceted risk facing these communities.
Coastal and island communities also form a key demographic when addressing wider structural inequalities. A 2019 report by the Social Market Foundation consistently showed disproportionately high numbers of coastal and island communities amongst those local authorities with the worst outcomes on:
- average pay
- per capita economic output.
Meanwhile, Office for National Statistics data about Coastal towns in England and Wales (ONS, 2020) shows that the gaps between these communities and the rest of the country have grown over the last decade.
Realising green transition goals under such circumstances poses a unique challenge which will require a range of specific solutions. A mix of infrastructural, nature-based, institutional and socio-cultural interventions are needed to reduce the multifaceted challenges facing these communities.
Future Observatory is a new national programme of research, debate and training to show how design research can drive Britain’s future prosperity.
With a dedicated team and using the Design Museum as its hub, the programme brings design researchers together with the partners who can help them have an impact on achieving the nation’s environmental goals. Using design as its engine, this major programme aims to set the agenda for social and technological change in Britain.
Future Observatory will act as the engagement hub for DEPs, providing opportunities for showcasing research, running events for award holders as well as networking opportunities and the chance to help shape the conversation around the UK’s green transition.
Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) exists to connect innovators with new partners and new opportunities beyond their existing thinking, accelerating ambitious ideas into real-world solutions.
Innovate UK KTN is part of the Innovate UK Group, the UK’s innovation agency. With almost 50 years of experience delivering Innovate UK’s flagship knowledge exchange scheme, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, KTN has played a key role in shaping DEPs.
Its advisors will form part of the ongoing support and engagement with DEP projects, sharing their considerable expertise on academic-business partnerships and developing hybrid skills for researchers.