The Helen Hamlyn Research Associates Programme focuses on innovation through the collaborative work of new design graduates of the Royal College of Art.
It explores how people-centred design methods and practices can create new knowledge, new ideas and new opportunities for business.
The programme takes new and recent Royal College of Art design graduates and teams them with industry or voluntary sector partners to work on socially inclusive design briefs related to the centre's three research labs: Age & Ability, Health & Patient Safety and Work & City.
Since it started in 1999, the Helen Hamlyn Research Associates Programme has built an impressive track record of partnership with industry and the voluntary sector, working with more than 100 organisations worldwide.
Research Associates are funded jointly by external partners, who set the briefs and participate in projects, and by the centre, which manages the programme and draws in expertise from the Royal College of Art’s network of design and technical expertise
The Research Associates are selected from a range of disciplines including architecture, product design, design engineering, communication design and vehicle design.
The Programme runs in four phases – Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver – over one calendar year from October to September. Project outcomes are finalised over the summer by the centre and the work is revealed at a final symposium and exhibition in the Royal College of Art galleries in September, as part of the annual London Design Festival.
For Royal College of Art design graduates, the scheme offers the chance to further develop an existing idea or project in a live context, or spend some further time at the College as a member of staff developing new skills and ideas with a real-world partner.
For external partners, the Programme provides a mechanism to work closely with talented new Royal College of Art design graduates, gain access to fresh thinking on products or services associated with social change, and join the College’s uniquely creative research community.
The Research Associates Programme has a growing alumni network.