NEWS12 April 2024

The Design Museum gains independent research organisation status

Leisure & Arts News Public Sector UK

UK – The Design Museum in London has become the first independent museum to receive independent research organisation (IRO) status due to its role in leading and supporting research.

The Design Museum in Kensington

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awarded IRO status to the Design Museum on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and places the museum on the same footing as universities.

Institutions with IRO status are eligible for funding from UKRI to sustain further research.

Other cultural institutions to have received this accreditation include the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The Design Museum’s research culture is based on understanding the contemporary landscape that design plays a tangible role in shaping, with the museum supporting design research across departments, from curatorial and learning to audiences and collections.

Its flagship research platform is Future Observatory, the Design Museum’s national research programme for the green transition, and the museum is running the £25m three-year programme in partnership with AHRC.

Christopher Smith, executive chair at the AHRC, said: “Design unlocks system-level thinking to address the large scale and interconnected challenges of a global world.

“AHRC is proud to have placed design at the centre of its work within UKRI, catalysing new collaborations and raising the ambitions and impact of researchers and practitioners alike.

“We welcome the Design Museum as an IRO, and look forward enormously to new partnerships in design-led research and innovation.”

Tim Marlow, director at the Design Museum, said: “To be the first independent museum to receive IRO status signifies the museum’s evolving position in the cultural landscape.

“We have always been a place where the range and impact of design has been explored, through our exhibitions, displays, events and learning programming.

“Our newly granted research status will give us the opportunity to explore the potential of design to give shape to the future in greater depth.

“It will also give creative energy to the museum and be a catalyst for change well beyond the walls of our landmark building.”