Welcome from the Rector


In 2012/13 the RCA launched four new Master’s programmes – the largest increase in course provision in recent history. Designed both to reflect and inform new practices in design, we launched Information Experience Design, led by Dr Kevin Walker; Interior Design, led by Ab Rogers; Service Design, led by Dr Nick de Leon, and Global Innovation Design, led by Professor Miles Pennington. This latter programme sees the RCA working on a global stage, in partnership with the Pratt Institute in New York and Keio University, Tokyo.

With these exciting new programmes the RCA witnessed a 10 per cent increase in student numbers and a commensurate growth in staff. The excellence of an RCA education rests on the calibre of academic staff, and I’m delighted to report that in preparation for the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework assessment in 2014, the RCA will be submitted 100 members of faculty all with outstanding research profiles. 

World-ranking academics attract the world’s finest students, and this year we welcomed 1,249 talented individuals from some 59 different countries, and increased our pool of MPhil and PhD candidates.

The RCA is often described as the world’s most influential art and design university, and this year we lived up to that reputation by being called upon to deliver a series of design workshops at 10 Downing Street, aimed at senior policy advisers and high-flying civil servants. 

Alumni continue to influence the world, from Thomas Heatherwick's Olympic Cauldron to Elizabeth Price's Turner Prize win. We expect our greatly expanded cohort of InnovationRCA design entrepreneurs to exert similar influence over our global future.

We saw the magnificent new Dyson Building open in autumn 2012, and construction of the Woo Building began in spring 2013. It is on track to open its doors to students from the School of Material in spring 2015. 

A group of first-year Architecture students won a design competition to create a demountable – or ‘pop down’ – outdoor theatre and meeting space near Wembley Stadium commissioned by Brent Council in London. Such live projects with ‘real world’ partners abound across the RCA and offer tremendous strength to the employment prospects of our highly talented graduates. 

With a sector-leading response rate of 97 per cent of all relevant graduates, the most recent survey (covering those who graduated in the years 2006–10 inclusive), showed that an average of 96 per cent were employed at the appropriate level to their RCA degree. Of those for whom we have data, this figure surges to 99%.

Especial thanks are due to those donors whose support has unlocked so many possibilities, in particular the James Dyson Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, and the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation. We remain grateful to HEFCE for its continued support of the RCA, in particular, its recognition of the high costs associated with the RCA’s teaching practice and provision of technical facilities. 

Dr Paul Thompson

"Such live projects with ‘real world’ partners abound across the RCA and offer tremendous strength to the employment prospects of our highly talented graduates."
Dr Paul Thompson
Dr Paul Thompson
Photographer: Anja Schaffner