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My Naturewatch, a research project led by Dr Rob Phillips (School of Design)

Key details


  • 17 October 2022


  • RCA

Read time

  • 1 minute
A collaboration with Oppo and the White Stork Project (durrell Trust) on the infamous Knepp Estate, rewilding project.

The Royal College of Art, in collaboration with the University of York's Stockholm Environment Institute and Wrexham Glyndŵr University, has been awarded £3.3 million by UKRI's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to establish the Ecological Citizens NetworkPlus, over four years.

Bringing together a multidisciplinary team of experts in design, science and technology, ‘Ecological Citizens: Tools, Technologies and Means to Enable Sustainable Citizens’ aims to tackle the ecological and climate crisis by using the digital economy to catalyse sustainable change beyond individual actions.

As a research network, Ecological Citizens will mobilise diverse groups of people to make impactful change through accessible technology and community-focused approaches – including citizen science, activism, collective learning, advocacy, design strategies, manufacturing, environmental science and engineering practices.

The network has the potential to cover a wide range of pressing topics from biomaterials and wildlife corridors to local manufacturing and repair, and will draw on expertise from across the RCA, as well as other academic, business and civil society partners.

The grant awarded by EPSRC includes three rounds of seed funding which will be available to support innovative startups and pilots devising new-found ways to engage people with nature.

The BeeLab project, part of Phillips PhD, under the supervision of Prof Baurley. Open workshops, run in collaboration with the Horizon Digital Economy and Technology Will Save us.

Ecological Citizens is led by Dr Rob Phillips (Senior Tutor in Design Products, School of Design, RCA) with Professor Sharon Baurley (Director of the RCA’s Materials Science Research Centre) and Tom Simmons (Head of Programme, Digital Direction, School of Communication, RCA), in partnership with Dr Sarah West of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York and Professor Alec Shepley of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, as well as a range of non-academic partners from industry, charities, culture and civil society.