Government Announces Support for Royal College of Art's New Battersea Campus
Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer The Rt Hon George Osborne MP announced the Government’s support for a new Royal College of Art Battersea campus, creating a flagship, 15,000sqm centre for up to 1,500 postgraduate students and entrepreneurs.
The new RCA campus will sit alongside the RCA’s existing Dyson Building and Clore Innovation Centre, and the Sackler fine arts facilities in Battersea. The new campus will offer new programmes at the intersection of design and science, such as robotics; wearable technologies; the application of ‘smart materials’ into new product areas; and City design – all of which form part of the new vision for the RCA in 2021.
Driven by a strong, entrepreneurial streak, a remarkable 45% of RCA alumni go into self-employment or run their own business (survey undertaken by EKOS, 2015); the new Battersea building will allow the RCA to expand the number of start-ups in InnovationRCA, the College’s commercialisation and business incubator.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England’s report Research to Assess the Nature and Annual Value of Student Start-ups (2015), ranked the RCA as having ‘the highest number of student spin-outs with university ownership in recent years in the UK’. The RCA had 14, compared to 4 at Oxford, Imperial and UCL and 2 at Cambridge. This is quite extraordinary, given that the RCA student body is only 1,500.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art said: 'This is excellent news for the RCA, for London and for Britain. The new campus will create a flagship centre for design and innovation boosting UK creative industries. As the Chancellor stated, today’s announcement is an investment in Britain – the design economy is worth £71.7 billion to the UK and the RCA is a vital contributor to British design and creative arts.'
The RCA remains committed to its Kensington site and its historic roots, including its joint Master's programmes run with its Albertopolis partners, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Imperial College, London.