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Materials Science Research Centre

The Burberry Foundation awarded £3 million to the Royal College of Art to establish the Burberry Material Futures Research Group – the first of its kind in the world. 

The Burberry Material Futures Research Group is the first explicit ‘STEAM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) research group at a traditional art and design university, and will promote a design-led disruptive research environment to develop new approaches to innovation in materials and applications.

The aim of the Group is to ''inspire creativity and pioneer more sustainable materials and techniques in the UK creative industries through researching the future of sustainable future materials, consumer experience and manufacturing', through taking a systems approach to materials research to propose new realities that effect a new coupling of materials resources use to human wellbeing and economic development, in order to help society transition to a sustainable existence.

The Group brings together world-leading researchers in design-led material futures to investigate the major challenges of new and sustainable materials, new and sustainable approaches to manufacturing and supply chain processes, and design-led innovations in consumer experience and product interaction. The Group comprises two Research Fellows – Sustainable Future Consumer Experience (Bruna Petreca) and Sustainable Future Materials (Miriam Ribul).

The Group combines the RCA’s world-leading research strengths in design-led innovation, creativity and craft, with expertise from science disciplines, to create an interdisciplinary research team. Our real-world challenges relating to environmental sustainability necessitate such an interdisciplinary ‘STEAM’ approach in order to produce holistic technical, social, human and economic innovations. The Group marks the first phase of the RCA's Material Science Research Centre.

MPhil/PhD Programme

The Materials Science Research Centre MPhil/PhD programme focuses on the invention and the experience of materials to address real world challenges, such as environmental sustainability, and human health and wellbeing.

Current Research Students

Katrine Hesseldahl
Component Wear and Consumer Experience for the Circular Economy:
The proposed research aims to establish a framework for designing consumer experiences that contribute to a circular economy by inviting and empowering consumers to participate in closing the material circles. 



  • Materials Science Research Centre
    Royal College of Art
    4 Hester Road
    London SW11 4AN

  • 020 7590 4464
    [email protected]