Materials Science Research Centre

In 2017 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 three Research Fellows, one for each theme – Sustainable Future Consumer Experience (Bruna Petreca), Sustainable Future Materials (Miriam Ribul), Sustainable Future Manufacturing (Patrick Hennelly).

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–economic innovations. The Group marks the first phase of the RCA Material Science Research Centre.



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

  • 020 7590 4464