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Service Design Research

Our core research activities are focused primarily on the public sector and are consolidated in our research lab, Service Studio Lab. The studio aspect of the research lab recognises the need to translate academic research into practice and demonstrate the effectiveness of new methodologies, tools, frameworks and theory that emerge from the lab, hence the integration of studio with our research laboratory.

The Studio-Lab combines research, design and testing for public service innovation, as well as training and support for new social enterprises delivering services. Studio-Lab has emerged from our work with the UK Cabinet Office and in response to our project partners at Transport for London, the NHS, and Capita who are engaged directly in the delivery of public services, as well as industry partners such as Sainsbury’s.

The mission of the Royal College of Art's Service Studio-Lab is to:

  • Research new methods and tools for designing public services, blending inclusive design methods with innovation in business models and digital technology, as well as researching the role and importance of service design in public sector policy formulation following our involvement with UK Government Cabinet Office and Civil Service
  • Provide a laboratory environment for simulation and modelling of new services (SIMLab) as well as exploiting safe environments for prototyping and piloting services (LivingLab)
  • Generate unique IP relating to Service Platforms that can be exploited by Public Sector and Third Sector Organisations
  • Develop and deliver knowledge transfer programmes for service commissioners and service providers in service design as well as provide digital resources for e-learning and online tools for service design practitioners
  • Support the incubation of new social enterprises to deliver public services through InnovationRCA

Follow these links for more information on Service Studio-Lab Missionthe Service Design programmeService Studio-Lab's Research Activities and Service Studio-Lab Outputs Planned for 2014.

Follow these links for more information and guidance about Applying for a Research Degree at the RCA, the College's MPhil/PhD Application Process including details of  research proposal requirements and portfolio requirements (if applicable), and for full details of cross-college MPhil/PhD Entrance Requirements.


+44 (0)20 7838 1234