The Grand Challenge
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The RCA Grand Challenge is the biggest single-institution postgraduate design project in the world.
About the RCA Grand Challenge
Established in 2016, the RCA Grand Challenge is an interdisciplinary event that runs each year across the entire School of Design, bringing together MA, MRes and PhD students to tackle key global challenges through collaboration.
The Grand Challenge gives postgraduate designers the opportunity to work together across a range of disciplines – including Design Products, Fashion, Global Innovation Design, Innovation Design Engineering, Intelligent Mobility, Service Design and Textiles – as well as with leading industry partners, such as Logitech and CERN.
“The RCA Grand Challenge is an important strategic project in the School of Design focussing on multidisciplinary approaches to new design thinking. It encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, challenges students to think beyond their current methods, and inspires innovative and tangible responses to large scale global issues.”Dean of the School of Design
The Grand Challenge 2022/23: Engaging Communities for Generating Marine Sustainable Economies
The Grand Challenge 2022/23: Engaging Communities for Generating Marine Sustainable Economies invited students to explore how design can leverage and stimulate citizen science-led practices for increasing the health and productivity of the world’s oceans.
2022/23 saw the RCA’s School of Design partner with volunteers from RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.
Find out more about the winning designs on our dedicated project page: The Grand Challenge 2022/23.
The Grand Challenge 2021/22: New Economic Model for the Oceans
The Grand Challenge 2021/22: New Economic Model for the Oceans invited students to investigate global topics including environmental sustainability, plastic pollution, loss of marine habitat and new ocean economies.
2021/22 saw the RCA’s School of Design continue their partnership with Logitech, one of the most innovative design companies in their industry, with support from Extreme E, a radical new off-road electric motorsport series, and Sustainable Ventures.
Find out more about the winning designs on our dedicated project page: the Grand Challenge 2021/22.
The Grand Challenge 2020/21: Design for Safety
The Grand Challenge 2020/21: Design for Safety asked students to develop design responses that explore, challenge or improve the practice of Design for Safety, in partnership with Logitech.
Interdisciplinary teams of students from across the School of Design worked together to respond to one of seven sub-themes: leadership, care, next generation interaction, futures, truth, health and resilience.
Find out more about the winning designs on our dedicated project page: the Grand Challenge 2020/21.
The Grand Challenge 2019/20: Enhancing the Human
The Grand Challenge 2019/20: 'Enhancing the Human – capability and performance', asked students to consider designing for humans 180 years from the present, in partnership with Logitech and with support from CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.
79 interdisciplinary teams of 400 students received guidance from academic and industry mentors from the RCA, Logitech, CERN and external organisations including Google X and Lego. Their designs tackled a range of projected problems including climate change, overpopulation and complex ethical challenges, students presented optimistic design-led solutions, with the future in mind.
Discover the four winning designs on our dedicated project page: the Grand Challenge 2019/20.
The Grand Challenge 2018/19 with CERN
For the Grand Challenge 2018/19 the RCA partnered with CERN. Students worked in interdisciplinary teams to find solutions to a series of different global issues, addressing four key themes: Health and Wellbeing; Digital Disruption; Energy, Infrastructure and the Environment; and Social and Economic Disparity.
The four winning teams showcased their projects during the School of Design Work-in-progress Show, visited the Large Hadron Collider and presented their work at CERN in February 2019.
Discover their solutions on our dedicated project page: the Grand Challenge 2018/19.
The Grand Challenge 2016/17 with Lloyd's Register
The Lloyd's Register Safety Grand Challenge in 2016/17 took on two water-related safety issues: ship-to-ship transfers and future city river safety.
Partnering with the RNLI, the Grand Challenge aimed to make the River Thames the safest river by the year 2030. RCA design students worked alongside academics and researchers to explore, design and prototype seven major ideas that bring multi-disciplinary innovative solutions to tackle design risk and safety on water.
Find out more about the Lloyd's Register Safety Grand Challenge.
Professor Paul Anderson
Paul has an international profile in leading-edge research into fundamental human computer interface issues associated with 3D interfaces, haptics, 3D sound and gesture-based interaction.View full profile
Head of Programme
Zowie Broach has been Head of Programme, MA Fashion at the Royal College of Art since 2015.View full profile
Dr Laura Ferrarello
MRes Design Pathway Leader
Combining the architectural and design scale Laura investigates the social dynamics between digital and physical space/systems /interfaces, as generated by people’s experience of technology.View full profile
Professor Clive Grinyer
Head of Programme
Clive is an acknowledged expert in service design, design thinking and digital and technology innovation who has led award-winning design teams for companies around the globe.View full profile
Professor Ashley Hall
Postgraduate Research Lead
Ashley is Professor of Design Innovation, Postgraduate Research Lead in the school of design at the Royal College of Art and Head of Programme for the MRes Healthcare Design delivered with Imperial College.View full profile
Dr John Stevens
John’s diverse academic and industry experience is reflected in his commitment to design across disciplines and cultures. He researches humanitarian innovation through impactful NGO partnerships.View full profile
Head of Programme
Anne is a textile design, colour and materials specialist with national and international experience in research-based design, product development, manufacture and student-centred education.View full profile
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