Future Observatory – a new programme for Design Research

The Future Observatory is a new national programme for design research supporting the UK’s response to the climate crisis. The programme is a partnership between the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Design Museum in London.

In its foundation year, and in conjunction with the Waste Age: What can design do? exhibition hosted at the Design Museum, Future Observatory is focused on the net zero agenda and related environmental issues.

Through symposia, residencies, displays, roundtables and other activities both within the museum and around the UK, Future Observatory supports research across the spectrum of design disciplines. From product and service design to housing and urbanism, it brings a multi-faceted perspective to issues such as carbon reduction, waste, green technologies and alternative materials.

Future Observatory has launched its first open call. Researchers can apply for the Design Ecosystem Fellowships programme. Successful applicants will receive funding of up to £20,000 to spend up to six months reporting on transformative design innovation ecosystems in the UK. The aim is to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of production systems that support environmental sustainability, circular economies and waste reduction.

Interested applicants are invited to attend a Q&A session on Tuesday March 22nd hosted by Future Observatory and the AHRC. To join please email