Evaluation of the Future Observatory: Design the Green Transition programme

The Future Observatory: Design the Green Transition programme is a national £25m research programme aimed at addressing green transition goals through design interventions. It is being funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and delivered in partnership with the Design Museum. It is the largest publicly funded design research and innovation (R&I) programme in the UK.

Over a three-year period, the programme is supporting over 100 higher education institutions and 75 industry and local authority partners across the UK through four different strands of activity:

  • A co-ordination hub and programme of events and exhibitions led by the Design Museum
  • 4x Green Transition Ecosystems, which are large-scale projects that focus on translating design-led research into real-world benefits and build on clusters of design excellence
  • 75x Design Exchange Partnerships, which are three-way collaborative projects bringing together early career design researchers, an academic supervisor and a non-academic organisation to stimulate the real-world application of arts and humanities-led design research
  • 50x Design Accelerators, which are small scale projects that are designed to support engagement between design R&I projects and diverse private, public and third sector organisations, local communities and the general public.

In February 2024, SQW was commissioned by AHRC to undertake a process evaluation of the programme. This will assess the delivery of the programme to date against its objectives, intended scope and expected benefits. We will examine the validity of the delivery model against changes in the wider context and identify lessons to inform future delivery regarding programme structure, funding calls and routes to impact. The evaluation will involve a review of programme documentation and monitoring data, interviews with key team members, partners and stakeholders, and an e-survey of participants; also, a review of comparator programmes.

For further details, please contact Richard Hindle, SQW Director, via rhindle@sqw.co.uk.