New team brings in 33 jobs to put design research firmly on global map at Lancaster University

The Beyond Imagination Team 2020.The Beyond Imagination Team 2020.
The Beyond Imagination Team 2020.
Some 33 people have been appointed to new roles at Lancaster University as part of the largest-ever project on campus.

‘Beyond Imagination’ will explore and demonstrate how cutting-edge design research can create a healthier, more prosperous and sustainable world.

Funded by Research England, this £13.2m three-year research ‘Beyond Imagination’ research project will put design research at Lancaster firmly on the global map, transforming the University’s ImaginationLancaster design team with the 33 new roles – a significant increase.

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The investment will create a critical mass of new researchers, who will be inducted into the culture of research excellence in ImaginationLancaster allowing the team to expand its research and its expertise.

The project will provide fresh perspectives on real world challenges, focusing on five key clusters: home and living; communities and the public sector; factory and workplaces; cities and urban; and population and policy.

It will also focus on four themes including sustainability, health, international and prosperity.

It will address current global challenges such as Ageing Society, Artificial Intelligence and Data, Clean Growth, Health and Wellbeing – and it will also identify and tackle future emerging challenges.

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The expansion of ImaginationLancaster will mean that all areas of design including architectural design are developed, and will feed into the university’s new School of Architecture as well as design.

Starting at Lancaster University are 10 new academics (two each for the five clusters) together with 10 post-doctoral research associates (PDRAs) with one PDRA placed in each of the clusters and themes and one PDRA dedicated to creative evaluation across the whole project.

Ten PhD students, who will work within the clusters and themes, will start in February.

The team is also joined by three new support staff.

The programme’s Principal Investigator, Prof Leon Cruickshank, said: “Beyond Imagination offers considerable benefits for Lancaster and the north west as well as recognising our international leadership in design research.

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“This project will allow us expand our collaborations with local communities and public sector organisations where existing projects have helped attract £4.3m in additional non-university funding for community projects.

“Also we are boosting the local economy thorough the employment of 33 people with the intention of this doubling in the coming 3 years.”

Beyond Imagination was one of only 13 awards made out of 130 applications from across the UK.