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Future Observatory is the Design Museum’s national research programme for the green transition


Launched in November 2021, Future Observatory is coordinated by the Design Museum in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).   

As a cultural institution, the Design Museum is ideally placed to bring cutting-edge design research to broad audiences, making it accessible and engaging and enabling it to have a greater impact. Indeed, Future Observatory redefines what a museum can be: a place not solely focused on the past or the present but one that can help shape the future.  

Acting as both a coordinating hub for a nationwide programme, as well as a research department within the museum, Future Observatory curates exhibitions, programmes events and funds and publishes new research, all with the aim of championing new design thinking on environmental issues.

Design the green transition

In July 2022, after a hugely successful pilot year of Future Observatory, AHRC and the Design Museum launched a multi-million-pound fund bringing UK design researchers, universities and businesses together to catalyse the transition to net zero and a green economy.  

Future Observatory: Design the Green Transition is funded by AHRC and delivered in partnership with the Design Museum. It will benefit over 100 higher education institutions and 75 industry and local authority partners across the nation. It is the largest publicly funded design research and innovation (R&I) programme in the UK.   


Justin McGuirk


Cher Potter

Curatorial Director

Ross Crawford

Programme Manager (maternity cover)

Liz Thornhill

Programme Manager

Andrea Conde Pereira

Community Manager

Salah ud Din

Research and Grants Manager

George Kafka


Lila Boschet

Programme Assistant

Leilah Hirson-Comley


Advisory Board

Adrian Lahoud

Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art

Allan Sudlow

Director of Partnerships and Engagement at the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Camilla Buchanan

Co-head of Policy Lab

Edward Harcourt

Fellow of Keble College Oxford and former Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation at AHRC

Hanif Kara

Design Director, AKT II and Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology at Harvard GSD

Indy Johar

Founding Director of Dark Matter Labs

Suhair Khan

Creative strategist, Founder & Director of open-ended

Research Steering Group

Clive Grinyer

Head of Programme for Service Design at the Royal College of Art

Harriet Harriss

Dean of the Pratt School of Architecture

Neal Shasore

Head of School and Chief Executive of the London School of Architecture

Sharon Baurley

Director of the Materials Science Research Centre at the Royal College of Art

Sharon Prendeville

Deputy Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) at Loughborough University