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Royal College of Art partners with SMI on Terra Carta Design Lab for second year

Royal College of Art partners with SMI on Terra Carta Design Lab for second year

The Royal College of Art is partnering for a second time with the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta Design Lab, to discover student led, high impact solutions to the climate crisis – following on from the global success of the 2022 edition.

The Sustainable Markets Initiative is inviting students and recent alumni (who have graduated in the last five years) from the RCA and three other prestigious international design schools to address the devastating damage being done to our planet and create breakthrough solutions for Nature, People and Planet, inspired by its guiding mandate – the Terra Carta.

His Majesty King Charles III, in his former role as HRH The Prince of Wales, and Sir Jony Ive launched the Terra Carta Design Lab in 2021, in partnership with the Royal College of Art. This year’s Design Lab has expanded its reach to also partner with Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (UAE), National Institute of Design Ahmedabad (India) and Rhode Island School of Design (USA).

The four winners of the 2022 Terra Carta Design Lab at the RCA – Aerseeds, Amphico, The Tyre Collective and ZELP – have already raised £18 million in investments and grants to date and have been supported by the RCA’s centre for entrepreneurship and incubation, InnovationRCA. In addition, projects from the 20-strong shortlist have gone on to make impact: most notably Notpla, packaging made from seaweed, winning the prestigious £1m Earthshot Prize in December 2022. In addition, Resting Reef has developed its eco-memorial service design to the point where it is now crowdfunding for a pilot reef, and Shellworks, one of two highly-commended projects, is creating naturally biodegradable packaging for major beauty brand Haeckels. 

Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art, said:

“I’m delighted to announce that the RCA is once again participating in the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta Design Lab, established in 2021 by His Majesty King Charles III, in his former role as HRH The Prince of Wales. In 2022 the jury, which included the RCA’s Chancellor Sir Jony Ive, selected a number of start-up ventures that have gone on to secure millions of pounds of seed funding and will help tackle greenhouse gas emissions, airborne microplastic pollution, textiles in landfill, and deforestation. I’ve no doubt that in this second iteration of the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Design Lab, our students and recent alumni will present equally compelling and imaginative design solutions and become successful start-up entrepreneurs.”

The Terra Carta Design Lab will harness the expertise of the RCA and the other three schools, with the power of the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s network of private sector supporters to bring to light innovative, scalable solutions, highlighting the urgent need to focus on the creative collaboration between art, science, design, and engineering.

Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, CEO, Sustainable Markets Initiative said:

“Through the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Terra Carta Design Lab, we aim to inspire accelerated action on the world’s sustainability targets while illustrating a vision of what is possible. Cross-disciplinary engagement, creativity, and design provide a unique opportunity to co-create and discover new paths that can drive the sustainable transition we so urgently need. Scaling the Terra Carta Design Lab globally allows us to expand our search to uncover ground-breaking sustainability solutions, created by the next generation of leaders.  We are delighted to be partnering with such prestigious design schools who each place sustainability at the core of their curriculum.” 

To celebrate the power of thinking differently and bringing together diverse, global minds, two projects from the RCA and each of the other schools will be awarded funding and the opportunity to be mentored by Sir Jony Ive and the Sustainable Market Initiative’s vast network to help scale their ideas and bring them to market. 

Sir Jony Ive, Chancellor of the Royal College of Art said:

“Multidisciplinary collaboration has never been more important. It is incredibly rewarding to see an even broader group of students use deep creative collaboration to develop thoughtful ways of tackling the multifaceted challenges of the climate crisis.

I’m incredibly proud to be part of the Terra Carta Design Lab and the momentum it has built over the past two years. The mission of addressing the climate crisis is more relevant and urgent than ever, and I’m very excited to see the ideas these international design students will have developed by next Autumn.”

All submissions will be judged by a panel of experts at each school, before they each present a top ten shortlist to the Global Judging Panel for final judging, spearheaded by Sir Jony Ive. The winning eight designs will be announced in Autumn 2024. 

The RCA has a highly successful record of developing projects from ideas into reality, with students and alumni creating solutions with the potential to transform how we live. InnovationRCA, the university’s centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 80 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 800 UK jobs.

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