Design Museum first of its kind to receive independent research organisation status

Image: Design Researchers in Residence 2022-3 Solar Display © Felix Speller for the Design Museum

The London museum’s IRO status grants it the same research status as universities, enabling access to further research funding

London’s Design Museum has become the first independent museum to be accredited with independent research organisation (IRO) status.

It joins institutions such as the V&A, Tate, and the Royal Shakespeare Company in receiving the accreditation.

The status places the museum on the same footing as universities, and makes it eligible for a range of funding from UKRI to sustain further research.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) granted the IRO status to the museum on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for its role “leading and supporting research”.

Tim Marlow, Director of the Design Museum said the accreditation “signifies the museum’s evolving position in the cultural landscape.

“Our newly granted research status will give us the opportunity to explore the potential of design to give shape to the future in greater depth.

“It will also give creative energy to the museum and be a catalyst for change well beyond the walls of our landmark building.

The museum’s national research programme Future Observatory, funds and exhibits new designs hoped to address environmental issues. In 2021 it absorbed the museum’s Designers in Residence programme, transforming it into Design Researchers in Residence to reflect the new focus on research.

Future Observatory’s efforts include ‘Design the Green Transition’, £25 million three-year programme delivered in partnership with AHRC.

A Future Observatory display space was opened last year at the museum to introduce visitors to ongoing design research across the UK.