Sharon Baurley appointed as chair of the Burberry Material Futures Research Group
Set up in 2017 following an award of £3 million from the Burberry Foundation, the group is the first explicit ‘STEAM’ research initiative at an art and design university and will apply radical thinking to invent new sustainable materials and transform the consumer experience.
In her new role, Baurley will define the research agenda of the group while leading the commercial and practical application of the outcomes through collaboration with industry partners.
Baurley said: “It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to build the Burberry Material Futures Research Group into an internationally leading centre in research and innovation in design and materials that contributes to building a future of sustainable design and production. I look forward to bringing my professorial leadership skills that can synthesise across design and STEM to advance the RCA’s STEAM agenda by developing researchers and students to occupy this unique cognitive space.”
Baurley has been a research professor at the RCA since 2016, after having also completed her PhD in textile design at the college. Her work consulting with industry includes Courtaulds Textiles, Marks & Spencer, Unilever, Design Intelligence and Mantero.
Leanne Wood, Burberry’s chief people, strategy & corporate affairs officer, and trustee of the Burberry Foundation, said: “We are delighted that Professor Sharon Baurley has been appointed chair of the Burberry Material Futures Research Group. The group was created to find ways to build a more sustainable future and we are excited to see the advances in material science that will be achieved under her leadership.”
The Burberry Material Futures Research Group will act as a “virtual” centre until it officially opens its doors in 2020 at the new RCA campus and will pave the way for the establishment of the future RCA Materials Science Research Centre.
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