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Open Inclusion- An Inclusive Design Case Study

Scaling up collaboration in immersive tech Brunel Design School collaborates with industry to develop solutions for inclusive design of the immersive reality-in the areas of broadcast content, gaming and education.

 Open Inclusion


In the spring of 2018 Brunel Design School and Brunel Co-Innovate Journeys initiated a collaboration with Open Inclusion, a London-based consultant specialising in inclusion research. Open Inclusion is a specialist user insight and inclusive design consultancy managing a UK-wide user panel of over 350 people from across the UK with access needs, disabilities and older age. Through Brunel's Research Support Development Office (RSDO) that runs the innovation vouchers scheme, Dr Garaj was able to initiate the collaborative process with Open Inclusion using an initial grant of £5000, which was awarded under the Innovation Voucher Scheme operated by RSDO for the research support. The scheme has been developed by Brunel University London to provide the seed funding leading to larger projects.


The preliminary work included scoping the opportunities and building a network of partners to attract funding for longer-term projects focusing on the inclusive design of the immersive reality - with the view of enabling Open Inclusion to build the relevant consultancy capacity and expand their business platform.Following the Innovate UK success another funding application was made to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's (EPSRC) Digital Economy Investigator-led Research Projects fund. For this call the partnership between Brunel Design and Open Inclusion was expanded to include Cambridge Engineering Design Centre, Games London, To Play For, Virti Health and RNIB.The successful application generated a grant of ca. £600,000, which enables the consortium to work on a 3-year research project to develop the Inclusive Design Toolkit for the Immersive Reality.The collaboration between Brunel Design School and Open Inclusion and the related project work have been managed by Dr Vanja Garaj, Head of Brunel Design and Project Leader for Co-Innovate.

 " Inclusive design has been a topic of research within design for many years. But applying inclusive design in the context of immersive technology has been relatively new, it is novel research. As an academic you always want to do something that hasn't been done before and that can potentially benefit people and in this case people with disabilities " 

Dr Vanja Garaj - Head of Design

About Co-Innovate Journeys

Jointly funded by Brunel University London and the European Regional Development Fund, Co-Innovate Journeys provides support to SMEs, connecting London-based SMEs trading over 18 months with academic expertise and research practices at Brunel University London. Brunel University London's Co-innovate programme is currently funded until March 2023 enabling Brunel to continue to link research with real world businesses and provide innovation and growth to business.
The project provides the tools and support necessary to help business:
  • innovate
  • differentiate
  • create new products and services through collaborative projects with academics and students.

The benefits for our academics:

Having access to a range of SMEs with innovative projects that could lead to research in your chosen areas of science, engineering, technology, business and design, or give your students live projects with real businesses.
For more information about this project please follow the link to the full Case Study.
If you are interested to hear more about the current projects available or for more information, please contact Co-Innovate team on