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Brunel Design School launches "in the spirit of our namesake"

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A new design school has officially opened at Brunel University London that aims to embody the innovative and pioneering spirit of its namesake, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The new school will build on Brunel’s long history of design research and education by bringing together its physical and digital design programmes into a single institution.

Already recognised by the QS University Rankings as one of the best places in the world to study design, Brunel Design School will have over 1000 students and 100 staff, and offer five undergraduate, four postgraduate and three PhD programmes, spanning a variety of design and digital media disciplines. Its researchers will work in a range of exciting and developing fields, including 4D printing, inclusive design and sustainability.

“Design is a jewel in our crown here at Brunel, shining the spirit of our namesake,” said Prof Julia Buckingham CBE, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel, launching the school at a special online event.

“Our plans will be innovative and ambitious as they always are, but whatever shape they take, our central theme will be to develop research and educational programmes that are informed by and tailormade for those who will benefit, and to give our students the academic education and personal skills that they will need to become a success the real world.

“We’ll equip our students with a problem-solving mindset, a humanity centred heart and practical skills.”

The school, based on Brunel’s leafy campus in Uxbridge, west London, features industry-standard design studios, workshops and labs that allow its researchers and students to see real-world projects through from early concept through to fully-fledged working prototypes. Design graduates from Brunel have previously gone on to win awards around the world for their work and take up important leadership roles across a host of industries.

BDS launch IN1Gabriele Grigaite’s Pinteq card terminal allows restaurant guests to make card payments safely. Made in Brunel 2021.

“We are the design school that embodies Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s visionary and practical approach to innovation, entrepreneurship and pursuit of excellence,” said Prof Hua Dong, Dean of Brunel Design School.

“Our culture of design innovation underpins research and education programmes that are delivered by staff members with world class reputations in research, teaching and professional practice in partnership with a wide range of creative industries.”

The school’s launch event took place during Made in Brunel, the flagship showcase for Brunel design students work. After moving online for 2020, this year the show returned to The Bargehouse in London’s Oxo Tower for the tenth time. This year’s showcase includes a broad range of innovative new designs tackling topics as diverse as Season Affective Disorder, smart medication management and restaurant payment systems. The show is free and open until June 20. 

BDS launch IN2
Arthur Dean-Osgood’s open-source electronics kit aims to teach users electronics and circuit building. Made in Brunel 2021

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England, said: “I’ve worked with Brunel for over 20 years and what’s always excited me has been the distinctiveness of the institution. We’ve got lots of great universities, but Brunel has a very clear, almost diamond-focussed mission, and it has delivered on that mission.

“It has had a tremendous impact nationally and internationally, but particularly in the area I live, that I care about, an area where there’s such a vibrant set of industries that need the professional skills, the excitement and the insight that can only come from a university.”

For further information on Brunel Design School, please visit:

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Tim Pilgrim, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268965