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Brunel UK's first to join virtual ideas factory

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Brunel students will be the first in the UK to bounce ideas off others and industry worldwide through a global product design innovation hothouse.

Design, engineering and business students will work with the likes of CERN, Kyoto Design Lab and University of Sao Paulo in the Design Factory Global Network.

Brunel University London is among the 29 innovation hubs and universities in the group, which lets students work on design briefs for major companies.

“Our membership and collaborations will add to the student experience at Brunel and greatly broaden our international outlook,” said Dr Vanja Garaj, Head of Design.

Teams of design, engineering and business students will tackle challenges in industry then develop and test prototypes to find best-fit solutions.

Each network member has its own informal workspace, or ‘innovation hub’, for students to work together in an informal creative environment.

Dubbed Design Factory London and set to launch in September, Brunel’s spoke in the hub will have its own workspace in the new Learning and Teaching Centre.

“This is a major achievement for Brunel and we are delighted to be the first UK member of such a renowned and respected network,” said Professor Stefaan Simons, Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences.

“The Design Factory collaborations will inspire and teach our students design thinking and project work, enabling them to develop an international approach and the experience of co-working across cultures, time zones and disciplines,” added Dr Garaj.

The idea began in 2008, when Helsinki’s Aalto Design Factory turned itself into an experimental learning environment aiming to bridge between theory and practice by working more closely with industry.