Design Factory is a global network of universities and research centres that allows students from around the world to collaborate on design challenges for renowned companies and brands. Last month, students from Hannam University in South Korea spent 10 days at Brunel University London, completing a design challenge, learning from industry professionals and visiting company headquarters.
Brunel joined Design Factory in 2020 and was the first UK institution to join the network. It is now one of three UK universities, along with 37 institutions from 25 different countries.
Brunel is currently the only London university in the initiative and has established Design Factory London.
Involvement in Design Factory London is an extracurricular activity, and students from all courses and cohorts – both undergraduate and postgraduate - can apply to take part in the challenges, getting hands-on experience and collaborating with industry partners such as Heathrow, McDonald’s and Ford.
As well as giving students the chance to create, collaborate and win prizes, the initiative also gives them the rare opportunity to hear from industry professionals and to visit their aspirational sites and headquarters.
Recorded webinars allow students in different time zones to work collaboratively, and there are also opportunities for Design Factory students to visit other universities in the network.
From 16 to 25 January, Design Factory London hosted 13 students from Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea, who worked alongside a dozen Brunel students for 10 days.
In addition to completing a recruitment challenge for The Big Issue magazine, the students also heard from industry professionals at Chelsea Football Club, Microsoft and tms (The Marketing Store) - the company behind McDonald’s’ Happy Meal toy branding.
Students working on their Design Factory Challenge at Brunel
As part of their learning and cultural exchange, the students visited Tower Bridge and a fish and chip shop in Uxbridge.
Ryan Smith, Project Manager for Design Factory London, said: “We had an unforgettable 10 days hosting the students from Hannam University, and their unique perspectives created a truly enriching experience.
“We encourage international collaboration through our network of partners and hope to take some Brunel students to South Korea this summer.
“Enabling students from all courses to participate in Design Factory fosters multidisciplinary collaboration and innovative thinking.
"The challenges provide a priceless learning experience, as well as a unique opportunity to tackle real-world predicaments."
Design Factory London's Project Manager, Ryan Smith, speaking to the students
Brunel’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Prof Andrew Jones, welcomed the students from Hannam University and expressed his pride in Brunel’s global reputation and track record in design. “Design Factory is a global exchange and an important part of what Brunel is involved in around the world and internationally,” he said.
“Design is one of Brunel's major areas of reputation, and the links that Design Factory London has with numerous global companies with headquarters in London provide students with rare opportunities and access to renowned businesses and brands.
“As well as learning from industry professionals, the challenges and activities that Design Factory London facilitate allow students to showcase their product design skills and creativity while networking and collaborating with students from around the world.”
Prof Andrew Jones welcoming the South Korean visitors to Brunel
Last year, students from 10 design factories, including Design Factory London, took part in an intense six-week challenge for McDonald’s and Ford - and they are both back for 2024.
“As part of the upcoming McDonald’s challenge, Design Factory London will work with students across eight other countries to create a more sustainable and engaging Happy Meal toy,” said Ryan Smith.
“Last year, Ford challenged students to create solutions for the future of mobility in non-urban areas, and there will be a fresh new challenge this year.”
Following the success of last autumn’s Chelsea Challenge, students from Colombia will visit Design Factory London in June for a 10-day challenge with the Chelsea Football Club Foundation.
Design Factory London is always looking to expand its partnerships with businesses and has applied for funding from the government’s Arts and Humanities Research Centre, in collaboration with Birmingham’s Aston University, another Design Factory hub in the UK.
For further information on Design Factory London please visit https://www.brunel.ac.uk/brunel-design-school/design-plus/design-factory-global-network
For information on Brunel Design School please visit https://www.brunel.ac.uk/brunel-design-school
Nadine Palmer, Media Relations
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