Professor Sharon Baurley appointed chair of the Burberry Material Futures Research Group

Professor Sharon Baurley

The Burberry Foundation and Royal College of Art have announced the appointment of Professor Sharon Baurley as Professor of Design and Materials and Chair of the Burberry Material Futures Research Group, which will work on the development of new sustainable materials.

The Group is the first explicit “STEAM” research initiative at an art and design university, and was announced in 2017 following an award of £3m from the Burberry Foundation. The Group will “apply radical thinking to invent new sustainable materials, transform consumer experience and advance manufacturing” to benefit the whole industry and wider community.

Professor Baurley’s experience ranges from smart materials to the impact of new technologies on the future of manufacturing, and she will define the research agenda of the Group. She will also lead the commercial and practical application of the outcomes through collaboration with industry partners.

Professor Baurley has been a Research Professor at the RCA since 2016, where she also completed her PhD in Textile Design. Her work consulting with industry includes Courtaulds Textiles, Marks & Spencer, Unilever, Design Intelligence and Mantero.

“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,” Professor Baurley said.

“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,” she added.

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.