DesignSingapore Council’s flagship initiative is also working with Challenge Statement Partners Grab, Tsao Foundation and Busy Bees Asia to encourage more designers to design for impact through applied research
Singapore, 8 December 2021 – To spur more Singapore-based design firms and designers to design for impact through research and experimentation, DesignSingapore Council has increased its amount of funding and support for recipients in the Good Design Research (GDR) initiative.
Recipients will be eligible for funding of up to S$50,000 for their projects under the Good Design Research Grant component, compared to S$35,000 when the initiative first launched. The scope covered under this funding has also been expanded to include non-business operational, rental and manpower needs such as employees’ salaries.
Since its launch in March 2020 in the midst of a pandemic year, GDR has seen an increasing interest in design research to create innovative impactful solutions, receiving more than 120 submissions for its three Open Calls so far.
“The Good Design Research initiative has grown from strength to strength since we first launched it. Applied research is fundamental for designers who are seeking to find new approaches and innovative solutions to address the pressing real-world challenges we are facing today. It is a sign of maturity that more Singapore designers are embracing research and coming forward to take up the call to create a better world by design,” says Mark Wee, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council.
Eight projects were selected for the third Open Call, with a majority of them responding to urban issues through initiatives such as inclusive spatial design for persons with disabilities; revival of ageing malls as lively and resilient community spaces; the harnessing of biomimicry for building facades; immersive sonic explorations to build a sense of connection to a city; and the sustainable growth of ground-up community museums.
“We were attracted to Good Design Research because it promises a rare opportunity to marry design and research. Often, research grants tend to be academic and rather narrow in their objectives while design projects tend to be creativity heavy but don't allow the opportunity to indulge in research. GDR is perfect for biomimicry work where a fair bit of research is needed to create innovative designs,” says Dr Anuj Jain, co-founder and CEO of bioSEA Pte Ltd.
This brings the total number of GDR projects to 25 currently. With the increase in funding and support, the initiative hopes to see more designers apply for the Good Design Research Grant which will be accepting submissions until 3 January 2022.
In addition to funding and mentorship, GDR applicants have the opportunity to take on real-world design for impact projects by three new Challenge Statement Partners: digital services giant Grab, non-profit organisation Tsao Foundation and early childhood education provider Busy Bees Asia.
These organisations are looking to work with the design community to create solutions for sustainable packaging in food deliveries; age-friendly environments for the elderly in Whampoa; and educational infrastructure and playscapes that integrate and promote sustainability respectively.
“We hope to minimise the impact of packaging on the environment by working with the design industry to tap on design system thinking and its expertise. We look forward to seeing how we can help catalyse transformation for packaging used in food deliveries,” says Pek Hai Lin, Senior Specialist for Environmental Sustainability, Grab.
Designers keen to get a better understanding of design research may visit the on-going GDR Showcase at the National Design Centre where there is a monthly line-up of projects from GDR’s first two Open Calls.
Please see Annex A below for projects from GDR Open Call 3.
More information about the GDR Showcase can be found here.