Royal College of Art and Extreme E electric car motor racing announce innovative ocean research partnership

The Royal College of Art (RCA) and Extreme E, the off-road electric motorsport series who are working with Unicef, have announced a partnership. This will give students and researchers the data and inspiration to develop innovative responses to the climate crisis.

For students, the RCA Grand Challenge is an annual initiative that sees interdisciplinary teams from across the College’s School of Design working to address some of the world’s most intractable problems by combining science with design.

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Students will collaborate across a variety of disciplines including Design Products, Fashion, Global Innovation Design, Innovation Design Engineering, Service Design and Textiles. Extreme E partners with the RCA for the 2021/22 Grand Challenge alongside Logitech and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. All three organisations are firmly committed to a sustainable future.

The theme of this year’s Grand Challenge is a New Economic Model for the Ocean (NEMO). This will investigate global topics including environmental sustainability, plastic pollution, loss of marine habitat and new ocean economies.

Academics from the RCA’s School of Design will travel to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland this month to install data-gathering equipment aboard Extreme E’s floating centrepiece, the St. Helena ship.

They will monitor and collect vast amounts of data about the world’s oceans as the ship travels to the series’ forthcoming race locations. This will enable students and research staff to access real-world scenarios and vital data to inform their thinking around possible solutions.

RCA Students will be encouraged to identify opportunities for strategic and system level design innovation that can stimulate cultural change around people’s values and attitudes towards the environment.

Teams will be tasked with generating proposals that align with local needs. This will be through products and services that can potentially stimulate and generate economic and social transformation for communities.

This unique partnership between Extreme E and the RCA will allow talented designers to be engaged in developing proposals with leading scientists. This will support new forms of multidisciplinary education and research, and promote the value of sustainable approaches to our relationship with the ocean.

Extreme E, the gender-equal electric off-road racing series, travels to locations around the world that have been severely impacted by climate change. Each event features world-class teams, including entries owned by Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg, to highlight some of the biggest environmental issues facing the planet. The locations highlight desertification, rising sea levels and Arctic ice melt.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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