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Working with the RSA

Working with the RSA

Our partners all share our commitment to achieving social impact.
We work with thought leaders from all sectors who want to support a creative, practical approach to research, policy and practice to tackle some of today's most pressing social challenges.

Our independence and long history of innovation give us a strong convening power. We draw on our diverse networks, including the expertise of our 28,000-strong Fellowship. Our Fellows are like-minded people from a wide range of backgrounds, all united by a desire to work with communities and institutions to enrich society through ideas and action.

The RSA has played a crucial role in the debate around responsible capitalism in the UK. Its influential and informed voice has set an important challenge to all businesses – how to act responsibly towards the communities they serve and the people they employ. Thought leadership of this kind is invaluable and I recommend the RSA to all businesses searching for innovative ideas around organisational development.

Sir Ian Cheshire

Former Chief Executive, Kingfisher

Working together to achieve social change

We work closely with our funding partners to develop innovative projects, collaborating with key opinion formers and sharing expertise to drive social change.

We test out our ideas with practitioners and service users in communities to deliver impact on the ground. These range from work in education and design, to enterprise, public service innovation and work to foster more resilient citizens and communities.

We develop an offer for our partners which can combine funding of our rigorous, independent research, with event sponsorship opportunities, which provide first class branding and profiling opportunities to targeted audiences.

A strong partnership

Our work depends on working in partnership with corporates, trusts and foundations and statutory bodies. 

Our partners appreciate the mix of innovation, evidence and engagement we bring, as well as the partnership approach we take to sharing learning and testing our ideas within organisations and communities.

The RSA relies entirely on external funding to run our action and research projects, and are grateful for the support of all our funders and sponsors who enable this work to happen.

Our funders include individuals, companies, local authorities, trusts and foundations such as Friends Provident Foundation, RBS, Unilever, Heritage Lottery Fund, London Greater Authority, NHS England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation amongst many others.

Highlights from our portfolio

Highlights from our portfolio

Working with our partners, we take a creative approach to our work in education and creativity, economy and enterprise, communities and public service innovation.

For instance we are interested in democratising economic policy-making through citizen participation and exploring how city growth might be more inclusive, bringing benefits to the whole community. Recent projects range from developing creative teacher education; to an awards programme for design students; to exploring growing sectors such as self-employment and the sharing economy. We have worked across many sectors with a variety of partners to find creative, innovative solutions to the social issues of our day.

RSA City Growth Commission

RSA created and ran a major 12 month inquiry into the potential of cities to drive economic growth in the UK and to help meet the significant economic and social challenges of the next decade.

The Commission was chaired by Jim O’Neill, the former Chairman of Goldman Sachs and explored the contribution that skills, infrastructure investment and fiscal devolution can make to boosting economic growth, at a local and national level. We ran a programme of commissioned research, round table events with policy makers and a high level seminar series to create consensus among key central and local government stakeholders and deliver our plan for growth.

The launch of the final City Growth Commission report Unleashing Metro Growth on 22 October 2014 received an impressive amount of press and influence for the RSA, with coverage in the Sunday Times, FT, Guardian, Telegraph, Evening Standard, Economist, in the trade press, local news and interviews on the Today programme, across the BBC, ITV and Sky News.

Its conclusions have gone on to shape government policy and the high profile "Northern Powerhouse" agenda. This programme of work entered an exciting new phase in April 2016 with the launch of the Inclusive Growth Commission, supported by partners including Joseph Rowntree Foundation, PwC and Core Cities.

RSA Student Design Awards

The RSA Student Design Awards are the world’s longest standing, most pioneering design curriculum and competition for university students and new graduates, having run for over 90 years. The annual SDA programme challenges emerging designers around the world to tackle pressing social, environmental and economic issues through design thinking.

The SDAs challenge students to think about their design skills in a whole new way as they use their skills to solve complex issues facing society by responding to briefs co-designed with a wide range of corporate, trust and statutory partners including RBS, Airbnb and the Office for Disability Issues. The winners go on to transform the world of design, and indeed the world we live in. Sir Jonathan Ive is now Chief Design Officer at Apple and was recently knighted for his services to design and enterprise, while Ben Terrett went from winning an RSA Award to later leading the Government Digital Service team that has transformed the way UK public services are delivered. 

Police Federation Independent Review

The Police Federation, the police staff association, asked RSA to lead an independent review, following a number of recent controversies.

Our high profile report proposed fundamental reform of the Federation's culture, behaviours, structures and organisation and was widely endorsed, including by the Home Office and the Home Affairs Select Committee.

In May 2014, the Police Federation annual conference accepted all of our 36 far reaching recommendations which set out a roadmap of reform allowing the Federation to begin a process of major reputational and cultural change.

The RSA is one of the UK's liveliest institutions, imaginatively convening a great network of intelligent people interested in making the world a better place.

Geoff Mulgan

Chief Executive, Nesta

Become a partner

To enquire about your organisation becoming a partner of the RSA simply click the button below to email our partnerships team, or call us on +44 (0)20 7451 6849.

If you've got any questions, please contact Laura Partridge, Interim Head of Development on

enquire about partnership

Laura Partridge

Laura Partridge

Senior Development Manager