AIR - Academy for Innovation & Research

The Academy of Innovation & Research (AIR) is a design innovation centre and part of the Falmouth University.

Capital investment for the £9.0m AIR project was secured in 2010 and our role was to prepare the business plan that underpinned the ERDF / RDA funding bids. 

The Academy was opened in May 2012.  

The Academy operates both as a multi-disciplinary Research & Development laboratory and as a creative facilitation space. The centre’s focus is on accelerating the development of high growth businesses and raising levels of business innovation, competitiveness and productivity in Cornwall.

AIR is a two-way portal, connecting Falmouth University's intellectual and physical assets to the ‘living lab’ that is Cornwall – its businesses, its people, its environment, its landscape.

The future success of the UK economy relies on the ability to innovate and to exploit new ideas. Indeed, it is accepted that the UK’s future economic growth will be based not on volume and price but on quality and value. In an increasingly competitive global economy, the UK’s key asset is increasingly its creativity and the capacity to generate new ideas, and to apply those ideas in new and exciting ways to business growth.

Design innovation, therefore, is about much more than designing products. It is about the creation and design of brands, services and strategies; characteristics such as convenience, durability, waiting times, customisation; about new forms of media and new ways of communicating; and it’s about new businesses and even new industries.

Design innovation happens through collaboration: creative minds working with technologists, engineers, media specialists and entrepreneurs; and design innovation is at the heart of AIR. Through Design Innovation, existing problems can be re-considered; new opportunities understood and emerging technologies exploited in the light of market shifts. To this end, AIR has created both physical and virtual spaces for these interactions. It draws together the very best international talent with the potential in Cornwall’s businesses, communities and young people, placing Cornwall at the leading edge of the global knowledge-based economy. In this way, it is anticipated that AIR will enhance the region’s competitiveness, leading to higher value jobs, and fast growing international businesses.