collaborations for future

A laboratory for unexpected collaborations

A laboratory for unexpected collaborations.

To take action on the climate challenges we face, designers and architects need to collaborate more closely with climate researchers. Collaborations for Future is not about what topics designers, architects and scientists can work on, but how they can collaborate more effectively and sustainably. How can we imagine, develop, test and support collaboration forms that can enable this?


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Collaborations for Future is a design research program exploring effective collaboration between the creative sector and the scientific field to address climate challenges.

In the Netherlands, designers, architects or creatives are invited to contribute to societal challenges. Several researches have shown the added value that the creative field can have on wicked problems such as climate change. However, many creatives encounter obstacles within existing systems that hinder the necessary change.

This laboratory is set up with the assertion that, in order to achieve long lasting impact on climate challenges, designers need to collaborate with climate scientists.

Collaborations for Future doesn’t dictate the topics designers, architects and scientists should work on, but aims to provide a space for them to explore how to collaborate more effectively and sustainably. Ultimately, CfF looks into how we can imagine, develop, test and support collaborative approaches that can enable meaningful change.

Laboratory outline

Collaboration for Future runs from June 2023 until December 2024 and is a multi-faceted initiative. It consists of 10 one-on-one collaborations between designer and climate scientist, along with 5 ‘Unexpected Encounters’ – a public program discussing what climate change means to different professionals – and one overarching research process looking into the knowledge and findings gathered during the events and collaborations.

Open Call

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Collaboration Research

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    The laboratory’s main objective is to develop innovative commissioning models, methodologies, tools and structures that enable effective collaborations between creative professionals and climate scientists, ultimately addressing the urgent challenges of climate change.

    The laboratory started In the summer of 2023 with an open call to find interested designers. In September a jury chose 10 designers, which were matched with 10 climate scientists. During the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, the made matches met for the first time.
    Periodic updates about the individual processes and collaborative research will be posted on this website.

    public program

    Unexpected encounters

    From December, a series of 5 events - 'Unexpected Encounters' - will be organised and hosted in collaboration with Foundation We Are, Social Design Showdown and Pakhuis de Zwijger. This public program aims to share insights with an interdisciplinary audience - design students, scientific sector, climate policy-makers and other decision-makers.

    See all events of CFF


    Collaborations for Future is an initiative of Foundation We Are, NIOZ - the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, KNMI - the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, PBL - Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken/Social Design Showdown, Utrecht University, Eindhoven University of Technology and Pakhuis de Zwijger.

    Scientific partners

    Climate science is a broad and diverse field of research. Similar to designers, climate scientists specialise in different themes and systems, and work with different methods, tools and models.
    The collaborating scientists engaged within this project thus represent a variety of themes and methods. Some scientists study distinct physical phenomena, such as phenomena like ice sheet melting and ecosystem adaptation. Some focus on developing meteorological models and future scenarios. Furthermore, the scientists can also delve into financial systems related to sustainable development, contribute to policy-level work such as IPCC reports or even study social transitions and behavioural changes on the development of climate change.
    This variety of scales and systems addressed by climate researchers resonates with how designers can and do position themselves and their practice in relation to the existing societal structures.

    Project team

    Program curator - Kornelia Dimitrova, Alexandra Szwaj
    Communication manager - Bernhard Lenger 
    Graphic design and communication - Karen van Luttervelt
    Research - Femke Coops



    Department of Coastal Ecosystems


    Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) is the national oceanographic institute and the Netherlands’ centre of expertise for ocean, sea and coast. NIOZ advances fundamental understanding of marine systems, the way they change, the role they play in climate and biodiversity, and how they may provide sustainable solutions to society in the future.
    Evy Gobbens and Hailley Danielson-Owczynsky, PhD candidates at the department of Coastal Ecosystems will join the laboratory and will collaborate with designers. The Coastal Ecosystems department is focused on understanding how various levels of ecological organisation respond to environmental change through studies on eco-evolutionary patterns and processes in the coastal zone.