University Design Forum is an independent organisation founded to promote high quality design in University campuses, buildings and facilities, in the knowledge that this enhances teaching, learning, research and public engagement.

We organise tours, workshops and debates across the UK, including an overseas tour and an Annual conference. Our aim is to promote design excellence in the sector and we do this by commissioning research, hosting exhibitions and making films. We are also building a body of case studies and building data sheets as a point of reference for those interested in designing or developing University Projects.

University Design Forum has evolved since its inception as one of the RIBA Client forums in the early 1990's: known then as the Higher Education Design Quality Forum to being founded as a registered and charitable company in 2006 with the support of its 48 founder members. Our name changed to the University Design Forum in 2022. We are keen to expand our membership, reach and knowledge base which is currently drawn from over 200 organisations including 60 universities, with an expanding international interest through both our conference and international tours.

The forum strives to maintain a balance of representation from higher education (both academics and estates professionals) and from architecture, design, engineering and construction. We are also actively partnering with other interested parties such as YouthSight, the Association of University Directors of Estates and Scottish Association of Directors of Estates in our research programme.

As part of our contribution to design excellence in 2019 we set upon a design research initiative with UK schools of architecture to compliment our other research initiatives with our Student Prize.  This is an annual  travelling programme which showcases  thought provoking content from current students at our annual conference.



Join Us

Members of University Design Forum are valued for their professional expertise and contribution to the development of an understanding of design and its impact on higher education. The core criteria for membership of the forum is that members should either be active in higher education or engaged in providing professional services to higher education relating to the built environment. The role of members requires a regular contribution to the aims and objectives of the forum including supporting and contributing to the orchestration of events or publications. It is intended to maintain a 50/50 balance of equal member numbers from academia with consultants and companies.

Membership Benefits:

  • Membership is organisational and will allow named representative(s) free priority bookings for most meetings and events.
  • Annual conferences and seminars will be charged at a discounted rate
  • Fully paid members will be able to access restricted website resources including extended case studies, building data sheets, research papers and ​international tour web items.
  • An organisational colleague may represent named individuals who cannot attend events as and when appropriate.

I would like to apply for membership of the University Design Forum. →