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RIBA President's Awards for Research 2020

RIBA President's Awards for Research medal

RIBA President's Medal for Research winner

Richard Beckett for Probiotic Design

2020 winner

The President's Awards for Research celebrate the best research in the fields of architecture and the built environment.

The 2020 RIBA President's Medal for Research has been awarded to the winner of the Design and Technical category: Richard Beckett of the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London for 'Probiotic Design'.

Richard's research offers a fascinating and in-depth technical investigation of how and why we might 'reintroduce good bacteria' (probiotics) back into our built environment; a lack of which has been linked to increasing numbers of chronic and autoimmune illnesses in modern cities.

'Probiotic Design' explores the microbial world with different environments, materials and scales to develop and test prototype building elements designed to support the growth of beneficial bacteria.

This highly pertinent piece of work is a great example of the value of multidisciplinary collaboration and demonstrates the benefits of architects reaching beyond their usual horizons to engage with, what might otherwise seem, unrelated professions.

Find out more about 'Probiotic Design'.

The Research Medal is awarded to the best work from the winners of the four categories: Cities and Community; Design and Technical; History and Theory; and this year's annual theme: Climate Change.


Image: Surface detail of probiotic tiles showing the textural, porous surface of the probiotic zone. Credit: Richard Beckett

2020 Book of Abstracts

View all of the abstracts for the papers submitted this year.

Read more in the RIBA Journal

Richard Beckett of the Bartlett wins the RIBA President’s Awards for Research Medal with his study of 'Probiotic Design' and the advantages of 'good' microbes.

2020 Research Awards shortlist

History and Theory


Cities and Community


Design and Technical


Annual theme: Climate Change

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