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The RSA Student Design Awards is a global curriculum and annual competition for higher education students and recent graduates run by the RSA. Each year the Awards challenge emerging designers to tackle a range of design briefs focused on pressing social, environmental and economic issues.

We work closely with industry partners to develop the briefs, we help colleges and universities embed them in their curricula, and we support participants through workshops and mentoring. Winners are rewarded with cash prizes, paid industry placements, complementary RSA Fellowships and a range of other benefits to kick-start their careers. The competition has helped identify solutions and talent that have had a huge impact in the world.

Our goal is to empower a generation of savvy, employable designers who realise the potential of design to benefit society.

History of the SDAs

The RSA Student Design Awards was established in 1924, making it the world’s longest-running student competition and the premier programme focused on design for social change.  

Learn more about the history of the RSA Student Design Awards from our Design for Good report, which charts the transformation of design education and the design industry from a collection of arts and crafts artisans in the early 20th century to today’s generation of creative and socially-responsive problem solvers.

Key Facts

108,719 students have entered the Awards since 1924

2078 briefs issued over the last 94 years

£32,000 in cash prizes and paid industry placements awarded in 2017/18 

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