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The RSA Student Design Awards is a global curriculum and competition that challenges students to apply their skills and creativity to tackle today’s most pressing social and environmental issues.

We achieve this aim by setting project briefs that inspire and challenge students to think differently about the boundaries and purpose of design. We work closely with industry partners to develop the briefs, ensuring that students are setting their minds to pressing real world problems. And we help colleges, universities and educators embed the briefs into their curricula, supporting participants further with workshops and mentoring.

The competition is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled at any higher education institution, college or university anywhere in the world. New graduates can also enter within a year of graduating, and we accept entries from individuals and teams. Responses can come from any discipline or combination of disciplines, and can take any form – from product, communication and service proposals to spatial, environmental and experience solutions.

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

109,442 projects have been entered since the Awards began in 1924

2,086 briefs issued over the last 95 years

£32,000 in cash prizes and paid industry placements awarded in 2018/19 

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