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The RSA Student Design Awards is a competition run by the RSA, a registered charity in England and Wales (212424) and Scotland (SC037784). By entering the competition, entrants agree to comply with the rules set out in the Rules + Entry Guidelines document.

Below is an overview of eligibility, submission requirements and entry fees - please download the Rules + Entry Guidelines for the full set of competition rules.



  • The competition is open to currently enrolled students and new graduates from anywhere in the world.

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate students from any higher education institution, college or university are eligible to enter.

  • New graduates can enter within a year of graduating – anyone who has graduated in or after March 2017 is eligible.

  • Entries are accepted from both individuals and teams. Teams can comprise of students from different courses and universities, and there is no set number of people that can be part of a team – but generally team entries comprise two or three people.

  • We accept entries that have been developed as college/university coursework, and we also accept projects that have been developed independently (outside of coursework) as long as the entrant meets eligibility criterion 1 or 2 above.

  • Entries must respond to one of the 2017/18 RSA briefs and must be the original work of the entrants.

  • Entrants may only enter one brief, but may submit more than one response per brief. Each response is considered to be a separate entry and will require completion of a separate submission form and payment of the relevant fee.

  • Candidates who are contracted to work for a company after graduation may not be eligible for some Industry Placement Awards.


Submission requirements

All entries must be submitted through our online entry system. The competition will open for entries on 15 January 2018, and the final deadline for entries is 14 March 2018 at 4pm GMT.

If you are unable to submit online, please contact us by email at

As you prepare your submission, please ensure that:

  • you do NOT include your name, university/college or other identifying marks anywhere on your submission

  • none of your submission files exceed 10MB – this is the maximum size for each individual file / board when you submit online

For all briefs EXCEPT the ‘Moving Pictures’ brief, the submission requirements are:

  • 1 x A3 PDF Hero Image with 1 Sentence Description - a singular ‘poster image’ that conveys the essence of your project, and includes a 1 sentence strapline or description. Your hero image should aim to bring your concept to life – make sure it is vibrant and engaging.

  • 1 x A3 PDF Big Idea Summary – a single A3 PDF page describing your ‘Big Idea’ in less than 250 words. This should clearly explain what your solution is, the specific area of need it addresses, and how you arrived at the solution.

  • 4 x A3 PDF Boards Outlining Your Proposal – 4 pages describing your proposal and demonstrating that you have met the six judging criteria. Each board should include a heading. Number each board in the top right hand corner, in the order they should be viewed by the judges.

  • 10 x A3 PDF Pages of Supporting Material – Up to 10 A3 PDFs of additional material illustrating your development process – this could include scanned pages of your sketchbook or computer modelling/sketches (if applicable).

  • Optional YouTube/Vimeo and website links – Please note that we cannot guarantee supporting films and websites will be viewed at the shortlisting stage. If you have created digital materials, we recommend referencing them (for example by including labelled film stills or website screen grabs) in your 4 main PDF boards.

  • For the 2017/18 ‘Working Well’ brief ONLY: 1-2 page A3 PDF Business Case – You must also submit a business case in addition to the requirements above. The business case should not exceed two pages and may include diagrams and/or charts as appropriate.

For details on the submission requirements for the ‘Moving Pictures’ brief, please see the Additional Eligibility and Entry Guidelines for Moving Pictures.

Please note that late submissions will not be accepted and all entrants are encouraged to submit their work in good time before the deadline.


Entry fees

There is an entry fee for submitting work to the RSA Student Design Awards. This fee is charged per entry, so it does not cost more to enter as a team. Entry fees should be paid online through our submissions form, via PayPal, credit or debit card.

  • Early Bird Rate – for entrants submitting their work before or on 14 February 2018, the entry fee is charged at the reduced early bird rate of £25 per entry.

  • Standard Rate – after 14 February 2018 and until the final submission deadline on 14 March 2018, the entry fee is £35.

  • Voucher Codes – universities have the option pay for students’ entries. In order to do this, tutors should visit the ‘Tutors’ page on our website and complete the web form to request a voucher code. It is the responsibility of the tutor to distribute the voucher code to students, which they should then enter at the payment point when completing the online submission form.

The RSA is under no obligation to refund payments except under the circumstance of technical error where refunds will be made at the RSA’s discretion.


August 2017 - Briefs launch online + registration opens

Mon 15 Jan 2018 - Competition opens for submissions 

Wed 14 Feb 2018 - Deadline for ‘early bird’ submission by 4 pm GMT

Wed 14 March 2018 - Final deadline for submissions by 4 pm GMT

Wed 21 March 2018 -
2-stage judging begins 

Tuesday 22 May 2018 - Winners announced

June 2018 - Awards Ceremony at the RSA



View the winners from the 2017 competition

Explore the 2017 awards ceremony

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