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Competition process

There are six stages to the RSA Student Design Awards competition.

1. Briefs released – August 2018

There is a range of RSA Student Design Awards briefs to choose from, each focusing on a different social, economic or environmental issue. You can view all the 2018/19 briefs in the ‘Design briefs’ section of the RSA Student Design Awards website.

2. Register your interest – from August 2018

Once you’ve registered your interest, you will receive key updates and information from us. We’ll remind you about deadlines, keep you informed on the judging process and shortlisting, and let you know when the winners are announced. We’ll also send you invitations to free events and materials we offer participants to help you with your projects and your longer-term career development.

3. Develop your project – from September 2018

When you’ve decided which brief to enter, as a starting point we recommend you review the supporting materials in the online toolkit for your chosen brief. You can find the toolkit from the individual briefs pages on our website.

4. Submit your work – January to March 2019

Once you have finished your project, submit your completed work to the competition through our online entry system. Make sure you submit it before the final deadline: Wednesday 13 March 2019 at 4pm GMT. You will receive a confirmation email when we receive your submission.

5. Judging – March to May 2019

Your work will be judged in a two-stage process by a panel of practising designers, Royal Designers for Industry, and industry experts including sponsors. Submissions are judged according to the brief that they entered. During the first stage, 6 to 10 projects will be short-listed for each brief. If your project is short-listed, you are invited to an interview with the panel to further discuss your work, your design process and your ambitions. Once the panel has interviewed all short-listed students, they deliberate and select the winner/s.

6. Winners announced and Awards Ceremony – May to June 2019

The winners of each brief will be announced publicly by the RSA in May 2019. Winners will also be invited to attend an Awards Ceremony at the RSA House in central London in mid-to-late June, and their work will be displayed in the ‘Winners’ section of the RSA Student Design Awards website. If a paid placement at a company is awarded as the prize, this will take place over the following months, but it is up to you to arrange a time that works for you and the company.


Aug 2019 – Briefs launch online + registration opens

Mon 20 Jan 2020 – Competition opens for submissions via

4 pm GMT, Wed 12 Feb 2020 – Deadline for Early Bird submission at reduced entry fee of £25

4 pm GMT, Wed 11 Mar 2020 – Final deadline for online registration and submission (£35 entry fee)

Mar - May 2020 – Judging (2 stages: shortlisting and interviews with finalists)

June 2020 – Awards Ceremony

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