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Competition process

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

1. Briefs released – August 2017

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 2017/18 briefs in the ‘Design briefs’ section of the RSA Student Design Awards website.

2. Register your interest – from August 2017

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 2017

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 2018

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 14 March 2018 at 4pm GMT. You will receive a confirmation email when we receive your submission.

5. Judging – March to May 2018

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 2018

The winners of each brief will be announced publicly by the RSA on 24 May 2018. 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 ‘Showcase’ 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.


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