We invite young designers from across the globe to answer design briefs that focus on the most pressing social and environmental challenges.
Design for Life Awards
Design for Life Awards
Reimagining regenerative education and enterprise
Introducing the Design for Life Awards
The Design for Life Awards build on the RSA’s 269-year legacy of inspiring innovation through challenge prizes and grant-making. They will bring together and transform for the better our Student Design Awards, Pupil Design Awards and Catalyst Awards under a shared, unified offer.
Explore our current awards and grants
The Design for Life Awards will offer radical and inclusive learning experiences for children, learners and entrepreneurs to help them build the future-proof capabilities and ideas needed to create a regenerative world.
Why transform our awards?
Our awards legacy has, over time, shaped education and the economy towards vital social design, innovation and creativity skills. As we plan to celebrate the centenary of the Student Design Awards in 2024, we are looking ahead to what the world will need from us in the next 100 years. The urgency to shape regenerative futures, combined with our learning to date, have inspired us to evolve our offer.
We are responding to:
- Longer lives and careers: increases in life expectancy and career lives amidst a world growing in complexity, requiring lifelong learning and shifting careers.
- Permacrisis: deteriorating societal and environmental health brings the need to learn better people-care and planet-care.
- Inclusion: persistent inequalities in access to educational and entrepreneurship opportunities and the need to shift from competition to collaboration and cooperation.
- Automation-proof: technology and the need for automation-proof skills that make the most of our human potential.
Our new awards: the re-design
During our 2022-23 awards cycle, we have begun experimenting with changes as part of our current awards offers, to inform our future offer.
The current phase of this work, up to September 2023, focuses on:
- Research to understand future trends in regenerative grant-making, education, enterprise, technology and environmental inclusion.
- Experience design to map how all participants can best engage with our offer based on their needs, so they can achieve maximum impact.
- Business modelling to explore how our funding model should align with the user experience so our awards are sustainable and scalable.
- Engagement with our alumni, partners, prospective applicants, Fellows and a cross-section of experts to ensure our designs are made with people’s insight at their heart.
During our Student Design Awards centenary year in the 2023-24 cycle, we will test what our offer will look like through a set of experiments and prototypes. Our ambition is to launch this new offer in 2024-25.
Design for Life Awards: desired impact
The scale of our ambition and potential impact over the next five years is bold, and we see this as only the beginning of the journey for our next 100 years of award-making at the RSA.
In the first five years, we are looking to:
- Enable participants to build regenerative capabilities that allow them to make real societal change, pursue future-proof careers and grow their own businesses.
- Create, seed or scale over 1,500 regenerative initiates – which would grow local social, economic and ecological health.
- Unlock individuals’ and communities’ resources to advocate for and to shape policies, infrastructure and industries that support their work and visions towards regenerative futures.
Design for Life Awards related content
Today, Schumacher College and its founder Satish Kumar have been presented with the 2023 RSA Bicentenary Medal in recognition of their outstanding contribution to education and the environment.
This evaluation illustrates how the Pupil Design Awards contributes to the pupils' creative self-efficacy, awareness of real-world issues and pupil and teachers' design capability, as well as the critical factors supporting teachers to complete projects and how we can make the awards more inclusive.