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The 2016-17 RSA Student Design Awards competition is officially open for entries! (Submissions close 4pm GMT on 8th March 2017) 

University students and recent graduates anywhere in the world can enter the Awards, which challenge participants to tackle pressing social, environmental and economic issues.

The RSA Awards having been running for an incredible 93 years, and there are 12 design briefs in this year’s competition, focusing on issues including how to increase financial capability (‘Mind Your Money’) and mental agility in older age (‘Agile Ageing’), how to promote opportunities for learning in an ever-changing digital age (‘Learning for life’), how to encourage people to live healthier (‘The Good Life 2.0’), and how to move toward a more sustainable future in our goods and services (‘Rework’ and ‘Circular Futures’), alongside many more.

The awards include over £45,000 in cash prizes and paid placements at sponsoring organisations, which encompass a broad mix of industry and public sector partners:

So…What are the key dates?

  • 18 January 2017: open for submissions. Entrants can submit their work via sda.thersa.org from this date
  • 8 February 2017: early bird submissions deadline. Entry fee reduced to £25 until 4 pm GMT on this date
  • 8 March 2017: final submissions deadline. Entries will be accepted up until 4 pm GMT, with £35 entry fee
  • March – May 2017: judging. 2 stage judging – anonymous shortlisting, followed by interviews with finalists
  • 1st June 2017: winners' announced. Mid June 2017 – winners' reception at the RSA

Who can enter?

The 12 briefs in this year's competition are open to entries from:

  • Currently enrolled students studying on any recognised higher education course, anywhere in the world
  • Recent graduates, who graduated since March 2016
  • Individual and team entries – the fee is per entry, not per person

How do you enter?

All submissions should be made digitally via the submissions form on the RSA Student Design Awards website – click on the yellow ‘Submit Now’ button on the home page to access the form, and see the Frequently Asked Questions page for further details on submissions and eligibility.

How does the judging work?

Each brief is judged in two stages at the RSA House in London by a tailored panel of designers and industry experts: anonymous shortlisting, followed by interviews with finalists. The full list of judges will be announced in the coming weeks – for now, check out last year’s judges to get a sense of who will be involved (many of them will be judging again this year) and read more about the judging process.

What do the actual Awards consist of?

Winning entrants receive practical and financial support to develop their careers; this year’s Awards include over £45,000 in cash prizes and paid industry placements, including at Kinneir Dufort, PRP Architects, the UK Gov Policy, GlaxoSmithKline, CIM, NCR, and the design team at Waitrose.

Winners are also presented with a weighty ‘stepping stone’ physical award (designed by the Royal Designer for Industry Robin Levien) at the Awards Ceremony. Last year the awards were presented by past winner Richard Clarke, Global VP of Advanced Innovation at Nike – you can see a recap and pics from last year’s awards ceremony. On top of that, winners get lots of media exposure and receive complementary RSA Fellowship, which means access to the RSA’s networks and resources.

Need more info?

Take a look at our FAQs page, follow @RSADesignAwards for Twitter updates, or email sdaenquiries@rsa.org.uk if you have a question for a member of the team.

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