AI Soil Sensors and Cancer Prevention for Builders. Here are the winners of the RSA’s 100th Student Design Awards - RSA press releases - RSA

AI soil sensors and cancer prevention for builders. Here are the winners of the RSA’s 100th Student Design Awards

Press release

Last night, on 2 July, The Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (The RSA) announced the winners of the 100th Student Design Awards at a ceremony at their iconic, 250-year-old home in the heart of London.

After receiving hundreds of entries from across the globe, the judges whittled down the exceptional list to 11 winners, across six categories, each with a different design brief for entrants. The categories were Apply AI, Flourishing Places, In Your Skin, Caring Culture, Made Natural, and Centenary Celebrations.

Now in its 100th year, the RSA Student Design Awards honour the next generation of designers, who tackle real world social and environmental problems with their work. Entrants must be students at a university worldwide, and the briefs are submitted in partnership with organisations around the world, with the winner of each brief being awarded £2000. In this centenary year, The RSA was also awarding two Anjool Mald é Memorial Trust awards of £500 and £1000 to each winner.

This year’s winners include Tess Taylor, who submitted designs for an AI soil sensor and app, ‘Terra Hex’, that promotes regenerative agriculture and accurate fertilisation to diminish farmers’ contribution to climate change.

Taylor, who won the Anjool Maldé Young Innovator of the Year Award , said of winning: “I am so grateful to be awarded the RSA Student Design Award since it has provided me with confidence, motivation and reassurance in my creative journey. This recognition has empowered me to continue exploring and developing innovative ideas, especially creating a positive social and environmental impact through design. I would love to continue refining and expanding this idea to promote understanding and protecting our natural environment.”

Other winners included Kristina Betha Suwarso, who won the Apply AI brief, in partnership with Google DeepMind for her project Beta Electronics, which offers a holistic approach to electronic recycling and education.

On winning she said “As the RSA award marks its 100th anniversary, I feel honoured to be selected by the jury and am hopeful that design will continue to open its doors to people from different backgrounds who challenge conventions. My work Beta Electronics exemplifies how design is no longer a solo endeavour, but instead a collaborative effort between designers and users to shape the world around us.”

Karina Gunadi, Richard Alexandre, Blake Goodwyn and Tanghao Yu together won their category for the ‘Pyri’ Project: a low-cost and zero-maintenance early wildfire detection system made from nature-based materials and drawing inspiration for their ingenious design from heat-responsive pinecones.

Another winner was Ailsa Smith, whose project XPOSURE is a skincare brand targeted at young men starting their career in construction, to lower skin cancer rates.

The Student Design Awards are given alongside the Pupil Design Awards, now in their 10th year, for young people between 11 and 17 years. For the past decade, the RSA have awarded school pupils with the prize in order to encourage design thinking skills in schools and to produce innovative, design-led solutions that address real-world social, environmental and commercial challenges.

Joanna Choukier, Director of Design and Innovation at the RSA, said:

“The standard of entries for the Student and Pupil Design Awards is always truly awe-inspiring, and after 100 years of these awards being given, it is truly humbling to see the standard continue to exceed even the highest expectations. All submissions this year show that the challenges of the future can be met with the ingenuity and creativity of the present, and we at the RSA are incredibly proud that Student Design Awards are still finding the next generation of innovators and changemakers, who are using design to improve the quality of life for people across the world.”

The awards themselves, each known as a ‘stepping stone’ due to their unique pebble shape, are designed by Robin Levien, an RSA Royal Designer for Industry. These awards were inaugurated in 2014 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the RSA Student Design Awards programme, and in 2024, each award includes a special centenary year print.

Previous winners of the Student Design Awards include Sir Jony Ive, Former Chief Design Officer of Apple in 1989; Richard Clarke, Former Head of Innovation at Nike in 1989; and Bill Moggridge, designer of the first laptop in 1963.

A full list of this year’s winners, including links to their exceptional entries, can be found in the notes to editors below.



Notes to editors

  1. Download images here
  2. For further information, assets, or interview requests, contact Media and Public Affairs Officer, Dom McGovern at [email protected]


Full list of winners for the 2023-24 Student Design Awards

Brief 1: Apply AI in partnership with Google DeepMind

  • Winner: Kristina Betha Suwarso
  • Pronunciation: Betha Sue-warso
  • Project title: Beta Electronics
  • University: University of the Arts London, England
  • Prize: £2,000 Apply AI Award
  • One liner on project: Beta Electronics offers a holistic approach to electronic recycling and education; it not only promotes recycling but also empowers users to learn more about their electronics.

Winner of £1,000 Anjool Maldé Young Innovator of the Year Award (also a submission to Brief 1)

  • Winner: Tess Taylor
  • Project Title: Terra Hex
  • University: Arts University Bournemouth, England
  • Prize: £1000 Anjool Maldé Young Innovator of the Year Award
  • One liner: An AI soil sensor and app that promotes regenerative agriculture and accurate fertilisation to diminish farmers’ contribution to climate change while fostering community-led mitigation of climate challenges.

Brief 2: Flourishing Places in partnership with Arup

  • Winner: Dougal Cusack Brown
  • Project Title: Chatham Mussel Project: From Dockyards to Dining Tables
  • University: Kingston University, England
  • Prize: £2000 Flourishing Places Award
  • One liner: A community-driven mussel farm in the ‘garden of England’, intertwining local farmers and promoting a sustainable food ethos.

Brief 3: In Your Skin in partnership with Skin Health Alliance and Bond & Coyne

  • Winner: Ailsa Smith
  • Pronunciation: Ale-sa
  • Project Title: XPOSURE
  • University: Arts University Bournemouth, England
  • Prize: £2000 In Your Skin award
  • One liner: Building confidence and decreasing skin cancer rates, XPOSURE is a sun-care brand that targets young men beginning their career in construction.

Brief 4: Caring Culture in partnership with The Rayne Foundation

  • Winner: Abhipsha Ray
  • Project Title: Balance
  • University: Royal College of Art, England
  • Prize: £2000 Caring Culture award
  • One liner: A collaborative platform providing families with tools to seamlessly pass down valuable caregiving insights, fostering a culture of care and support spanning across generations.

Brief 5 Made Natural in partnership with Kew with support from Natracare

  • Winners: Karina Gunadi, Richard Alexandre, Blake Goodwyn and Tanghao Yu
  • Pronunciation: Kuh-ree-nah Goo-nah-dee
  • Project Title: Pyri
  • University: Royal College of Art, England
  • Prize: £2000
  • One liner: Inspired by heat-reactive pinecones, Pyri is a low-cost and zero-maintenance early wildfire detection system made from nature-based materials.

Brief 6 Winner: Centenary Celebrations in partnership with The Marketing Trust

  • Winner: Teo Hennessy
  • Project Title: Student Design Awards Through The Centuries
  • University: Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland
  • Prize: £2000
  • One liner: The journey of the Student Design Awards told through graphic shapes, distinctive colour and striking form.

Winner of the £500 Anjool Maldé Centenary Design Award also from Brief 6

  • Winner: Rachel Cartledge
  • Project Title: From the Ground Up
  • University: Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland
  • Prize: £500 Anjool Maldé Centenary Design Award
  • One liner: A multimedia animation that showcases the innovation of previous Student Design Award winners as individual artworks within the walls of the iconic RSA house in London.


About the RSA

We are the RSA. The royal society for arts, manufactures and commerce. Where world-leading ideas are turned into world-changing actions. We’re committed to a world where everyone can fulfil their potential and contribute to more resilient, rebalanced, and regenerative futures.

The RSA has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years. Our research and innovation work has changed the hearts and minds of generations of people. Central to all our work are our mission-aligned Fellows; a global network of innovators and changemakers who work collectively to enable people, places and the planet to flourish in harmony.

We invite you to be part of this change. Join our community. Together, we’ll unite people and ideas in collective action to unlock opportunities to regenerate our world.

Find out more at thersa.org

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