Accessibility links

2018 Winners Announced

A “living nature” fabric, an inclusive kitchen hob guard that enables people with disabilities to cook with confidence, and an animation that champions truth in an era of fake news are among the innovations announced today as winners of the 2018 RSA Student Design Awards.

Today we reveal the 20 winning solutions developed in response to this year’s RSA Student Design Awards (SDA). Now in their 94th year, the SDA is the world’s longest running student design competition, challenging emerging designers across the globe to tackle complex issues facing business and society.

The Awards are open to university students and new graduates from all disciplines, who can work individually or collaborate in teams to apply their design thinking and skills in new ways. A full list of the winning entries can be found below, and see our Winners page and Facebook galleries for images of winning and commended work.

A new fabric called “InterWeave" allows people to wear plants to turn “nature into an everyday, essential item; reconnecting humans with the natural world, reducing our environmental impact and improving our well-being”. Credit: Gabriella De Rosa, 2018 RSA Student Design Awards. 

The 2017/18 competition comprised 8 briefs, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and developed in partnership with a diverse range of industry and government sponsors. Topics included designing ways to improve wellbeing in the workplace (‘Working Well’), enable better quality sleep (‘Sleep Matters’), and apply circular design principles to 'design out waste' in toys (‘Fair Play’). This was also the fourth year of a special ‘Moving Pictures’ category, drawing audio clips from the RSA’s globally renowned public events programme and asking students to illuminate the audio through animation. 

A winning animation titled 'Unclear Waters' accompanies a clip from leading journalist Matthew D'Ancona's RSA speech on post-truth, using the image of water as a metaphor for information. Credit: Cameron Gleave and Guilhem Boujassy, 2018 RSA Student Design Awards.

Thousands of students around the world tackled these briefs and engaged with the RSA through our programme of briefing sessions, skills workshops, and online resources to support students as they wrestled with these issues. Over 700 students from 27 countries went on to submit their work into the competition. Their proposals were judged by leading designers and industry experts in a rigorous 2-stage process: anonymous offline shortlisting, followed by face to face interviews with finalists.

“Pan Stop”, a flame-proof guard for electric and induction hobs, to prevent the problems of food spilling onto the laps of wheelchair users and to improve the safety and confidence of the visually impaired and those with poor mobility when cooking. Credit: Tim Chapman, 2018 RSA Student Design Awards

This year over £32,000 in cash prizes and paid industry placements have been awarded to the winning entrants. Year on year we see the transformative impact that winning an award has on participants’ lives and careers; in addition to practical and financial support, winners receive a range of benefits including complementary RSA Fellowship and access to the RSA’s networks and resources.

The 2018 winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at RSA House in London on 27 June. SDA alumnus Clive Grinyer, now Head of Service Design at Barclays, will give the keynote address and share his own journey since winning an award in 1982. Clive is one of many SDA alumni that have gone on to have a massive impact in business and society, from Apple Design Chief Sir Jonathan Ive and Chief Executive of the Design Business Association Deborah Dawton, to founder/CEO of renewable energy company Pavegen Laurence Kemball-Cook (see Laurence’s recent RSA talk, ‘Design, Industry, Opportunity’).

A full list of the winners is included below, and you can see images of the winning and commended work on our Winners page. Congratulations to the thousands of students around the world who took part in this year's RSA Student Design Awards and to those shortlisted, commended and winning students who are using positive, impactful design in designing our futures. | @RSADesignAwards | #rsadesign


Aug 2018 – Briefs launch + register your interest online

Mon 14 Jan 2019 – Competition opens for submissions via

Wed 13 Feb 2019, 4 pm GMT – Deadline for ‘early bird’ submissions at reduced entry fee of £25

Wed 13 Mar 2019, 4 pm GMT – Final deadline for online registration + submissions (£35 entry fee)

20 Mar 2019 – Judging begins (2 stages: anonymous shortlisting + interviews with finalists)

May 2019 – Winners announced

Jun 2019 – Awards ceremony


The list of sponsors for the 2017/18 RSA Student Design Awards includes: NatWest, Philips, Eureka, The Marketing Trust, The Office for Disability Issues, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Kinneir Dufort, Natracare, Waitrose, Symphony, AEG, BLANCO, Kessebohmer, The Kitchen Education Trust and the Eddie Squires Legacy to the RSA.


Full details of each brief, and an online showcase of winning entries, are available on the RSA Student Design Awards website.


WORKING WELL - sponsored by Natwest 

BRIEF: Design a vision and business case for a way to promote greater wellbeing when people are at work, wherever that work takes place, that will contribute to higher productivity and better overall mental health. 

Winner of the Natwest Award of £2500 for best design project

Laura Van KriekenNorthumbria University (Graduate) 

FlowboardIntervention product solution that enables office workers to increase the amount of activity and movement they do at work. 


Winner of the NatWest Award of £1000 for the best business case 

Team of 5: Alex Mills, Casey Hargreaves, Liz Mirchan-Breckenridge, Katrina Schouten and Stephanie Donovan, University of Waterloo 

HungryrAn online grocery service that delivers to drivers of commercial vehicles. 


SLEEP MATTERS - sponsored by Philips 

BRIEF: Design a product, service or system to improve health and wellbeing by encouraging and/or enabling better sleep. 

Winner of the Philips Award of £2500  

Team of 2: Emily Brown, Loughborough University (Graduate), and Sean Roberts, Northumbria University (Graduate) 

Blu: An app-based product that allows users to write down their negative thoughts before sleep, to encourage the drifting off process. 


Winner of the RSA Fellows’ Award of £1250 

Tara Wilson, University of Lincoln 

The One Watch: A watch-based safety and alerting aid for diabetics. 


FAIR PLAY - sponsored by Marketing Trust with additional support from The Chartered Institute of Marketing and Waitrose 

BRIEF: Design or re-design a consumer toy and its product packaging to eliminate waste, using circular design principles. 

Winner of the Marketing Trust Award of £2000  

Shannon Williamson, Sheffield Hallam University 

PolyPolyRe-branded and re-packaged monopoly board game, aimed at reducing waste and educating the family on how to be environmentally friendly 


Winner of the Waitrose Award of £2000 

Elly Skelton, De Montfort University 

1 Toy for Life: A durable scooter that can be adapted as the user grows to last all of childhood. 


Winner of the Placement Award at The Chartered Institute of Marketing 

Helena CowleyLoughborough University 

HexploreA toy to encourage children to interact with nature and the outdoors through exploration and small world play. 


THE HYGIENIC HOME - sponsored by Eureka 

BRIEF: Design or re-design a floor cleaning product that will make cleaning easier and more effective, enabling older people to maintain their independence for longer. 

Joint Winner of the Eureka Award of £3000  

Blair McIntosh, Northumbria University 

BuddiA subtle passive air purifier, combined with an integrated hoover, which remains on display in the home rather than stashed away in the cupboard. 


Joint Winner of the Eureka Award of £3000 

Team of 3: Jon Schwarzmann, Tino DuralijaAcademy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana, and Franziska Schranz, FH Oberösterreich (project undertaken during Erasmus at Maynooth University) 

Smartbot robot vacuum cleaner: Laser directed robot vacuum cleaner, which eliminates bending and muscle load. 


FAIR FINANCE FOR ALL - sponsored by NatWest with additional support from NCR 

BRIEF: Design or redesign a way for people who are financially excluded to be better served by banks and other money management services. 

Winner of the NatWest Award of £1500  

Team of 2: Shreepriya and Andrea BottiaDomus Academy, Milan 

The Well Income Service: Service solution which offers digital financial education and access to refugees in Europe at the different stages of their journey cycle, according to their needs at a certain time


Winner of the NCR Placement Award 

Emily George, Kingston University 

Lime: Budgeting system which breaks down your weekly budget into categories to improve money management, without the need of an internet connection. 


EAT, SHARE, LIVE - sponsored by Office for Disability Issues, AEG, Symphony, Kesseböhmer, Blanco and The Kitchen Education Trust with additional support from the National Innovation Centre for Ageing 

BRIEF: Design an inclusive and accessible and multi-generational kitchen space or kitchen component that works for all ages, as well as for disabled and non-disabled family members, so they can prepare, cook and serve food, entertain, engage in hobbies or work and enjoy life together. 

Winner of the Office for Disability Issues Award of £1000  

Tim Chapman, University of Nottingham 

Pan Stop: Adhesive thermochromic silicone guard for electric and induction hobs, to boost the confidence of visually impaired users and those with poor mobility. 


Winner of the Industry Award of £1000 

Nora Costello, Design Institute of Technology, Sligo 

CaroucelRe-imagined kitchen space with a motorised system, allowing users to adjust counter heights and relocate modular kitchen units. 


Winner of the Industry Award of £1000 

Chung Hang Chiu, Heriot-Watt University 

The United Kitchen: Self-assembly domestic use and disaster relief sociable kitchen with a rotatable and height-adjustable table. 


WEARING INTELLIGENCE 2.0 - sponsored by Eddie Squires Legacy to the RSA with additional support from Kinneir Dufort and Materials Council 

BRIEF: Develop a design solution that utilises ‘advanced textiles’ (fabric that has been enhanced by new technologies) to improve well-being or the quality of people’s lives. 


Winner of the Eddie Squires Award of £2000  

Fred Whitten, University of Nottingham 

Insulive – an insulin pump ready for anything: A wearable, breathable, flexible insulin pump which sticks to the skin of users. 


Winner of the Placement at Kinneir Dufort Award 

Gabriella De Rosa, Goldsmiths University (Graduate) 

InterWeaveLiving Fabric, an advanced textile interlaced with plants, which creates a connection that enriches and expresses our relationship with nature. 


MOVING PICTURES - sponsored by Legacy funds to the RSA, with additional support from RSA Events and Natracare 

BRIEF: Conceive and produce an animation to accompany one of the two selected audio files that will clarify, energise and illuminate the content. 


Winner of the RSA Award of £1000 and the RSA Staff Choice Award of £500 

Catarina Rao Vieira, Middlesex University 

Not Enough Time: Stop motion hand-drawn animation focusing on the square as the central element with a simple, positive and cheerful style.


Winner of the RSA Award of £1000  

Team of 2: Cameron Gleave and Guilhem BoujassyEdinburgh Napier University 

Unclear Waters: Digital animation with a hand-drawn style and portraying different small sequences of different analogies connected to water. This central element is used as a metaphor for information and creates the connecting thread through the series of smaller scenes. 


Joint Winner of the Natracare Award of £1000 

Grant Saunders, Arts University Bournemouth 

Digital Falsehoods: Digital animation focusing on the fragmentation of news and atomisation of gossip, mainly spread on internet platforms, reflected by the wrapping or fragmenting of many of the visual elements. 


Joint Winner of the Natracare Award of £1000 

Max Wright, Arts University Bournemouth 

Post-Truth: Digital animation focused around a social media page and bringing it to life through the use of the recognisable icons of this network in unexpected interactions. The animation is also laced with references to war and violence, illustrating how the internet seems to have become the new battlefield of our time.