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2019 RSA Student Design Awards Winners Announced

The best ideas tackling today’s biggest challenges.

This is the 95th year the RSA has run the Student Design Awards and it did not disappoint!

We received over 700 submissions from across the UK and 25 other countries bringing imaginative and optimistic solutions to some of the toughest briefs this competition has ever seen.

See the full list of 2019 RSA Student Design Awards Winners

Amongst many of the ideas we are celebrating today as winners of the 2018/19 RSA Student Design Awards are:

  • a service that connects homeless people with politicians
  • a system that enables young adults with autism spectrum disorder to independently navigate public transport
  • an animation that encourages individuals to talk about death and dying
  • a product that facilitates emergency medical devices to stay with the patient throughout their journey whilst reducing waste.

Personal Patient Pack PPP: A circular product pack that allows medical devices to be reused by patients throughout their emergency care, reducing material waste by 67%. - Maire Kane and Hannah Grogan, BA Product Design, National College of Art and Design, Dublin. See the full list of 2019 RSA Student Design Awards Winners

Through the RSA Student Design Awards, we challenge emerging changemakers across the globe to tackle complex issues facing business and society.

In 2018/19 we worked with industry and government partners to co-develop a total of 10 design challenge briefs asking real, difficult questions that don’t lend themselves to easy solutions. In fact, most of our partners are scratching their heads trying to find answers to these problems.

Topics included:

  • designing solutions that embed circular economy principles in emergency medical care
  • uncovering ideas for promoting shared parental leave
  • increasing citizens’ participation in democratic processes
  • identifying ways to reinvigorate and repurpose ageing and unloved commuter stations.

Create Together: a community design project using materials relevant to Acle town’s heritage, to bring the community, commuters and train station closer together. - Sophie Cane, BA Illustration, Norwich University of the Arts See the full list of 2019 RSA Student Design Awards Winners

The competition is open to higher education students and new graduates around the world, and participants are encouraged to immerse themselves in the topic, find an area of focus and embark on a design journey of ideating, prototyping, user testing and iterating. Then they must submit a solution that is well executed, commercially viable and contains a sprinkle of magic!

No big deal... We received submissions from a wide range of disciplines (98 coursers to be precise!), and some worked individually, others collaborated in teams. 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.

Touchpoint: A plate and bowl designed for people with ADHD to direct their focusonto the food they are eating through tactile stimuli. Touchpoint creates comfort and confidence to eat in company and helps prevent eating disorders. - Sara Alber, BA Product Design, University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins See the full list of 2019 RSA Student Design Awards Winners

In recognition of the students’ brilliant work, this year over £32,000 in cash prizes and paid industry placements were awarded to the winning entrants.

Year on year we witness the transformative impact that winning an award has on participants’ lives and careers. It’s a turning point and a launching pad and at the RSA we are proud of providing continued support to help these changemakers of the future realise their potential to have a social impact.

Winners receive a range of benefits including a complementary RSA Fellowship and access to the RSA’s networks and resources. The 2019 winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at RSA House in London on 19 June.

SDA alumnus Kate Dundas, now Team Leader of City Plans for the City of Melbourne, will give the keynote address and share her own journey since winning an award in 2002.

Please find the best ideas from this year’s competition below, filled with thoughtfulness, imagination and optimism. Bravo!

See the full list of 2019 RSA Student Design Awards Winners


Sponsors for the 2018/19 RSA Student Design Awards includes headline partners: Philips, Twitter, Network Rail, The Marketing Trust, The Office for Disability Issues, NHS England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and the RSA Food, Farming and the Countryside Commission.

With additional support from: Ellen Macarthur Foundation, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, Kinneir Dufort, Natracare, Symphony, BLANCO, Kesseböhmer, The Kitchen Education Trust, The National Innovation Centre for Ageing and Legacy Funds to the RSA.