Pupil Design Awards entry requirements and judging

How to enter the Awards

Pupils can enter as a team or individually. Teams are entered into one of three age group categories: Years 7 & 8, Years 9 & 10, and Years 11, 12 & 13.

We advise that pupils present their proposal on six A3 boards so judges can understand the research and design process they have been through. These six boards need to tell the story of their design thinking process from research to final idea. You can find more information on how to structure these boards in the 2021-22 teacher resource pack.

Entry requirements

  • All pupils must be enrolled in Years 7-13 for the academic year 2022-23 at your school.*
  • Pupils can submit their proposals in a team or as individuals. We encourage teams of no bigger than five pupils.
  • There is no entry fee for the RSA Pupil Design Awards.

*If you are interested in entering the competition as a youth group or club, please contact [email protected] to find out more.

Pupil Design Awards students presenting

Submission criteria

Pupils' proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Social and environmental impact

  • How does the proposal make a positive difference for people and/or the natural world?
  • How does the proposal consider diverse needs and equitable ways to meet those needs?
  • How does the proposal engage with the local community in its chosen context?
  • How does the proposal consider using materials, processes, and resources in a sustainable way?

Rigorous research and compelling insights

  • Has the pupil/team undertaken first-hand research by identifying the needs and motivations of people affected by the problem in your brief?
  • Has the pupil/team conducted research into the wider context of the problem on the internet or through reading material?
  • How does the proposal build on key insights grounded in people‚Äôs needs and motivations, and gained through wider research?
  • How does the proposal incorporate feedback and testing through prototyping and iteration?


  • Has the pupil/team considered how the proposal will work in practice?
  • Has the pupil/team considered the cost of the proposal and how it might be funded and sustained?
  • Has the pupil/team identified any potential barriers that might prevent the proposal working in practice? How might these be overcome?
  • Has the pupil/team considered how they would measure the success of their proposal if it became a reality?

Creativity and innovation

  • How is the proposal different from existing solutions? How might it be better or more useful?
  • What unexpected or surprising elements are included in the proposal? What value do these add to the idea?

Judging process

All entries must be made on behalf of pupils via this websiteby a teacher or a guardian over 18. The final deadline for submissions will be in the 2023 summer term.

The Pupil Design Awards is judged in three categories: Year 7 & 8, 9 & 10, and Year 12. Panellists in the past have included Student Design Award alumni, Royal Designers for Industry, practising designers and RSA staff. The judging process is divided into six stages:

1: Submission

The final deadline for entries will be in the 2023 summer term - check our website for updates on specific dates.

Submissions are evaluated per age group by a curated panel of judges.

2: Individual evaluation

The judges mark all submissions for their age cateogry individually using an online evaluation tool based on the judging criteria.

3: Shortlisting

The panel come together to deliberate, using the evaluation tool and the judging criteria, to shortlist a handful of projects per category to be shortlisted.

The RSA team contacts all competition entrants to let them know whether or not they have been shortlisted.

4: Interviews

The shortlist are invited to an interview with the judges where they will have the opportunity to present their project to the judges in and answer a few questions from the judges based on the judging criteria.

5: Deliberation

The judges mark all interviews using an evaluation tool and the judging criteria and then deliberate to select their winners.

6: Awards announcement

The interviews are followed by an awards announcement and celebration!

Pupil Design Awards

Inspiring social change through design thinking.