About the Student Design Awards - RSA

About the Student Design Awards

About the Student Design Awards

The RSA Student Design Awards is a global competition that challenges students to apply their skills and creativity to tackle today’s most pressing social and environmental issues.

Design for social impact

We challenge students to think about the role their design thinking can have in society. And we ask them to think of themselves as the instigators of change.

Each year we’re blown away by the creativity and ingenuity that students bring to the competition and we’re reminded of the power of design as a tool for real change.

How it works

Working closely with partners from across a range of industries we have developed a series of compelling design briefs for students to set their minds on for the 2023-24 programme.

Each brief puts a real world social problem in the hands of the next generation of designers - and today there is no shortage of complex and systemic challenges that desperately need creative approaches.

Alongside this the RSA team helps colleges, universities and educators embed the briefs into their curricula, and provides support for participants through workshops.

Who can enter?

The competition is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled at any higher education institution, college or university anywhere in the world. New graduates can also enter within a year of graduating, and we accept entries from individuals and teams.

Responses can come from any discipline or combination of disciplines, and can take any form – from product, communication and service proposals to spatial, environmental and experience solutions.


projects entered since the awards began


briefs issued over the last 100 years


prizes and paid placements awarded 2022-23

History of the awards

The RSA Student Design Awards was established in 1924, making it the world’s longest-running student competition and the premier programme focused on design for social change.

2023-24 represents a historic landmark for our celebrated design awards as we launch the 100th year of the SDAs. These prestigious awards present a unique opportunity for you to be part of the world’s longest running competition through creating innovative design-led solutions that address real-world social and commercial challenges.  

Learn more about the history of the RSA Student Design Awards from our Design for Good report, which charts the transformation of design education and the design industry from a collection of arts and crafts artisans in the early 20th century to today’s generation of creative and socially-responsive problem solvers. The programme continues to update and evolve, read more about our trajectory in the current RSA strategy Design for Life.

More information on the Student Design Awards

  • Student Design Awards

    We invite young designers from across the globe to answer design briefs that focus on the most pressing social and environmental challenges.

  • Information for students

    By getting involved in the Student Design Awards you will be elevating your learning experience as you apply your creativity and innovation to a real-world problem.

  • Information for educators

    If you work in higher education and you’re using the RSA Student Design Awards briefs in your curriculum, you can request a briefing from the RSA team.

  • The design briefs

    We're challenging students and recent graduates to tackle pressing social, environmental and economic issues through design thinking. See this year's design briefs.

  • Student Design Awards judging

    Find out about the judging process and criteria for the Student Design Awards.