Most of us probably think about vacuum cleaners when we hear the name Dyson, but the man behind the company has featured and rewarded young innovators under the James Dyson Award. This is an annual student design competition run by Dyson’s charity, is now open and accepting submissions from young inventors. After receiving an impressive array of entries in recent years, the Award is increasing its prize money to support the crucial first steps of entrepreneurship.
This year’s National winners, to be announced in September, will receive AUD$9,000 towards developing their invention. To date, the competition has awarded more than 285 inventions with prize money.
Since 2005, the James Dyson Award has challenged entrepreneurial undergraduates and recent graduates of engineering and design, to ‘Design something that solves a problem’. Purposely broad and open-ended, the brief tasks students to take on big global problems.
Past winners have found solutions to plastic recycling accessibility, excessive blood loss from knife wounds, and improving at-home medical diagnostics. Sir James Dyson chooses the competition’s global winners; they receive vital funding and high-profile recognition – key first steps to take their ideas into real-life practical application.
“For me the importance of the James Dyson Award is to solve a problem intelligently – for young inventors to question things, challenge things. I truly believe young people want to change the world and in that they should be encouraged.
The future is their world.
The Award gives them the confidence and a platform to pursue their solutions. In fact, 70% of our past international winners are following up and commercialising their inventions. To future entrants, I look forward to reviewing your radical and game-changing ideas. Good luck!”Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson
What can winners expect?
- Prize money. National winners receive AUD$9,000 and global winners up to AUD$55,000 to put towards the next phase of their invention’s development.
- Media attention. Winners receive interest from the media, public and industry professionals when the James Dyson Award announces its winners, opening doors and catalysing conversations to support product development and networking.
- Past winner support. This year the Award launched a winners’ network for those commercialising their inventions. Events and networking opportunities for past winners of the Award to connect, share experiences and consider inter-winner mentorship.
The past two years saw a record-breaking number of entries. Recognising the role that engineers and scientists play in our future, James Dyson chose three global winners for the first time in 2021, each receiving AUD$55,000 in prize money.
This year, there will be global prizes available. But first, each participating country and region will award a National winner (AUD$9,000) and two National runners-up. The National winners are chosen by an external panel in collaboration with a Dyson engineer. This year, entries in the Australian market will be judged by:
- Robbie Hicks and Lachlan Bradford: Co-hosts of Funny Business – a podcast for free thinkers and creators exploring business culture and performance in Australia and abroad
- Ryan Tilley: JDA National Winner 2019, JDA Judge in 2020 and founder of Gecko Traxx – a portable and affordable manual wheelchair accessory that enables off-road access
- Councillor HY William Chan: Young Australian Designer of the Year 2021 – Good Design Awards, Forbes 30 Under 30 architect and urban innovator, and Councillor at the City of Sydney
In 2022, the Award launches for the first time in Thailand and Turkey. Those that win a National accolade proceed to the International shortlist and awarding stages, where James Dyson selects his global winners.
What makes a good entry?
The best inventions are often the simplest, providing clear and intelligent solutions to real-world problems. Last year’s National winner was Aaron Nguyen for his LUNA Modular AFO invention – an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) system for children with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) that adapts to the users modularly increasing comfort and product life. You can read more about Aaron’s invention here.
“I always saw the James Dyson Award as a competition for the best up-and-coming designers and engineers showing their solutions and skills, and I wanted to challenge myself by entering this year. I feel honoured to be recognised for my invention and to help solve this important problem for children”.Aaron Nguyen
“I was lucky enough to take out the National prize back in 2014 but being a part of the judging, this year was like a peak behind the curtain.
The LUNA Modular AFO was a very impressive entry, especially the mechanisms behind the design, and the inclusion of past failures in their entry really adds an element of honesty and maturity, which is exactly what you want to see.”Alex Goad, Reef Design Lab Founder, 2014 James Dyson Award National Winner and member of the 2021 judging panel
More information at James Dyson Awards.