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James Dyson begins search for ingenious inventions

April 3, 2018

The James Dyson Award – an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers – opened for entries, offering students and graduates of engineering and design a unique opportunity to showcase their problem solving inventions on a global stage. The brief is simple, design something which solves a problem, big or small. The international winner will gain global exposure through the competition, and INR 26, 00,000 as prize money to develop the idea. The application deadline is July 20, 2018.
This is the second season of the award in India. Last year, three Indian entries made it to the international top 20 shortlist, with Asish Mohandas, creator, Maattam being recognised as the national winner for India in 2017.

Over the last fourteen years, the James Dyson Award has gained more and more international recognition, attracting outstanding ideas from across the globe. With a firm belief that ingenuity can be found anywhere, the award aims to support as many young inventors as it can. This year, the annual competition will include entries from four more nations: Mexico, UAE, Sweden and the Philippines, operating in a total of 27 nations.

Comments James Dyson – British inventor, industrial designer and founder of consumer products innovator Dyson, “Young engineers and designers have perspective and unbridled intelligence that makes them incredibly adept at problem solving. Their ideas can easily be dismissed, but if nurtured and celebrated they are transformative. Developing a product or technology is a long and daunting process; the James Dyson Award celebrates the inventive young people embarking on that process. The award champions our next generation of inventors and will propel them towards future success. I am excited to see what surprising ideas this year’s award brings.”

The competition recognises ingenious designers and engineers who challenge the status quo and do more with less. The best inventions are often the simplest, yet provide an intelligent solution to a real-world problem. Past winners have sought to tackle overfishing, sustainability in the clothing industry and food waste. Last year’s international award went to sKan, a low-cost, early detection melanoma skin cancer device, engineered to prevent misdiagnosis. Previous to this, EcoHelmet, a fully foldable paper bike helmet designed for bike share programmes took the title. As technology advances and products become increasingly complex, we are seeing a shift towards the use of machine learning; robotics and the fusing of software and hardware in the entries.

“Winning the James Dyson Award was an exciting and humbling opportunity. The media exposure we received around the world opened many doors for us. We’ve made connections with top experts and are continuing to learn from them so we can develop ‘The sKan’ to help solve the problems in today’s melanoma diagnosis process,” says the sKan team.

Comments Mohandas, “The exposure and response I’ve received through the James Dyson Award has been incredible. It is indeed a great platform to provide solutions for genuine problems that can in-turn create a positive impact to the lives of people. Winning the award has provided me with the right encouragement to take this journey forward and has led me to pursue a fellowship focusing on medical product design at AIIMS. I look forward to realising Maattam as a viable commercial product in the future, and the JDA platform has helped me connect with the right people and organisations towards achieving this. I believe this award will inspire more innovators of our country to solve real-life problems.”

About the competition

The competition brief: Design something that solves a problem. The problem may be a frustration we all face in daily life, or a global issue such as world hunger. The important thing is that the solution is an effective and well-thought through solution.

The prize: The international winner will receive a cash prize of INR 26,00,000 (and INR 4,00,000 for his/her university), two international runners-up will receive INR 4,00,000 each and the national winner will receive INR 1,70,000.

The process: Entries are judged first at the national level before progressing to the international stage. A panel of Dyson engineers select an international shortlist of 20 entries. The Top 20 projects are then reviewed by Sir James Dyson, who selects the international winner.

The annual James Dyson Award runs in 27 countries and regions worldwide including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK and USA.

Application deadline: Midnight GMT on July 20, 2018

How to register: Candidates can register through an online application via

Entrants should concisely explain what their invention is, how it works, and their development process. The best entries are always realistic and sustainable, show iterative development, solve a real problem and tell a story.

Entrants should submit imagery to support their application. The best entrants should be able to show evidence of physical prototyping as well as sketches and CAD.

Eligibility criteria

Entrants must be, or have been within the last four years, enrolled for at least one semester in an undergraduate or graduate engineering or design programme at a university in a country or region chosen to participate in the James Dyson Award.

In the case of team entries, all members of the team must be, or have been within the last four years, enrolled for at least one semester in an undergraduate or graduate programme at a university in a country or region chosen to participate in the James Dyson Award. One will need to be nominated and registered as the team member.


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