Published: 23rd March 2020
The James Dyson Award 2020 is open for entries and they are looking for inventors solving big problems
In addition to the International winner, in 2020 the JDA will crown a second winner, focused on Sustainability for the first time
Since 2005, the James Dyson Award (JDA) has challenged inventive and entrepreneurial undergraduates and recent graduates of engineering and design, to invent something that solves a problem. 1 in 5 past winners, who each received the £30,0001 prize, have gone on to successfully commercialise their inventions.
In addition to the International winner, in 2020 the JDA will crown a second winner, focused on Sustainability for the first time. James Dyson said, “Each year we have been struck by the ingenuity and conscience of young people to solve really big problems. So many of the James Dyson Award entries have a focus on improving the world through engineering and technology. Recognising the role that engineers and scientists play in creating a sustainable future, we have decided to introduce a second international prize focused on ideas which do more with less and tackle environmental or social issues.”
See the JDA 2020 launch video here.
Solving real problems
The best inventions are often the simplest, providing clear and intelligent solutions to real-world problems. Past winners have addressed issues such as plastic waste, energy generation and medical treatment in developing countries. The 2019 International winner, MarinaTex, is a home-compostable bioplastic made from a combination of waste material from the fishing industry and sustainable algae. It is designed to be an alternative to single-use plastic films.
The award has given young inventors international media exposure, which has opened further investment and opportunities for them to develop their ideas. Past winners such as Lighthouse, a leak-detecting robot and US national winner 2018, and ORCA, a water-cleaning robot and China’s national winner 2018, have launched successful businesses. The inventor of MarinaTex, Lucy Hughes, says that winning the award has already “massively changed her life”. The prize money and interest she has received from investors means she is now pursuing MarinaTex full-time to make it into a mass-manufactured product.
After winning the award Lucy said: “I’m so proud to have won the James Dyson Award and really humbled that the potential of my invention, MarinaTex, has been recognised in this way. Winning the James Dyson Award will be a huge kick start to getting MarinaTex through the next phase of R&D and onwards towards production. Additionally, I hope it will shine light on the importance of circular principles in the design phase and will leverage the importance of taking form, function and footprint into account.”
Design something that solves a problem. This problem may be a frustration that we all face in daily life, or a global issue. The important thing is that the solution is effective and demonstrates considered design thinking.