James Dyson is a really good inventor

Inventors of the future: submit applications for the James Dyson Award now

Since 2005, the James Dyson Award (JDA) has been given to innovative students and fresh graduates in engineering and design for inventions that solve problems. The task is deliberately broad and kept open and challenges the students to solve big problems. Previous winners have developed solutions for renewable energy generation, sustainable plastics, and medical and cancer screening. James Dyson selects the two winners of the international awards; they receive valuable financial support and worldwide recognition - important first steps in putting their ideas into practical application.

“Young people want to change the world, and the award supports them in this by providing them with important financial resources, recognition and a stage for their ideas. The international winners are extremely successful: 65 percent of them bring their inventions onto the market, which is all the more remarkable given that 90 percent of start-ups generally fail. I am looking for radical inventions that challenge and question established thought patterns. I wish the applicants every success! " James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer of Dyson.

2020, an unmatched year
Last year there was a record number of applications for the award. In addition, the new sustainability award was presented to AuREUS, invented by Carvey Ehren Maigue from the Philippines, for the first time. The sustainability award was introduced last year as engineers and scientists play a vital role in creating a sustainable future. The prize is awarded for ideas that address environmental problems and share Dyson's philosophy of lean engineering, i.e. achieving more with less.
In 2021, two international prizes, each endowed with EUR 33,000, will be awarded: the international sustainability award and the general international award. A national winner (2,200 EUR prize money) and two national runners-up will be determined beforehand in each participating country or region. Those who win a national award then take part in the international rounds.


The best inventions are often the simplest and offer clear and intelligent solutions to real problems. The 2020 international award went to The Blue Box, a home breast cancer detection device that uses an AI algorithm and a urine sample to diagnose. It is less invasive and more accessible than current breast cancer screening tests, which many women are not using. For the 23-year-old Judit Giró Benet, the inventor of The Blue Box, winning the award was “a real turning point” as the prize money would allow her to “apply extensive patent applications and advance research and software development”. Thanks to the prize money and the international fame of winning the award, Judit Giró Benet can now work on the final stages of prototype and software development at the University of California, Irvine and make the device ready for clinical studies.
Jonas Kathan, a graduate of the Hochschule Technische Wirtschaft Berlin, won the James Dyson Award in Germany in 2020. His innovative invention, Lift, is a new type of walking stick that not only helps when walking but also when getting up. Due to its unique shape, it is very easy to place the lift on walls, tables or in the car without falling over. The elegant appearance should also contribute to increasing social acceptance for all walking aids.

Want to know what Dyson engineers are looking for at the James Dyson Award? The longtime juror at the James Dyson Award, Peter Gammack, Vice President of New Product Innovation at Dyson, reveals what makes an award-winning invention in the Dyson Newsroom.

The award gives the young inventors international media presence and thus the chance of further funding and opportunities to further develop their ideas. KwickScreen, the 2011 national winner in Great Britain, has grown into a company with more than 70 employees. The invention is a pull-out partition for isolating infectious patients in hospitals. The partitions are used in UK and 240 hospitals around the world. SoaPen, a colorful soap dispenser that promotes hygienic hand washing, took second place in the national competition in the USA in 2017. The inventors are now successfully marketing the product and have made it onto the prestigious “Forbes 30 Under 30” list. SoaPen is now selling its growing product portfolio across America and most recently developed a hand sanitizer as part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Rabbit Ray won second place in the Singapore national competition in 2011 and is now used in 44 hospitals in 23 countries. It is a communication tool for hospital staff that they can use to explain medical interventions to children. The inventor of the tool, Esther Wang, has since founded an award-winning health education company with Joytingle, and Rabbit Ray supports communication in medical interventions from vaccinations to chemotherapy.


About the competition

The task
Design a product that solves a problem. This can be a frustrating, everyday problem that we all encounter, or it can be a global problem. It is important that the solution is effective and demonstrates good design thinking.

The sequence
The entries are first judged by a jury at national level. One national winner and two national runners-up will be chosen in each participating country. A jury of Dyson engineers then selects 20 entries for the international competition from these winners. The best 20 projects are then evaluated by Sir James Dyson, who then selects the international winner, the international runner-up and the winner of the international sustainability award.

The price
• The winner of the international competition receives prize money of 33,000 euros. In addition, the winner's university will receive 5,500 euros.
• The winner of the sustainability award receives prize money of 33,000 euros.
• The two international runners-up will receive 5,500 euros.
• The winners of the national competitions will each receive 2,200 euros.

Winner of the sustainability award
Another award for sustainable projects has been presented at the James Dyson Awards since 2020. The winner of the Sustainability Award will be selected by Sir James Dyson from among the 20 finalists in the international competition. In order to win the award, applicants must pay particular attention to sustainability in the development of the product. This can concern the materials used, the design process, the manufacturing methods or the problem that is to be solved with the product.
Application deadline: midnight PST on June 30, 2021.

Submission of contributions
Entries will be submitted via an online application form on the James Dyson Awards website.
Applicants should explain what the invention is, how it works and what development process it went through. The best contributions are those that solve a real problem, are clearly explained, developed iteratively, have physical prototypes, and provide supporting image and video material.
All jurors will take into account the restrictions on prototyping and product development as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Selection criteria

The James Dyson Award is presented in 28 countries and regions around the world. These include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland , Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, UK and USA. In 2021, the award will also be presented in Poland for the first time.
Applicants must currently be enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate engineering / design-related course for at least one semester or have been within the last four years. This degree must be offered in a country or region selected to be eligible for the James Dyson Award.

In the case of team applications, all members must have been enrolled for at least one semester in an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a university in a country or region selected to participate in the James Dyson Award, or have been within the past four years. At least one team member must have completed an engineering or design-related degree qualifying for participation.
Since 2020, those who are completing an apprenticeship with the possibility of a university degree or who have completed it within the last four years are also eligible to participate.


Source: Dyson GmbH