Universal Design Grand Challenge Student Awards

The Universal Design Grand Challenge 2020 Student Awards Ceremony took place online on 11th November 2020.

You can still view the UDGC 2020 Student Awards Ceremony online.

See the winners and runners up from the UDGC 2020 Student Awards.

Follow the 2020 Competition on Facebook and Twitter.

What is the Universal Design Grand Challenge?

The Universal Design Grand Challenge (UDGC) is a student competition that promotes and awards excellence in student projects that feature solutions that work for everyone. The UDGC invites third level students in their final two years of study, post grads and recent graduates to enter their best student project.

9 finalists from colleges around Ireland will present their designs to a panel of industry experts as part of the National Final.  Winners will be announced in 3 categories:

  • Build Environment,
  • Information and Communication,
  • Products and Services.

In addition, there will also be a Peoples' Choice Winner and an Enterprise Ireland* “Universal Design Commercialisation Award”.

All finalists will benefit from expert pitch training as part of the competition process. The winner of each category will receive a cash prize and the coveted Universal Design Grand Challenge perpetual trophy for that category.

How does the UDGC work?

Students in their final two years of study, post graduate students and recent graduates enter their best projects.

Projects will be judged by a team of international experts in Universal Design across the three award categories. The judges will shortlist three awards in each category to go forward to the final event.

Shortlisted projects will be presented to national expert judges at the Awards Event. The Judges will choose a winning project in each category. Enterprise Ireland will choose one project to win their Universal Design Commercialisation Award to qualify for funding for a feasibility study. Attendees at the event will vote for a ‘People’s Choice’ award. Winners will take home a 3D-printed trophy and a cash prize. Past winners of this competition have gone on to win further awards and develop their design commercially.


What kind of projects win?

We really want to see ‘Universal Design’ in action – products and services that work for everyone. We want to see products designed using the 7 Principles of Universal Design, with user feedback at the heart of the design process. The competition is not aimed at solutions that work only for a narrow sector of society. It actively seeks out designs that work for the widest range of people possible. We also encourage students to allow the needs of users with particular needs, or "extreme users", to inspire their designs so that they work for everyone.

The pitchers and winners of the Universal Design Grand Challenge 2019.  

Read a full description of the pitchers and winners from 2019.

Discover more about the Universal Design Grand Challenge:

* The Commercial Case Feasibility Grant by Enterprise Ireland recognises the excellence in applied research in the Higher Education sector and the need for business development expertise to complement researchers’ technical expertise, to develop strong commercialisation strategies for innovations. The funding will be paid to an Irish 3rd Level Institution for the purposes of employing a consultant to explore the market/commercial opportunity for the winning entry/entries.  The value of the funding is up to €15,000 per project.  Any application must be made in co-operation with a 3rd Level Technology Transfer Office and all IP relating to the project must be in the ownership of the 3rd Level Institution for the project to qualify.