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Blue Box 2020 winner

James Dyson calls for budding engineers to tackle the problems our planet faces, as his engineering competition opens for 2023


The James Dyson Award, an annual engineering competition with a sustainability-focus run by Dyson’s charity, is now open and accepting submissions from young inventors who have ideas to improve our planet. 

March 1, 2023

  • Calling all budding engineers


    Since 2005, the Award has challenged entrepreneurial undergraduates and recent graduates of engineering to tackle a global problem, from environmental issues to improving healthcare practices. Past winners have developed solutions to recycle single-use plastic bottles (Polyformer) and the biodegradability of materials (MarinaTex, AuREUS), as well as bettering at-home medical diagnostics (Blue Box, HOPES).


    To date, the competition has awarded 390 inventions with prize money, and over 70% of past global winners are commercializing their winning inventions. We need more game-changing ideas to tackle global environmental and medical problems, and James Dyson thinks young people have the answers and drive to make a difference.


    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.




  • “We are looking for young engineers who are hard-wired to solve problems sustainably, often using less energy and fewer materials, and who want to improve the world through their ideas. Young people have the ideas that can change things for the better, and they should be encouraged. The James Dyson Award gives them the platform to pursue their inventions, and I look forward to judging this year’s entries. Good luck!”


    - Sir James Dyson, Founder

  • James Dyson



  • What can winners expect?

    1. Prize money. Global winners receive $45,000 and National winners receive $8,000 to put towards the next phase of their invention’s development.
    2. Media attention. Previous winners have highlighted the awareness brought by the Award as one of the most valuable contributions to getting their ideas off the ground.
    3. Past winner support. Last year the Award launched a network for past winners commercializing their inventions; events and networking opportunities for winners to connect, share experiences and consider inter-winner mentorship.


    Each participating country and region will award a National winner ($8,000) and two National runners-up. The National winners are chosen by an external panel in collaboration with Dyson. Last year, the Award opened for the first time in Thailand and Turkey, and this year the competition launches in Portugal.


    Those that win a National accolade proceed to the International shortlist and awarding stages, where James Dyson selects his global winners.


  • Plastic Scanner 2021 winner
  • HOPES 2021 winner





  • Success stories


    Winning the James Dyson Award can provide awareness that helps to propel problem-solving ideas to commercialization. For example, mOm Incubators, 2014’s International Winner, have recently supplied more than 60 of its incubators to Ukraine and two other countries including the UK. Overall, the company believes it has impacted the lives of more than 1,000 babies and, as they put it, “We would not have reached this position without the James Dyson Award.” 

  • mom incubators 2014 winner
  • Voltera V-One 2015 winner
  • 2015 International winner,  Voltera V-One, were a group of Canadian students whose invention allowed for fast and cheap prototyping of printed circuit boards.  


    Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are the electronic paths on an insulated surface that help power appliances such as smartphones, biomedical devices, and other electronic technologies. To research and develop new electronics, it is vital for engineers, inventors, and students working in this area to be able to prototype PCBs cheaply and quickly. But this process tends to be time consuming and expensive. All too often circuit board designs must be sent to a factory for printing, only for the whole process to be repeated as soon as even a minor change is required.


    Voltera V-One, solved this problem by using the same rapid prototyping principles that underpin 3D printing to turn design files into prototype boards in minutes. The team of University Waterloo students designed the laptop-sized PCB printer, which is similar in many ways to the compact, additive manufacturing design of desktop 3D printers. The Voltera V-One lays down conductive and insulating inks to create a functional, 2-layer circuit board. It’s also a solder paste dispenser, allowing components to be added to the board and reflowed by a 550w heater. Since winning the James Dyson Award the team has continued to expand Voltera V-One into a successful and profitable company today.


    To learn more about Voltera V-One please visit their website here.


    In 2016, US National runner-up SoaPen, a colourful soap pen for children encouraging safe handwashing, commercialized their invention and were featured on Shark Tank. SoaPen has shipped over 60,000 units of SoaPen across America and are expanding their product portfolio with new SoaPen colors and a body wash pen.

  • SoaPen 2016 runner-up
  • How to enter


    Candidates enter through an online application form via the James Dyson Award website. The deadline to apply: July 19, 2023 at midnight PST.


    Entrants should explain what their invention is, how it works, and their development process. The best entries solve a real problem, are clearly explained, show iterative development, provide evidence of prototyping and have supporting imagery and a video.


    Further FAQs can be found on the James Dyson Award website.





  • MarinaTex 2019 winner
  • Polyformer 2022 winner

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