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Entries open for international award to support next generation of NZ innovation

The James Dyson Award, the international student design and engineering competition run by the James Dyson Foundation, today opens for entries, calling for novel inventions that tackle a pressing real-world problem.

Open to all engineering and design students and recent graduates, the Award seeks ambitious designs that address a global issue, from cancer diagnosis to natural disasters. With global recognition offered to an International Winner and a Sustainability Winner, past winners include an off-road ambulance trailer to rescue the wounded from conflict zones, a paint made from recycled glass that vastly reduces the need for air conditioning, and a device to control bleeding from stab wounds.

Last year, Massey University student Nick Holland won the national New Zealand award for his work on ‘Pre-Podium’, a user-friendly, re-engineered drug testing kit that aims to improve the athlete experience. On winning the award, Nick said: “I feel proud to have my work recognised and displayed on the world stage. Becoming a national finalist gives me more confidence to continue developing my invention and getting it to market.”New Zealand runners-up include Pull Dry, a solution that allows for transporting, washing and drying clothing without electricity, and Rayflect, a face shield that helps to protect physicians who operate medical equipment that produces ionising radiation.

Established in 2005, the competition has now supported over 400 young inventors with more than NZD$2 million in prize money, and more than two thirds of past global winners have pursued the commercialisation of their ideas. The International Winner and Global Sustainability Winner will scoop $61,500 to support their next steps, while $10,200 is offered to each National Winner in the 30 markets where the Award is run.

Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer, said: “The world needs more doers – problem-solvers, not grandstanders, who are ready to take on the problems of our time. Every year the James Dyson Award gives young people a platform for their medical and environmental inventions, and much more besides. It’s their ‘wrong thinking’ that leads to breakthroughs, whether it’s the development of a new sustainable material, or the application of clever engineering principles to help improve people’s lives. I look forward to seeing what new inventions this year’s Award brings!”

Previous recipients of the Award have gone onto great success thanks to the global media exposure and injection of funds that the prize offers. Past International Winner Yusuf Muhammad entered his invention Automist in 2009, which is a device that tackles domestic fires with an ingenious water misting mechanism that uses 10 times less water than a traditional system. Today, Yusuf runs a successful company that has installed over 13,000 systems and is currently securing international certification ahead of a prospective US launch.

He said, “Winning the James Dyson Award gave me great confidence and a springboard to success. It allowed me to start a company, which turned my design concept into a product that protects homes all over the world and has saved lives. As an internationally recognised award, it’s a fantastic vehicle to bring your ideas to life.”

Other past winners around the world have included:

● The Golden Capsule (South Korea) – a hands-free intravenous (IV) device designed for disaster zones, which can be strapped to the patient and does not rely on gravity.

● HOPES (Singapore) – a wearable device for pain-free, low-cost glaucoma testing that patients can do at home.

● PlasticScanner (Netherlands)- an open-source scanning device to help fight plastic waste by detecting what type of plastic an item is.

● BlueBox (Spain) – an at-home cancer screening solution designed to encourage more women to test for breast cancer.

● mOm incubators (UK) – a low-cost collapsible, portable infant incubator, which has been successfully used to save babies’ lives in Ukraine.

National winners and runners-up will be whittled down to a global Top 20 by a panel of expert Dyson engineers across different disciplines, and finally, Sir James Dyson himself will pick the best.

The National Winners will be announced on September 11, the global Top 20 shortlist on October 16 and Global Winners on November 13 


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