Using design to solve problems and improve our lives

Inspiring creativity and design in schools

The RSA Pupil Design Awards is a free, national design competition for secondary school and sixth-form pupils aged 11-17. Pupils are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination to tackle real challenges facing people and the planet. Schools are provided with lesson plans, training, and mentors to support participation. Teams or individuals submit design proposals and material explaining how they approached their problem.

Advocating for design

Through the competition, we advocate for the role of design and innovation in education to bring about positive social change. The RSA Pupil Design Awards aim to:

  • broaden definitions of how design can be applied
  • introduce social design and design thinking to teachers and pupils
  • build creative confidence in young people

Find out more about the offer for schools, including lesson plans and mentor classroom visits, or sign up your school up now.


The RSA Pupil Design Awards began life in 2014 when it was trialled in the RSA schools with funding from the Muriel Latter Legacy before expanding into a national programme with support from the Comino Foundation and Four Acre Trust. It is a design competition based on the RSA Student Design Awards, a 90 year old curriculum run by universities across the world.

Here’s five reasons to take part in the Pupil Design Awards:

  • high quality professional development
  • prepares students for further study
  • adapt the competition to your students and subject
  • work with inspiring mentors and resources
  • support the future of design in schools

2019-20 briefs

The challenges in the RSA Pupil Design Awards briefs are real-world problems. This year’s briefs are:

For more information about the RSA Pupil Design Awards please contact Olly Wimborne, Senior Researcher or Aidan Daly, Co-ordinator, Education at the RSA.

Using Design in Education from The RSA on Vimeo.

Schools involved:

Project details:

Date Started August 2015
Date Finished Ongoing
Project Funder Comino Foundation and Four Acre Trust