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The tenth anniversary of the international James Dyson award was launched in Trinity College Dublin this morning.

Dyson Engineer Nick Schneider addressed Engineering students and conducted a design workshop at the Design Loft, Trinity School of Engineering.  Students were to solve problems by thinking differently.

Irish design and engineering students will compete with students from 18 countries across the world to win the top prize of €36,000 and a further €12,000 for their university. The total prize fund this year is £100,000 (€120,000).

Speaking at today’s launch, Prof. Gareth J. Bennett, School of Engineering, Trinity College Dublin, said excellence in design innovation is the solution to Ireland’s troubled economy:

“Engineering students are naturally creative. Our job is to provide inspiring learning environments to foster and develop their skills. By providing an opportunity to the students for experiential learning while applying academic knowledge we can deliver graduates who can both pioneer new companies to create indigenous employment and help reinvent existing companies to make them more competitive”

2014 marks the 10 year anniversary of James Dyson’s search for new and better ways to solve problems. In recent years the competition has discovered and supported inventors with ideas such as an upper-body robotic arm and a more efficient device to capture wave power.


Last year’s international winners, the Titan Arm team, invented a battery powered upper-body robotic arm, which augments arm strength, to rehabilitate people with back injuries, rebuild muscle and relearn motor control.

James Dyson says a bright idea is just the start.

“Developing and commercialising patentable technology is the hard part.  We must encourage and financially support young engineers to solve the problems of today – and tomorrow. I’m looking for people that don’t just have a brilliant idea, but also the burning desire to make it a reality.”

Irish students have performed impressively in the awards over the last ten years.  Last year a Dublin student’s sports gum shield invention to prevent second impact syndrome in athletes, made the top twenty global finals.


In 2009 a Carlow student made the final stages of the global judging with an hydraulic wheelchair brake invention, to solve the difficulties and embarrassment faced by wheelchair users.

In 2004, the winner of the Irish stage of the first award, Paddy Maloney from Carlow IT, invented a lightweight cast for broken limbs after seeing his Dad face difficulties with the heavy traditional plaster casts.  Moloney is now a Senior Engineer at Dyson.

Other Irish student inventions to receive international acclaim for their inventions in the James Dyson award include:

  • Martin Ryan from NCAD who invented a new saddle for endurance riding.  Martin now lectures in design in NUI Maynooth and is in discussions with international investors interested in bringing his product to market.
  • James D’Arcy from the University of Limerick who invented a new oxygen mask system, after witnessing his father Tom, who died from Hodgkin’s disease, have difficulties with the existing oxygen mask cutting into his ears
  • Harry De Stacpoole from the University of Limerick, who invented Thadeus, a chair system for disabled sailors to access sailing boats
  • Ronan Leahy from the University of Limerick who invented “MediMover”, an innovative device to aid in the transfer of patients from hospital beds to other beds, trolleys or surgical tables.
  • Brian Byrne from NCAD who invented the Flip Ski Boot, which brings comfort to the ski slopes
  • Paddy Mulcahy from the University of Limerick who invented U-neat, an innovative sanitary hospital bed table and locker designed to minimise the spread of Health Care Associated Infections (HCAI’s).
  • Ian Burnell from DIT, who invented the Enhanced Emergency Lighting Barrier, an advanced system for the Emergency Services to warn oncoming traffic
  • Chris Murphy from the University of Limerick who invented the Open pool Transfer System to assist swimmers with limited mobility
  • Harry De Stacpoole from the University of Limerick, who invented Thadeus, a chair system for disabled sailors to access sailing boats
  • Aoife Considine and Alberto Cañizares from Trinity College Dublin who invented Boundless, a 360 degree rotational Snowboard attachment.  The system enables the user to quickly lock, adjust and re-lock the bindings into another position without the need for a screwdriver.

The Prize:

International winner:

•             The international prize is £30,000 (€36,000) for the student or team.

•             £10,000 (€12,000) for the student’s university department.

•             A James Dyson Award trophy.


International runners-up:

•             £5,000 (€6,000) each.

National winner (one per country):

•             £2,000 (€2,400) each.

Key dates:

•             Entries open – 27th March

•             Entries close – 7th August

•             Announcement of the national winners – 18th September

•             Announcement of the international finalists – 16th October

•             Announcement of the international winner and runners-up – 6th November

Entry process:

Students submit footage, images, sketches and explanations of their ideas to International finalists will be asked to make a video pitch of their project to James Dyson who will announce the international winner on 6th November.


Any university level student of product design, industrial design or engineering, (or graduate within four years of graduation) who is studying or studied in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA.


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