Attention student designers: The 2012 James Dyson Award is now open for entry, seeking solutions from design or engineering students from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the US.
If you students were to enter most world-class design competitions, you'd undoubtedly be at a disadvantage for lacking the resources and experience of, say, a legacy design firm. Alternatively there's always an abundance of small-scale student design competitions, if you don't mind designing your ass off for a chance to win a gift certificate to Houlihan's. But the Dyson comp carries a US $15,000 purse and is geared towards you specifically because you're young and have little experience. In Dyson's own words,
Young people have an unsullied view of the world. Budding engineers and designers can use their fresh perspective to develop wonderfully simple solutions to baffling problems. Original ideas and rigorously engineered projects will attract the attention of the judges. I challenge applicants to think big and use the award as a springboard for your idea.
You've gotta love the six-word brief—"Design something that solves a problem"—and lack of a registration fee. Also, even recent students can enter; anyone who was an undergrad design or engineering student anytime in the last four years is eligible.