2020, an unmatched year
Last year saw a record-breaking number of entries to the Award and the new Sustainability prize awarded its first recipient: AuREUS, invented by Carvey Ehren Maigue from the Philippines. Recognising the role that engineers and scientists play in creating a sustainable future, the James Dyson Award introduced this global recognition prize last year, focused on ideas which tackle environmental issues and share Dyson’s philosophy of lean engineering, doing more with less.
In 2021, there continues to be two S$53,000 global prizes: the International Sustainability winner
and the Overall International winner
. But first, each participating country and region will award a National winner S$3,500 and two National runners-up. Those that win a National accolade proceed to the International awarding stages.
Solving real problems
The best inventions are often the simplest, providing clear and intelligent solutions to real-world problems. The 2020 International winner, The Blue Box, is an at-home breast cancer detection device that diagnoses patients using an AI algorithm and a urine sample. It is designed to be less invasive and more accessible than current screening processes, after witnessing a rise in women skipping mammograms. The inventor of The Blue Box, 23 year-old Judit Giro Benet, says winning the Award was “a real turning point as the prize money will allow for extensive patenting to expedite research and software development”. The prize money and global publicity the Award gave Judit means she is now working on final stages of prototyping and software development at the University of California Irvine, ready for human studies and clinical trials.
Want to know what Dyson engineers are looking for in an award-winning invention? Hear from long standing James Dyson Award judge, Peter Gammack, VP of New Product Innovation at Dyson, on the Dyson Newsroom here.
The Award has given young inventors international media exposure, which has opened up further investment and opportunities for them to develop their ideas. The UK 2011 National winner KwickScreen, infection-controlled screens for patient safety, has grown to establish a company employing over 70 people, supplying screens to every NHS trust in the UK and 240 hospitals internationally.
In 2017, US National runner-up SoaPen, a colourful soap pen encouraging safe handwashing, commercialised their invention and were listed in the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 List. SoaPen now ships its expanding product portfolio across America, most recently creating a hand sanitizer to meet demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.