Blackwood Design Awards 2018/19 Now Live and Accepting Entries!

Entries for the Blackwood Design Awards 2018/19 are now closed! 

Keep an eye open for when we announce the shortlist! 

We are delighted to announce that the Blackwood Design Awards 2018/19 are now officially open for entries. See below for instructions on how to enter.

The Blackwood Design Awards is an international competition that seeks to find brilliant inventions and concepts that have the potential to change lives.


Now in its sixth year, the BDA supports the legacy of Dr Margaret Blackwood who dedicated her life to campaigning for the rights of people with disabilities. Today, Blackwood Homes and Care carries on her work and provides over 1,500 beautiful, affordable and accessible homes to people across Scotland as well as personal care and support services.


We are looking for inventions, designs and concepts that can boost independent living and enable people with disabilities to live life to the full.


This year’s competition is sponsored by Kingdom Gas and Triodos and boasts a prize package worth thousands of pounds! All winners will be awarded the BDA trophy in their category.




This year’s competition has three distinct categories. Please read the description carefully before submitting your entry. If you have any doubt as to which category you should enter please contact




Best New Concept

Open to any entry not affiliated with an academic institution. Entries must not be commercially available at the time of submission.


Entries can be either high or low tech. It is not essential that entrants be able to produce a completed prototype provided they can demonstrate proof of concept to the judging panel.


Best Collaborative Project by a University or Institute of Higher Learning

Entries must be the work of a collaboration between two or more people. Entrants should either be students or academic staff of a particular university or institute of higher learning.


The collaboration may include non-academic persons/organisations provided the entry is produced either for or by a university or institute of higher learning.

Best New Product

Open to everyone. All entries must be commercially available at the time of submission.




Who is the competition open to?


Anyone who has come up with a great idea that can support people with disabilities.


You might be a professional designer or a layperson. Past winners have included top universities as well as gifted amateurs who have an insight in living with a disability. Your background or level of experience are not what matters most. If the idea is good and well thought-out, if the concept has been proven and it can help people, you can enter the Blackwood Design Awards.


What sort of designs are eligible to enter?


Broadly speaking – anything. The only real caveat being that it has to be either a physical invention or be applicable to a product (i.e. apps, software, etc are very welcome to enter).


Does it have to be hi-tech?


Not necessarily. Sometimes, the simple solutions are the best.


One of the strengths of the BDA is that entries are judged not on how technologically advanced they are but rather on how innovative, impactful and practical they are. Past winners have included a futuristic and hi-tech wheelchair controlled entirely with the eyes, but also the S’up Spoon, a simple 3D printed plastic spoon to eat independently without spilling.


What kind of entries have you had in the past?


There are too many to list them all but here is a sample list of the types of entries we’ve received in the past:


  • Apps to help improve independent living
  • Headsets to connect with and control IT without using hands
  • Lo-tech utensils for eating and drinking independently
  • Therapeutic aids for people with learning disabilities
  • Innovative wheelchair designs
  • Headsets to guide visually impaired people
  • Adapted furniture


The list goes on and on.


How to enter


We will be accepting entries until the 12th of April. To enter simply download the entry form here, fill it out and send it to You should hear back within 3 working days.


If you have any questions about any part of the application process, please direct your enquiries to


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