Entries for the Blackwood Design Awards 2023/24 are now open!

The Blackwood Design Awards (BDA) is celebrating a decade of excellence and innovation by welcoming entrants to participate in the 2023/24 competition.


An international awards programme that seeks to find innovative and life-changing inventions and concepts that enhance independent living for people with disabilities, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the competition.


For all the details please read on below and you can apply here.

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


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


Entries are NOW open and the deadline to submit your design is Thursday 31 August.



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

There are three categories open to the public:

  1. Best New Concept (with prize money of £2,000)
  2. Best New Aids, Equipment, or Accessible Technology (already accessible on the market)
  3. Best Collaborative Project (by a University or Institute of Higher Learning)


The deadline for the best collaborative project category has been extended to Friday 29 September to enable University students the necessary term time to complete their design work.




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. Deadline for this category is Friday 29 September.

Best New Concept

Cannot be commercially available at the time of the competition. Can be a student project or an independent enterprise. 

 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 New Aids, Equipment or Accessible Technology

Must be either a piece of digital assistive technology or a piece of equipment with a practical application and these 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 must be either a physical invention or be applicable to a product (i.e. apps, software, etc are very welcome to enter).

The accompanying strapline to the awards is: Where Great Design meets independent living, so the designs need to be practical and impactful on people’s everyday lives.

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 have 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 midnight on Thursday 31 August 2023. To enter Blackwood Design Award Competition, fill in the application form. You should hear back within three working days that we have received your entry.


If you have any questions about any part of the application process, please direct your enquiries to bespoken@blackwoodgroup.org.uk.

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