€120,000 James Dyson award launches at IT Carlow


The tenth anniversary of the International James Dyson award was launched to product design staff and students at IT Carlow this afternoon (Thursday 3rd April 2014). Dyson Engineer Nick Schneider from Dyson HQ in Malmesbury, challenged the new generation of design students to think differently about solving problems at a special invention workshop held in the college.  

This year’s workshops, sponsored by the James Dyson Foundation, were hosted at just three Irish third level institutions,  Institute of Technology Carlow, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick. The events seek to harness and support the inventive and collaborative capacities of the best creative and innovative minds in our third level colleges today.  

Nick Schneider commented on the standard of entries from Institute of Technology Carlow  over the past ten years:  “The James Dyson award is looking for inventive ideas with real problem-solving potential. We’ve seen plenty of ingenious inventions over the years from IT Carlow  – let’s hope this year is better still!”

IT Carlow has indeed performed impressively in both the national and global stages of the James Dyson award since the award first launched in Ireland ten years ago.  The first ever winner of the Irish leg of the James Dyson award in 2004 was an IT Carlow student.  Paddy Moloney from invented a lightweight cast for broken limbs after seeing his dad face difficulties with the heavy traditional plaster casts.  Shortly after winning the award, Moloney was snapped up by Dyson, where he is now a senior design engineer.

In 2009, IT Carlow student Noel Joyce received international acclaim when he won the national award and made the global finals for his hydraulic wheelchair brake invention, designed to solve some of the difficulties faced by wheelchair users. Noel set up is own design company after graduating and is well on his way to making his first million from sales of his recent invention – Maglus.  Maglus, a stylus for touchscreen devices, has sold 25,000 units worldwide generating sales of over three quarters of a million Euro in just 8 months.  .

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 in the 2014 competition. The total prize fund this year is £100,000 (€120,000).

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.

The 2014 IT Carlow event involved third year undergraduate students of Industrial Design & Product Design Innovation working alongside  the dyson engineers, responding to real world problems. The Dyson approach to innovating is very hands-on and champions the approach of developing by making or:  DESIGN - BUILD - TEST. 

Throughout the workshop, students worked in collaborative teams and engaged in a dynamic process to quickly develop 3-dimentional representational models of their ideas using a variety of easily accessible materials.  This direct industry interaction is a superb example of how students of design at IT Carlow gain unique insight into the inner working methodology of Dyson, a company who have made a significant impact in product innovation.

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.”




For further press information on the James Dyson Award:

Emily Cox, Cox Communications, , 086 383 2703

For information on IT Carlow Design Courses:

Muirghin Brophy, Communications Officer,, 059 9175083


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