Universal Design Grand Challenge Student Awards

In 2020 the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD) at the National Disability Authority (NDA) will host the seventh Universal Design Grand Challenge Students Awards.

In 2019, 9 finalists from colleges around Ireland were judged on the presentation of their designs. Finalists competed for the Judge's Choice Awards in the Build Environment, Technology and Products & Services categories, the Peoples' Choice Award and the Enterprise Ireland “Universal Design Commercialisation Award”.

Peter Crowley

Peter Crowley, Architect and Director of PAC Studio, Architecture & Environments, Dublin, and one of the judges on RTEs ‘Home of the Year’ programme, gave a keynote presentation

This years Universal Design Grand Challenge will feature 3 Judges' Awards for "Built environment" "Products and Services" and "Information and Communication Technology". The winner of each category will receive a cash prize and the coveted Universal Design Grand Challenge perpetual trophy for that category.

There will also be Awards for the People's Choice and Universal Design for Commercialisation Award, supported by Enterprise Ireland.

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What is the UDGC?

The Universal Design Grand Challenge (UDGC) is a student competition that promotes and awards excellence in student projects that feature solutions that work for everyone. The UDGC invites third level students in their final two years of study, post grads and recent graduates to enter their best student project to compete for two National Universal Design Student Awards.

There will be three ‘Judges Awards’ categories in the completion:

  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Built Environment
  • Products and Services

How does the UDGC work?

Students in their final two years of study, post graduate students and recent graduates enter their best projects.

Projects will be judged by a team of international experts in Universal Design across the three award categories. The judges will shortlist three awards in each category to go forward to the final event.

Shortlisted projects will be presented to national expert judges at the Awards Event. The Judges will choose a winning project in each category. Enterprise Ireland will choose one project to win their Universal Design Commercialisation Award to qualify for funding for a feasibility study. Attendees at the event will vote for a ‘People’s Choice’ award. Winners will take home a 3D-printed trophy, and will qualify for a cash prize for both the student and the college.

What kind of projects win?

We really want to see ‘Universal Design’ in action – products and services that work for everyone. We want to see products designed using the 7 Principles of Universal Design, with user feedback at the heart of the design process. The competition is not aimed at solutions for disabled people or assistive technology. Check out details of the

 This video has more information on the Automatic Flood Defence Barrier that won the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Award in 2016

  • The Enterprise Ireland “Universal Design Commercialisation Award” will provide one or more of the shortlisted entrants with a Commercial Case Feasibility Grant.  
  • UDGC People’s Choice Award Trophy (perpetual trophy) €1,000.00 in prize money (€500 for the school and €500 for the student(s)).  The winner of the People's Choice Award is voted on during the Awards Night. 
  • UDGC "Judges’ Choice Award: Technology" Trophy (perpetual trophy) €1,000.00 in prize money (€500 for the school and €500 for the student(s)).   
  • UDGC "Judges’ Choice Award: Product and Services" Trophy (perpetual trophy) €1,000.00 in prize money (€500 for the school and €500 for the student(s)). 
  • UDGC "Judges’ Choice Award: Built environment" Trophy (travelling perpetual trophy) €1,000.00 in prize money (€500 for the school plus €500 for the student(s)). 


Want to know even more

Get more information for educators or contact info@ceud.ie for a poster.

Get more information for students.

Get UDGC 2019 Student Award Poster

The Commercial Case Feasibility Grant by Enterprise Ireland recognises the excellence in applied research in the Higher Education sector and the need for business development expertise to complement researchers’ technical expertise, to develop strong commercialisation strategies for innovations. The funding will be paid to an Irish 3rd Level Institution for the purposes of employing a consultant to explore the market/commercial opportunity for the winning entry/entries.  The value of the funding is up to €15,000 per project.  Any application must be made in co-operation with a 3rd Level Technology Transfer Office and all IP relating to the project must be in the ownership of the 3rd Level Institution for the project to qualify.