Maynooth University wins two awards from Royal Society of Arts (RSA) for innovations in Student Design

Winning entry, ‘MakeCents’, is a unique Job Sharing Recruitment App
Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 13:00

Maynooth University has had outstanding success at this year's Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Student Design Awards. The Department of Design Innovation has two winning Design teams, both all-female teams that have come from three finalists in BSc Product Design and MSc Design Innovation.

Maynooth University students won awards in two categories against more than 780 entrants from leading universities and Design courses from across the UK, Ireland, Europe, USA and the Far East.

Winning entry, ‘Tabrah’

The RSA Student Design Awards recognises projects by students and recent graduates that use design to solve social challenges. The winning projects were completed before the Covid-19 lockdown, but their solutions for supporting displaced individuals, and enabling households become more economically secure have never had more weight and urgency than today.

Éilis O’Reilly and Doireann Peelo, BSc Product Design, were successful in the Dignity In Displacement brief to support displaced individuals to find hope, dignity, and safety to rebuild their lives. Their winning entry, ‘Tabrah’, is a menstrual cup and cleaning kit which provides women who are homeless with a safe, sustainable and hygienic way to manage their periods. Women who are displaced and facing financial difficulties often skimp on sanitary products to buy food or provide for their children, leading to unsafe hygiene practices. The ‘Tabrah’ cup is reusable, contains built-in UV-C LEDs that disinfect the cup and it can be used by women without access to soap or running water.

Alexandra McDermott, Dervilla McNamara and Amalia White, MSc Design Innovation, were successful in the Just About Managing brief to enable households and families to be more economically secure. Their winning entry, ‘MakeCents’, is a unique Job Sharing Recruitment App designed to help mothers find a job sharing partner and to assist part-time job seekers to match up so they can jointly apply for full-time positions. Mothers are matched by their experience, skillset, training , desired job type and location. Psychometric personality testing will ensure that people will be similar in terms of cognitive abilities, knowledge and personality type.

Martin Ryan, Programme Director for the BSc in Product Design at Maynooth University, said: “These students have demonstrated an excellent ability to deeply understand two complex issues facing women in society. Both teams were able to identify the social and physical obstacles in their way, design around them and present their target user with a better future.”

Dr Linzi Ryan, Programme Director for the MSc in Design Innovation, said: “I am immensely proud of our students in winning these awards. It acknowledges their passion and talent, and demonstrates the impact a design thinking approach can have on tackling complex and multi-faceted problems. Our students are great thinkers and creative problem solvers. They don’t shy away from tackling the big issues facing society today.”

Dr Iain Macdonald, Head of Design Innovation at Maynooth University, said: “To have won two categories from nine, against over 780 entrants from leading universities and Design courses from across the UK, Ireland, Europe, USA and the Far East is a huge achievement. One would have been a significant achievement, but two is a great achievement for Ireland. The teams' success is a huge validation of the hard work and dedication of our students, our design led approach and curriculum, and the calibre e of our teaching staff."