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DIT Product Design student wins National James Dyson Award

Posted on September 18, 2018

Evan Stuart, a final-year student of Product Design in DIT, has been named the winner of the Irish leg of the 2018 James Dyson award, which carries a prize of €2,500.

For his major degree project, Evan designed a modular, recyclable shoe concept called Layer.  The shoe is made from biodegradable parts which are attached using no adhesives and so can be fully recycled at the end of life.  Evan is the first national winner from DIT in the fourteen-year history of the James Dyson award and will go forward to compete in the global stage of the competition where he hopes to win the grand prize of €35,000 for his ground-breaking idea.

The design cue for Evan’s project was the fact that more than 300 million pairs of shoes are thrown into landfill each year, never to be recycled.  “In my mind, I had five essential criteria to make this work. These included the shoe being recyclable, repairable, customisable, sustainable and eco-friendly. At the same time, they had to look great and be comfortable, or no one would wear them.”

A video overview of the design process of “Layer”.

Evan credits his time studying Product Design in DIT as the foundation for his award-winning design. "The creative design abilities, technical expertise and business acumen I have developed in four years of study on the Product Design programme in DIT have been instrumental in designing this product. I would like to thank the staff of the Product Design programme for their help and guidance over the past four years - in particular my project supervisor, Mr Keith Colton. His experience as a design engineer in a new product innovation unit of a global sportswear company was invaluable in giving my project a real-world context, and his support throughout the year made the outcome possible.”

Also representing DIT at the James Dyson Awards were a team comprised of four Product Design students -  Rachael RyanOlivia HolbrookJane Devine and Jack Griffin - who will also be moving on to the next phase of the competition. Using locally sourced materials, the team developed Tide a device designed to provide a reusable and universal menstrual health kit for refugees. In their research phase, the students interviewed women living in Direct Provision and ensured the product made sense on a practical, social and cultural level - meeting the needs and concerns of their end users. The group is currently working with Engineers without Borders and Concern Worldwide to develop the Tide kit. Read more about the Tide project click here.

Olivia Holbrook and Rachael Ryan show their Tide menstrual health toolkit

Commenting on his students’ success, Dr Colm O’Kane, Programme Chair said, "We are delighted with our students’ achievements and believe that their triumph at the James Dyson Award is a testament to the hard work they have put into their studies on the Product Design programme.  Staff from several Schools and Colleges in DIT – the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering, the Dublin School of Creatives Arts and colleagues from the School of Marketing and College of Business – have made extensive efforts to develop and deliver this cross-disciplinary programme and it is very encouraging to see our students achieving these results on a national and international stage.”

(l-r) Evan Stuart, John Walsh (Assistant Head, School of Creative Arts), Kieran Corcoran (Head, School of Creative Arts), Robert Simpson (Assistant Head, School of Mechanical and Design Engineering), Dr. Colm O’Kane (Senior Lecturer, School of Mechanical and Design Engineering and Product Design programme chair), Robert Tully (Senior Lecturer, School of Creative Arts), Olivia Holbrook, Rachael Ryan

The DIT BSc in Product Design was developed to produce graduates who can oversee the complete development cycle of a product and who are equipped with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills to work in today’s demanding design fields. It takes a holistic approach to Product Design education and is a partnership between the Schools of Mechanical and Design Engineering, Creative Arts and Marketing in DIT.  A short clip describing the programme can be found here, and more information is available here.  

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