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'Design for life' take creative Northumbria students to final of national competition

5th June 2015

Two Northumbria University students have reached the finals of the prestigious Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) awards thanks to their innovative designs.

Megan Cattley, a second year Design for Industry student, and Robert Miller, a second year Product Design Engineering student, are two out of seven shortlisted finalists from 118 entries submitted by students from all around the UK. The annual competition is the longest established student plastics design award scheme in Europe.

The award, organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3) and the Worshipful Company of Horners, promotes innovative design and seeks bright young designers of the future. Students were asked to replace a traditional metal, with the next generation of product using polymers, with both Megan and Robert impressing the judging panel with their designs. Megan produced degradable eye surgical equipment, while Robert created a Polymer TV antenna with improved design, functionality and sustainability.

Both Northumbria students have reached the final round of judging, where they will present their designs and creations to a panel of industry experts. The winner is set to be announced on 3 July and will go on to a placement with one of the world’s largest producers of polymers and high-performance plastics, Bayer MaterialScience in Leverkusen, Germany. In addition to this, they will also receive a cash prize of £1,000 and a work placement at PriestmanGoode, the leading global design and brand experience agency specialising in aviation, transport and product design.

Senior Lecturer in Design for Industry, Simon Scott-Harden, said: “Around 6 million people are blinded due to Trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness and around 150 million are in need of treatment. Megan has shown great awareness of what is needed in developing countries. With thorough in-depth research into the problem, Megan was able to identify an interesting design opportunity to produce a solution that can really help to alleviate suffering.”

Chris Connor, programme leader for the Product Design Engineering programme said: “It is vitally important that our students have an opportunity to engage with the wider world of engineering and design outside of their academic environment, and taking part in presitigious competitions such as this is an important way of achiecing this in order to enhance their University experience and employability.”

To find out more about our Design courses, register for Northumbria’s Open Days on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 June at

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