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For the RCA Grand Challenge 2020/21: Design for Safety mixed disciplinary teams of students from across the School of Design were given just over four weeks to develop design responses that explore, challenge or improve the practice of Design for Safety.
The teams worked under one of seven sub-themes: Leadership, Care, Next Generation Interaction, Futures, Truth, Health and Resilience.

One team from each sub-theme has been shortlisted to present their concept to a panel of judges, with the winners being announced next month. Read on to find out more about the finalists’ projects.

Leadership: The Shift

The Shift

The Shift is an immersive, collaborative and interactive virtual reality experience that enables people to learn about leadership from nature's perspective.

Sanna Emelie Ågren (MA Design Products), Shanti Bell (MA Fashion), Emma Freeman (MA/MSc Global Innovation Design), Ryan McClure (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering), Lily Way (MA Textiles)

“[Being a finalist] shows that you are on the right path to doing something that could potentially have an impact.”

Ryan McClure Student, MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering

Care: Inaya


Inaya introduces celebration as a fundamental part of care systems by integrating it into the medical journey of the patient.

Suzanna James (MA Textiles), Célia Marchessaux (MA Design Products), Emre Kayganacı (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering), Shruti Agerwala (MA Service Design), Justin Tsang (MA Intelligent Mobility)

“To present a single design concept in four weeks was a huge challenge.”

Suzanna James Student, MA Textiles

New Generation Interactions: The Yellow Box

The Yellow Box

The Yellow Box is a unified, universal public mental health safety infrastructure - from education, to signage, behavioural nudges, digital experiences and crisis response.

Alicia (Lissy) Hatfield (MA Textiles), Louise Skajem (MA/MSc Global Innovation Design), Cheng Chang (MA Design Products), Josef Pacal (MA/MSc Global Innovation Design), Swathi Muralidharan (MA Service Design).

“We envisioned the next generation's mental health as a global issue.”

Lissy Hatfield MA Textiles

Futures: AccuM.


AccuM. will change the future of recycling e-waste by harnessing metallophyte plants, which can tolerate high levels of heavy metals, to mine rare metals from discarded electronic appliances. This will simultaneously reduce consumption of rare metals and solve landfill problems.

Yihan Bian (MA Design Products), Chunchen Liu (MA Fashion), Lijun Chu (MA Service Design), Lianyi Chen (MA Textiles)

“We think design for safety means design for human plus design for environment.”

Lianyi Chen Student, MA Service Design

Truth: VIYU


Everyone should have data about the air pollution in the area they live. By democratising localised air pollution information and raising awareness about its impact on public health VIYU aims to put pressure on leaders to take action.

Maria Nava Melgar (MA Fashion), Sarah Dodge (MA/MSc Global Innovation Design), Hemal Dias (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering), Aidan Griffiths (MA Intelligent Mobility), Olivia Wilkinson (MA Textiles)

“We started by having a look at places where misinformation or lack of information was causing harm to people.”

Hemel Dias Student, MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering

Health: Mission to Yamal Peninsula

Mission to Yamal Peninsula

Mission to Yamal Peninsula aims to raise public awareness of permafrost thawing and hopes to reduce the potential threat to human health from pathogens in permafrost by building a new system for active groups in this region.

Cheng Qian (MA Intelligent Mobility), HengYao (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering), Yefei Liu (MA Design Products), Qing Liu (MA Service Design), Yutong Fu (MA Design Products)

“We are going to use design as a tool to save the world. It's really exciting for us!”

Yefei Liu Student, MA Design Products

Resilience: MOWO


Through the combination of an app, female drivers and ticketing regulation MOWO aims to make buses a safer environment for women travelling to and from their jobs in Lima, Peru, where a high proportion of women experience sexual assault on public transport.

Zhuyin Xu (MA Textiles), Kelly Holder (MA Intelligent Mobility), Georgia Mackenzie (MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering), Ilayda Kal (MA/MSc Global Innovation Design), Kaelan O'Neill (MA Fashion)

“I thought to myself, this is what I could do for the rest of my life, work in a sector like this.”

Georgia Mackenzie Student, MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering

The RCA Grand Challenge 2020/21 is sponsored by Logitech.

Thinking about studying with us? Find out more about the School of Design and how to apply.