Blackwood Design Awards


A celebration of a decade of innovation - where great design meets independent living.

Launched a decade ago, in 2013, as the Blackwood Student Design Competition, the Blackwood Design Awards are now an annual fixture, attracting innovations and inventions from tech hubs, universities, and a host of other sources from across the world.

Previous winners have delivered vital life aids for people who are ageing or have disabilities, including an app that makes living spaces safer for people with dementia and a ‘spill-proof’ spoon for those affected by conditions which cause them to shake.

Past winners have included the Mountain Trike, the eye controlled wheelchair (Winner 2014 pictured above, designer Kirubin Pillay with Fanchea Kelly and Colin Foskett) and the S’up Spoon. It’s not about being high tech; it’s about making the biggest impact on people’s independence.

Previous Winner

“We’re incredibly grateful to Blackwood and the panel for choosing our design as the winner as it gave our product a major boost. Take it from us – it truly is an incredible opportunity.” Grant Douglas, Designer of the S’up Spoon, winner of the Blackwood Design Awards 2015

The S'up Spoon is now widely available and is on permanent display in the iconic V&A Design Museum in Dundee.

Last year’s winners from the three categories were as follows:

Best New Aid, Equipment or Tech

Koalaa by Nate Macabuag, who is based in London and, with his team, makes comfortable and affordable prosthetics available to people worldwide. They’re also fundraising to be able to provide free prosthetics to children under-18 and have already provided over 300. 

Best New Concept

Inclusivitea Innovative Kettle by Nick Fitzpatrick from Edinburgh, who studied product design at the University of Dundee. Inspired by his grandmother, his innovatively designed kettle makes it easier for people with visual impairments, dexterity impairments and reduced strength to operate a kettle. 

Best Collaborative Project by a University or Institute of Higher Education 

Electrical Plug Design by Charlie Wilson and the University of Strathclyde. Charlie’s plug works through a pushing motion, rather than the standard pulling, to make it easier for people with arthritis to get plugs in and out of sockets without needing grip strength. 


  1. Best New Concept (with prize money of £2,000) 
  2. Best New Aids, Equipment, or Accessible Technology (already accessible on the market) 
  3. Best Collaborative Project (by a University or Institute of Higher Learning) 

Simon Fitzpatrick, CEO at Blackwood Homes and Care, said: “This is a special competition that brings positive change to people’s lives and we see it first-hand with our customers, who are at the heart of everything we do at Blackwood.

During the past decade, we’ve seen impactful inventions that have enhanced independent living, which is something we’re extremely passionate about.

“We welcome more talented entrants this time around and we also look forward to the next 10 years of impressive innovation created through the Blackwood Design Awards.”