Finalists announced for 2018 Innovation in Plastics competition

Students from universities all around the UK and Ireland have created innovative new products to make gardening easier, as they contest the 2018 Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition.

From an original submission of more than 140 entries, six have been selected to contest the final of the competition, which is organised by the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining and the Worshipful Company of Horners, and headline sponsored by Covestro, with support from market leaders in design and innovation.

The competition brief, Branching Out – Design For Garden Innovation, challenged students to design an innovative product, primarily from plastics, that will better connect people with nature, enhancing the pleasure of gardening or leisure activities within the garden, or by helping to sooth mind and body after a long and stressful day.

After two days of sifting through a fascinating variety of entries, the judges have whittled the entries down to the final six:

  • Syeda Fatima Abedi Manji, De Montfort University: Gingko – a planter for urban spaces designed specifically with children in mind to help their development and promote the joy of gardening.
  • Olivia Alexander, De Montfort University: Buzz – A bee friendly planter that administers an anti-mite chemical directly to the bees.
  • Lewis Brown, Teeside University: Dynamic Grip – an ergonomic garden multi-tool targeting gardeners with arthritis.
  • Zeina Mofti, Brunel University: G Cycle – a product which combines modern indoor gardening with home aquariums to enhance wellbeing, by providing a calm and relaxing environment.
  • William Oughton, Brunel University: Bulb Garden Furniture – a set of garden accessories designed to enhance and add function to unattractive fencing.
  • Alex Roquero, Brunel University: Hook – a portable balcony shelf which hooks to any kind of railing, thereby optimising space in reduced areas.

The students have now been asked to read the judges’ comments, and refine their entries, ready for presenting their products for final judging in a day of further scrutiny and interviews on May 25. From those, the overall winner will be decided and the result announced at a ceremony in London on July 6.

Chairman of the judges, Richard Brown, managing director of RJG Technologies Ltd, said: “The way the students interpreted the subject varied tremendously and it challenged the judges to compare some very diverse solutions, ranging from nature to leisure.

“Many entries let themselves down by not adhering to the brief, which asked them to provide a product while having due regard to intellectual property and prior art, manufacturability and materials. However there were some ingenious proposals and it’s clear the design talent from our universities is strong and far reaching.

“We have six very good finalists and we wait to see how their designs evolve in the next few weeks before they present their products for final judging.

Design engineer, Mike Stuart, formerly of Covestro, added: “Our six finalists have products which have been well thought out.  They will need further development and refinement, particularly regarding manufacturing and costings, and one or two clearly have potential for adding extra features to widen their appeal.  We are very excited about the potential of some of these products and are looking forward to the final judging, when we will see how their prototypes work.”

The prestigious Design Innovation in Plastics Award is the longest running student plastics design competition in Europe, having been established in 1985.