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© Jonas Kathan

The 16th James Dyson Award will be given out this year to celebrate and promote the next generation of design talent. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the year 2020 saw more than 1,700 young designers and inventors from 27 countries enter the competition – the highest number so far – with submissions addressing issues such as microplastic pollution and coral reef damage. The national winners have now been presented in the lead-up to the announcement of the overall winner.

The competition for Germany was won by Jonas Kathan from Berlin, whose project “Lift” was a stick that not only helps its user walk, but also get up again. Thanks to its unique shape, “Lift” can be quickly and safely placed on walls and tables or in the car. Its elegant appearance is intended to help increase the social acceptance of mobility aids. In the United Kingdom, the winning entry was a solution that aims to reduce the microplastic pollution in the air caused by car tyres. The Tyre Collective (Siobhan Anderson, Hanson Cheng, M. Deepak Mallaya and Hugo Richardson) consists of an appliance that fits any of a car’s tyres and captures the microscopic particles released when driving. It works by attracting and capturing the tiny bits of matter through electrostatic and the air flows that are generated around a spinning wheel.

Other award-winning projects include, for example, recycled ceramics in India, a beehive for wild native black bees in Ireland and, in Switzerland, a system that helps stabilise and cool down beached whales and return them to the sea. Each national winner is receiving GBP 2,000. They will subsequently proceed to the competition’s international stage, where a jury of Dyson engineers will select the top 20 from among all the finalists. James Dyson will then determine the winner of the international award and the sustainability prize from that shortlist.

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