Design Challenge


About Design Challenge     

The Design Challenge gives students from universities and university technical colleges (UTCs) a taste of ‘real world’ engineering, challenging them to design, create, present and run a device to a strict technical specification.

The Challenge enables participants to gain realistic industry experience, practical employability skills and enhanced business and people skills, all within a set time frame. It is intended to complement the academic curriculum and may be used by participants towards their official projects, or alternatively as an extra-curricular activity.

Open to teams of 2-6 students from UTCs to the final year of an undergraduate degree, there are two routes to enter the Design Challenge:

Curricular Route: Curricular teams are university-led, the Design Challenge is part of your university’s academic curriculum and is part of your teaching programme, where it typically forms part of your degree assessment. Your Academic Lead will guide you through the process of internal university qualifiers, after which the winners will go on to compete at the regional finals. You enter the Challenge using the online registration form.

Extracurricular Route: Extracurricular teams are student-led, independent of the university’s academic curriculum and the Design Challenge is not part of your teaching programme, nor is it part of your formal assessment. You can participate in the competition without an Academic Lead being assigned to you, but you will need an appropriate staff member to sign-off your safety documents. If you would like to compete as an extracurricular team, you will need to assign a Team Leader and get in touch with us at to confirm your extracurricular team status and to enable us to put you in touch with your Design Challenge regional lead who will be able to advise you of the next steps. Once your extracurricular status is confirmed with the IMechE team, you enter the Challenge using the online registration form.

Currently, we have competitions taking place in UK, China, Pakistan and UAE. We are interested in expanding to more regions or countries of the World. If you are interested please get in touch at

Competition dates

  • September 2023 – Full device specifications released
  • November 2023 - Registrations open.
  • January 2024 - Registrations close.
  • February 2024 to March 2024 - Curricular teams build their prototypes and compete with other teams in internal university qualifiers. The winners qualify to compete at the regional finals.
    Extracurricular teams qualify for the regional final automatically.
  • April 2024 to May 2024 - Regional finals currently take place in the following UK regions: GLR, Midlands, North East, North West, Wessex & Yorkshire. The regional winners are invited to compete in the national finals.
  • October 2024 - National Final takes place and the Grand Champion of Design Challenge 2023 is awarded at One Birdcage Walk, London.

The IMechE would like to extend the Design Challenge to other UK regions and if you would like to have your region involved, please get in touch at

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Design Challenge 2018

The Challenge

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