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A new student design competition is aiming to raise awareness of the everyday challenges faced by people with spinal cord injuries.

Mobility and accessibility product designers are being invited to design a product to help transform the lives of those living with a spinal cord injury.

Designs must be new, unique, practical and meet the user’s needs. The product can be simple, such as a newer, easier way of accomplishing an everyday task, or it can be something more complex, such as a re-imagining of a common household appliance.

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Law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, which acts for people with spinal cord injuries, is organising the competition in collaboration with Cerebra, a charity that helps children with brain conditions. The firm hopes that its ‘Design the Change’ competition will encourage innovation to assist those with spinal cord injuries.

Victoria Oliver, Head of the Spinal Injury Team at Bolt Burdon Kemp, said: “We want to see the world made fully accessible and we think design plays a crucial role in making that happen.

“Through my work as a solicitor in the Spinal Injury team I have seen, first-hand, the difference well-designed products can make to the life of someone with a spinal cord injury.

“The right product can take a previously challenging or impossible task and turn it back into a simple everyday activity that can be done without planning or assistance. I cannot wait to see the designs the students come up with.”

It is hoped that the competition will not only raise awareness among students about mobility and accessibility challenges for people with spinal injuries but help promote a keener understanding of the importance of inclusivity.

The winning entry will receive £3,000 with an additional £2,000 being awarded to the winning team’s university and the chance of a week-long work placement at Cerebra’s research centre. The closing date for entries is 23 April 2021.

This competition is open to individual students and teams of up to four – undergraduates or postgraduates – from any higher education institution, college or university in the UK.

Entries will be judged by a panel, including a variety of experts specialised in the field of spinal cord injury and product design and a representative from Cerebra.

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