Audi Design Foundation funds sustainable designs

The Audi Design Foundation is to begin offering financial help to some of its former beneficiaries, in order to further their sustainable designs.

The Designs of Substance scheme takes British students to deprived areas of the world, where they are challenged to develop sustainable design solutions for local people.

Six product design students, three of whom benefited from the scheme in 2005 and three in 2007, will receive grants totalling between £30 000 and £60 000 to help get their ideas into production.

In 2005, Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication students Ben Feldman and Helen Wintermeyer and Nottingham Trent student Panos Vasilou were taken to Kylisha in South Africa. Feldman’s beeswax clean stove fuel, Wintermeyer’s multi-purpose wall hanging and Vasilou’s water-purifying pots are projects that will receive grants to be developed this year.

This year, Ravensbourne College students Maki Okawara and Max Frommeld and Kingston University student Nirmal Menon travelled to Mdanstane in South Africa. Frommeld’s laundry plunger, Okawara’s security barrier and Menon’s anti-leaking device for paraffin stoves will also benefit from development grants.

‘We have great hopes for the blanket and beeswax clean fuel and the other projects,’ says Audi Design Foundation manager Rebecca Edge. ‘Once we’ve been able to demonstrate use in one community, we will try to work with non-governmental organisations to disseminate the ideas into others.

‘We really hope that there will be a roll-out of these initiatives, with the help of the local councils,’ she added.

The foundation has also announced that it is donating £80 000 to support three medical and inclusive design projects this year, under its other funding programme, Designs for Life.

A £35 722 grant was awarded to product designer Philip Greer and a team from the Royal College of Art for their ‘tongue sucker’. The suction device enables people without medical training to clear the airways of accident victims.

University of Strathclyde postgraduate student Leona Morten will receive a grant of £14 960 to advance her lightweight and recyclable prosthetic limb design.

The final grant of £30 577 was awarded to wheelchair charity Motivation for its low-cost sports wheelchair design.

All three will be funded to the prototype stage of development.

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