The Institution of Mechanical Engineers and software company Autodesk have agreed a partnership to support the Design Challenge, the Institution’s fastest growing competition for engineering students.

The partnership is marked by the launch of a new website for the 2021 Design Challenge, built with support from Autodesk.

The Design Challenge brings together thousands of engineering students from universities across the UK who compete using their creativity and technical skills to solve a specific engineering problem.

“The Design Challenge emulates a real-life design and manufacture problem, including briefs, specifications, rules, teams and deadlines. It’s a fantastic challenge that prepares and tests students under pressurised situations,” said Autodesk Education Manager, Steven Parkinson.

Design Challenge 2021 will bring together teams of first and second-year university students to follow a system engineering process to develop, build and test a repeatable vehicle that could be used for bulk materials handling purposes. The competition is also supported by industry partners Mercedes AMG HPP and data storage company Mashoom.

The Challenge gives participants the chance to develop their engineering knowledge, soft skills and practical abilities with a real-world project. As a result, competitors gain direct experience of working in a team on an engineering project, making them highly desirable graduates to industry.

The Steering Group Chair Dr David Ball noted, “The competition covers the key requirements of a professional engineer and gives the students an insight into what will be expected of them when they graduate.”

Mark Galea, a member of the Brunel University London team that won the 2019 National Final, added, “The Design Challenge is an excellent competition which allowed me and my teammates to apply all we had learned so far from our studies.”

Teams taking part in this year’s competition will also be able to access a portfolio of tools across the entire Autodesk Fusion 360 platform. Participants will apply the most modern technology such as generative design, in order to devise innovative solutions.

The Autodesk Fusion 360 platform creates a dynamic network, with an integrated platform that connects the entire product development and manufacturing ecosystem with a central, cloud-based model, eliminating the friction between people, activities and machines, so teams can collaborate seamlessly, and spend more time on innovation than iteration.

If you are a first/second year university student or an academic lead, be sure to visit the newly launched Design Challenge website to download the updated rules and technical specification documents, ahead of submitting your team information by the registration deadline of 15 November 2020.

Notes to Editors

  • Contact the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Press Office on 07713565683 or email if you would like more information.
  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It is one of the fastest growing professional engineering institutions. Headquartered in London, we have operations around the world and over 120,000 members in more than 140 countries working at the heart of the most important and dynamic industries such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries.
  • Autodesk makes software for people who make things. If you’ve ever driven a high-performance car, admired a towering skyscraper, used a smartphone, or watched a great film, chances are you’ve experienced what millions of Autodesk customers are doing with our software. Autodesk gives you the power to make anything. For more information visit or follow @autodesk.

Autodesk is a registered trademark of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.

© 2020 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.

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