Autodesk’s Design for Industry Challenge

I had the chance to discuss Autodesk initiatives in the educational arena recently with Torie Anderson, Senior Manager of Strategic Partners & Initiatives, Autodesk Education Experiences. Autodesk is constantly rolling out new opportunities for students all over the planet. The latest challenge illustrates that.

In this Q&A, Torie discusses Design for Industry, an Autodesk initiative aimed at connecting students with industry professionals. Autodesk is currently in the process of wrapping up the Design for Space challenge—the first in the series of challenges, bringing students from 70 countries to a common platform to demonstrate their skills to industry.

Through this program, students will gain access to a wealth of resources to build their proficiency, including Autodesk Fusion 360, the 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool that connects an entire project development process in a single, cloud-based platform.

AUGI: Why did Autodesk start this initiative?

T. A.: We’re focused on connecting students with industry professionals to help the next generation of engineers, designers, and architects build real-life design skills necessary for future careers. With Design for Industry, partners gain access to future employees and can leverage the program to test uses for Autodesk software and tools.

AUGI: What does Autodesk hope to achieve with students?

T. A.: Autodesk continues to empower students to learn skills and use the tools necessary for future employment. Additionally, Design for Industry seeks to engage a wealth of students across seventy countries to participate in challenges against their peers for access to industry professionals and other incentives.

Industry professionals and experts will engage students through webinars, videos, and more to help them to understand the demand for these critical skills required to transition well to industry, which helps prepare them for their future careers.

AUGI: What skills are you testing and what are you looking for from entries/designs?

T. A.: Industry professionals will participate as judges to select winners based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation and Inventiveness: The design “pushes the envelope” and enhances user experience.
  • Software Skills: Degree of technical skill demonstrated and quality of design submitted based on technical requirements.
  • Suitability to Purpose: Degree to which the design is useful and suited to serving its purpose well, providing a positive user experience.
  • Creativity: Degree to which the entry reflects cleverness and originality of thought to support the challenge which adds value.

AUGI: How can entering help the careers of young engineers?

T. A.: Industry professionals and experts engage students through webinars, videos, and more to help them to understand the demand for these critical skills required to transition well to industry, which helps prepare them for their future careers.

AUGI: How do students get involved?

T. A.: Interested students can sign up through the Design for Industry website,

AUGI: Is this focused only on engineering students?

T. A.: While the initial Design for Industry challenges support students in engineering and industrial design fields, as the program continues, the scope will be broadened to support additional disciplines in postsecondary and secondary education (mostly high school students in secondary).

AUGI: Can you provide some real world stories of students interacting with industry leaders/designers?

T. A.: The first challenge is currently wrapping up and winners were just announced. They will be provided connections with industry leaders and designers coming up soon; stay tuned!

AUGI: Is the software provided to students for free? Is the software training provided, also?

T. A.: Autodesk provides students, educators, and schools with free access to the tools and content they need to unlock their creativity, cultivate a love for design, and prepare for successful careers in design. Beyond our free software for educators and students, we also offer the Autodesk Design Academy: a constantly growing collection of lessons, projects, and courses that help educators support students as they develop technical skills and creative confidence; this can be accessed at

AUGI: What was the last competition and who were the winners? Awards? Prizes?

T. A.: Autodesk is just wrapping up its first Design for Industry challenge—Design for Space.

The challenge: You have been hired by a space agency to assist in collecting Vanguard 1, an out-of-commission satellite launched in 1958. Your mission is to design a cube satellite using the CubeSat standard considering deployable components necessary to secure or de-orbit the Vanguard 1 as part of a salvage mission for posterity. It is up to you to determine the best way to secure the Vanguard 1 by designing components that will fit within the defined dimensions of a cube satellite and for transport in space. Remember, once the satellite deploys, components may need to expand beyond the confines of the defined CubeSat standard dimensions.

Winners have been announced (see below). Awards for top designs include cash prizes and virtual mentoring sessions with a judge: NASA astronaut, Yvonne Cagle; co-inventor of the CubeSat standard and CalPoly engineering professor, Jordi Puig-Suari; or Field Ready principle designer and co-founder, Dara Dotz.

AUGI: Is there another competition coming?

T. A.: More Design for Industry challenges are in the works, including initiatives aimed at designing for home and office and automotive. Partner companies to be announced soon.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Autodesk Design for Space challenge.

1st - Sharath Naik


2nd - Samuel Froeschke


3rd - Christopher Scarborough

United States

4th - Teja Balu


5th - Joy Mukherjee


6th - Juan Sepulveda

United States

7th - Varun Raj


8th - Ishaan Mehta


9th - Brian McCann

United States

10th - Archi Saeed


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