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Innovation Competition

The Rotary Club of Canterbury Innovation Competition aims to encourage youngsters to come up with innovative ideas.

The competition, which has been held for several years now, is run in association with local secondary schools and sixth-form colleges and other educational institutions, with the prizes being provided by local businesses/individuals.

The Final is usually held in Canterbury, with all youngsters that reach the Final presenting to a panel of judges. 

What should the ideas be about?

We encourage youngsters to think “out of the box” and are looking for new ideas – or even a new application of an old idea. Ideas can be on any subject, provided they fulfil the objectives set out in our rules and poster (see below). 

Youngsters might start by thinking of something that is a real problem – for example the traffic congestion in Canterbury, or perhaps some aspect of the way their school is organised – and then come up with a new way of improving things. Or they might begin by having an idea for a new device or gadget.

What type of entries have there been in the past?

There are millions of possibilities for entries. In previous years we have had ideas including flashing toy boxes (to encourage young children to be tidy), a Swiss Army makeup kit, a way of opening public toilet doors without touching the handle, a sophisticated corrective writing device for disabled people, a simple way of getting the right angle for brushing your teeth, an automatic egg cleaner for poultry sheds and an amazing water-capture system for adventurous hikers.

What if I have the same idea as others?

Inevitably, some ideas are thought of by several people. Once you have your idea, we suggest you do some research (e.g. on the internet) to see if something similar is already available, and try and explain why your idea is better. 

Who can enter?

Entries can be from individuals or a team (of not more than four people).

At the date of submission, all entrants and all members of teams must normally be attending secondary school, 6th form college or equivalent. For further eligibility criteria please see the competition rules. 

How it works:

The competition will be judged by a panel of local individuals selected by the Rotary Club of Canterbury.

Entries are made by email. 

The panel of judges then considers all the written material and decides on a shortlist, based on the initial entry and response to any written queries.

Shortlisted entrants are then invited to give a short oral/PowerPoint presentation to the panel of judges and others at the final, during which they will be asked further questions about their idea in front of the audience. All entrants are invited to, and urged to attend the judging final.

After this, the judges choose and award the winning entries.


There is a cash prize for the winner and two runners up:

  • 1st prize: £300
  • 2nd prize: £100
  • 3rd prize: £50

As in previous years, in addition, the winner of the Chowdhury Family prize (for an idea that will support Global Health) will receive a special prize of £50. (Such ideas will also be considered for the other prizes, depending on merit.)

All other presenters speaking at the final will receive a consolatory prize of a book token.

All finalists will receive a certificate of participation.

At the Final, all shortlisted participants and others attending the Final will be given advice on ways of exploiting and protecting their ideas.

How to enter:

There is no entry fee. All that is necessary is that your idea fulfils the objectives set out in our rules and poster. PLEASE read them very carefully, and make sure your entry complies with the requirements – including those about format, submission and timing.

  • Click here to download our latest rules of entry (2024) [PDF] 
  • Click here to download our latest poster (2024) [PDF] 

Please read the rules carefully for details of how to submit an entry and for the submission deadline.

For queries, please contact:

Previous Innovation Competition winners:


  • 1st prize: Sophie, Dover Grammar School for Girls – Epilepsy Smart Watch. (Also awarded Chowdhury Prize for Global Health.)
  • 2nd prize: William, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School – an app to help those with hearing issues hear alarms etc.
  • 3rd prize: Quinn, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys – VR Headset for gamers.


  • 1st prize: Toby, King Elthelbert School – Cybornetic hand. 
  • 2nd prize: Oliver, Sir Roger Manwood’s School – device to help with sensory overload.
  • 3rd prize: Ethan, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School – modular indoor wall garden.
  • Chowdhury Prize: Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School
  • Special mentions: Charlotte, QEGS – Dyslexia glasses; Jonty, QEGS – Sign language translation system.


  • 1st prize: Ellis, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys – “Terranovus” soil quality tester.
  • Joint 2nd prize:
    • Neave, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School – “H20 Foxbands” water bottle hydration reminder.
    • Wilf, Simon Langton Boys – Solar-assisted water still for water purification.
  • 3rd prize: Charles, Simon Langton Boys – “Ice Heat VI” heated window scraper.
  • Chowdhury Prize: Wilf (as above)


A special “pop-up” competition was held in place of the normal Innovation Competition. 

  • 1st prize: Amara Leeming, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham – social distance detector
  • 2nd prize: Charlotte & Holly Fletcher, Sir Roger Manwood’s School, Sandwich – dog-feeder
  • 3rd prize: Javier Gladstone Contioso, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham – trolley handle
  • Joint 4th prizes (in no particular order): Alex Sidnell, Ellie Reed, Matthew Whysall, Samuel Rumary, Thomas Oliver.


  • 1st prize: Sabrina Aime, Dover Grammar School – Tech T-shirt with a built-in heart rate sensor.
  • 2nd prize: James Kent, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham – easy-to-use transportation cradle.
  • 3rd prize: Evie Curd, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham – environmental smart phone app.
  • Special mentions: Lara Modi (Mat Master) and Lily Beckett (Needle-less blood test). 


  • 1st prize: Niamh Watts, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School for Girls, Faversham – Altruistic Watch.
  • 2nd prize: Josh Matteson, The Langton Grammar School for Boys – Pivot kitchen device.
  • 3rd prize: Eve Pryde, Sir Roger Manwood’s School – Bee Bath.
  • Special mentions: Joshua Jose, Ellie Reed and Laura Musselwhite-Dake/Chloe Nelson.


  • 1st prize: Lawrence Coomber, Simon Langton School – ‘Clip-on’ coasters.
  • 2nd prize: Oscar Cornall – Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School – ‘Easi-grip’ pegs.


  • 1st prize: Joseph Billington, Simon Langton School – underwater goggle and nose clip attachment.
  • 2nd prize: Elliott Palmer & Harri Roblin, Simon Langton School – USB+, a USB storage stick with small screen.


  • 1st prize: Anna Blandford, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School – ‘Kuti Cube’ toy storage device.
  • 2nd prize: Tom Jefferies, Joe McInally, Jack Watts and Sam Pritchard, Simon Langton School – teeth and gum cleaning device.


  • 1st prize: Verity Jones, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School – Swiss army makeup kit.




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The Rotary Club of Canterbury
St Lawrence Cricket Ground
Old Dover Road,
Canterbury, Kent,
CT1 3NZ,
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