Education & Career

AES Student Design Competition Rules





Effective August 2016

Click here download the PDF version of the rules and policies.

    1. Introduction
    2. Categories
    3. Eligibility
    4. Student Design Competition Exhibition
      • 4.1. Poster Requirements
    5. Online Submission Procedures
    6. Awards & Prizes 

1: Introduction 

The AES Student Design Competition is an opportunity for aspiring hardware and software engineers to participate in a worldwide contest during AES Conventions and gain recognition for their hard work, technical creativity, and ingenuity. If you wish to participate as an individual or a group, a faculty advisor must recommend your project to represent your school in either the Undergraduate or Graduate category. This should be the faculty advisor of your AES student section if one exists at your school or a trusted faculty member from your school if you are a student member of AES enrolled where a section does not exist. For example, students who are members of AES regional student sections including the majority of regions outside North America, will have approval handled at their school by a trusted faculty advisor to ensure each school is appropriately represented.

Students from both audio and non-audio backgrounds are encouraged to submit entries. Few restrictions are placed on the nature of the projects, but designs must be for use with audio. Examples include loudspeaker design, DSP plug-ins, analog hardware, signal analysis tools, mobile applications, sound synthesis devices, and workflow solutions. Products should represent new, original ideas implemented in working-model prototypes. 

It is important to note that multiple students or groups from a school can submit their projects. Every approved project that is approved at the Student Delegate Assembly's discretion will compete in the Student Design Competition Exhibition (discussed further in section 4). Students who are not competing are strongly encouraged to attend the Student Design Competition Exhibition. This is a learning opportunity for all students through feedback, constructive criticism, and conversation between those who are entered in the competition as well as those attending the exhibition.


2: Categories

1) Undergraduate Level (For students pursuing a Bachelor's Degree or Associate's Degree)  

2) Graduate Level (For student pursuing a Master's Degree or a PhD/Doctorate)


3: Eligibility

To participate in the AES Design Competition, you must:

    1. Be a current Student Member of the Audio Engineering Society. Join at Please note that fees vary by region.
    2. Design and construct the project while you are a student affiliated with a college audio, software design, or engineering program.
    3. Be approved by your faculty advisor as the sole representative / group for your project.
    4. Register for a 4 day ALL ACCESS BADGE for the Convention Technical Program.
    5. Submit your project description electronically according to the submission guidelines prior to the deadline.
    6. Attend the convention in person.

It is the responsibility of each student to ensure eligibility which must be maintained throughout the Design Competition. If a project is designed by a team of students all team members must, at minimum, also be enrolled students affiliated with the same university audio program which will be verified by the faculty advisor. To present as a team at a convention all team members must meet the complete eligibility criteria above. Violation of these rules will result in disqualification. Late entries will not be accepted under any circumstance 

Once a project is submitted to an AES Student Design Competition, it is disqualified from future competitions. This also means submitting revised or modified designs of a previously submitted project is prohibited. Additionally, the submission has to be conceived as a student project. It must not have been developed with the goal of being marketed as a commercial product in affiliation with a company providing funding.

The Student Delegate Assembly reserves the right to disqualify entries that are submitted into the incorrect category or that otherwise violate the criteria listed above. 

4: Student Design Competition Exhibition

Prior to the AES Convention, project descriptions are read by the Student Delegate Assembly. SDA Officers examine the student's work to check that all rules are followed, and all work is original before forwarding the descriptions to the judges, usually four weeks before the Convention. Over the following weeks, judges will have the opportunity to form preliminary evaluations of each project. You can check the status of your project's approval on the submission system.

Students of all approved project descriptions will compete in the Student Design Competition Exhibition. This takes the form of a Poster Session during the Convention, where you may discuss, explain, and demonstrate your design. Judges will have your project description and corresponding AES member number, and will navigate the exhibition and evaluate your work and you presentation. This being said, all entrants are required to bring a poster board, and any equipment necessary to conduct their demonstrations. 

Projects will be judged on the basis of originality, creativity, usability and interface design, and context within currently available technology. Make sure your design is new, exciting, and practical!

4.1 Poster Requirements

All entrants are required to prepare a poster in the event that they are chosen as a finalist. Tri-fold posters are recommended, and should reasonably large. A poster should be able to stand alone, that is, be understandable even if the product designers are not present to explain, discuss, or answer questions.

Content might include, but is not limited to:

    1. Heading (design name, designer(s), field of importance)
    2. Short description, significance
    3. Assumptions, key terms, and important limitations
    4. Background information, summary of prior work, theoretical foundation
    5. Construction documentation, block diagrams, sketches, photos
    6. Results, supporting data, graphs, tables, etc. (self-contained figure captions are 

As a part of the display, entrants are also required to exhibit or demonstrate their design along with their poster. Please bring any equipment necessary for your presentation. Standard European power (240V/50Hz) will be provided. Please contact the Student Delegate Assembly if you have any extra requirements, and we will accommodate to the best of our abilities.

This event will be open to all convention attendees holding a full-program badge, allowing students, educators, and industry professionals to learn about every Design Competition submission. Potential employers may be browsing the floor, searching for the next generation of product engineers! 


5: Online Submission Procedures

1) Create a 4-8 page write up describing your project and communicating your design to the judges. You may use any combination of diagrams, schematics, code blocks, and text. Save your file as "membernumber_category.pdf". For example. "12345_undergraduate.pdf".

2) Templates in both Latex and Word are provided .

3) Registration & File Upload 
Visit Select the appropriate competition, select the appropriate category, and enter the required information. After submitting the entry form, use the online file upload tool to submit your project description. 


6: Awards & Prizes

Judges may recognize outstanding projects by conferring merit awards of Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Honorable Mention. Any combination of awards is permitted, as long as it does not exceed four awards per category. Awards will be presented to the finalists at the second meeting of the Student Delegate Assembly (SDA-2) on the final day of the convention.

Prizes may be presented to competition awardees upon or following the receipt of achievement certificates. The selection of these items will vary based on the generosity and intentions of competition sponsors. Students should not expect to receive prizes in addition to their honorary certificates, which represent an extraordinary accomplishment of which awardees should be extremely proud.

Prize distribution shall occur at the discretion of the AES Education Committee, which reserves the right to assign prizes to individuals or their respective institutions based on the number and value of available items, the intentions of the donating sponsors, the number of competition awardees, the number of participants per entry, and the levels of recognition received.


Please direct all questions, comments, and concerns to the Student Delegate Assembly at


[*] The availability of the Student Design Competition submission system from 120 days prior to a convention will not be in effect until Fall 2015. 

AES - Audio Engineering Society