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Call for entries of 3D Pioneers Challenge 2021: a paradigm shift

Highest endowed AM Award with more than € 35,000 prize money

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The largest international design competition of its kind for advanced manufacturing is launching for the sixth time and bundles as an innovation monitor for the latest developments in the AM industry. The competition has a special feature in the context of “3DPC & Friends”.

The 3D Pioneers Challenge will once again take place as part of Rapid.Tech 3D, which will focus on its brand core as a user-focused trade congress in 2021.

3DPC 2021 Focus: A Paradigm Shift

We are facing challenges that our generation has never experienced before—the world is upside down. Society is changing—we are searching and finding solutions to find our way in a “New Normal”.

It is in our nature to reflect, to rethink many things. What is essential—what is superfluous? What is sustainable—what can or must we improve? What if …?

Change gives room for new ideas—room for new technologies.

Digital processes and advanced technologies are taking their place in the holistic life cycle of products, pushing the seemingly unlimited possibilities. Sustainable strategies and forward-looking concepts are becoming an essential need.

The 3D Pioneers Challenge 2021 is looking for the creative minds and innovators that make the future such as students, start-ups and companies who help shape the “Paradigm Shift” and gives them the platform to present their visions and products to the general public in the verticals of Design, Digital, Architecture, Material, FashionTech, MedTech, Mobility, Sustainability and Electronic.

An example of a contestant's entry from previous competitions.
An example of a contestant’s entry from previous competitions.

Participants can look forward to a prize money of €35,000, kindly supported by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society. The 3D Pioneers Challenge is one of the world’s most highly endowed design competitions for innovation in Additive Manufacturing processes.

The main prize winner is overall awarded the 3DPC Trophy. This limited edition design object, created especially for the 3DPC, was developed in cooperation with jury member Ross Lovegrove and Hyperganic, winner of 3DPC 2019 Digital as well as the partner Materialise.

In 2021, the 3DPC goes a significant step further and surprises with a special feature: “The 3D Pioneers Challenge stands for holistic innovations. As part of “3DPC & Friends”, we were able to get nTopology on board, the winner of the “3DPC 2020 Digital”, to provide their platform for pioneering design- and engineering software free of charge. Those who want can use this innovative tool to realize ideas and concepts for the competition in 2021. During the course of the award, nTop will also provide accompanying training material. 3DPC is thus hooked into the process chain early on – we are pleased that we are able to further advance the step towards enabler and education”, explains the organizers Simone and Christoph Völcker.

Participants also have the prospect of winning the following prizes and awards:

With the Special Mention by Autodesk, the Autodesk Technology Centers will award an opportunity to three winners to join the Autodesk Outsight Network – a global community of industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and researchers building future-focused technology in design, AEC, manufacturing, and more that is destined to change our world.

The “Best Student Project” will be rewarded with the SKETCH 3D Printer by Makerbot.

As prizes in the field of software, nTopology will award nTop Full version licenses to two winners across all categories.

With the book prizes from 3D Hubs and av edition, the publisher for architecture and design, the prizes in 2021 amount to a total value of over €70,000.

Due to the pandemic, the 3DPC, as a pioneer in the industry, held the award ceremony virtually for the first time in 2020. The digital concept received a convincingly high response, which is why the organizers are once again relying on the global reach and offering all participants and interested parties the chance to attend the award ceremony live.

The 3DPC has established a remarkable network over the years, from which the top-class expert jury is made up. Pioneeringly, the significant proportion of women in the industry is also reflected in the jury.

Sonita Lontoh from HP as well as Sonja Rasch from Materialise are part of the panel. Jury members such as Dr. Dirk Simon from Farsoon Europe, Frank Beckmann from Fraunhofer IAPT or Dr. Justus Bobke from Verband 3DDruck e.V. also come from the cooperation partners. The focus on Design and Architecture will be covered by the German Design Council with Lutz Dietzold or Patrik Schumacher from Zaha Hadid Architects as well as the designer Ross Lovegrove. The FashionTech category is represented by the pioneer Jasna Rokegem from Belgium or Anna Wilhelmi from the adidas Future Team. In the verticals of MedTech and Material, Dr. Cora Lüders-Theuerkauf from Medical goes Additive e.V., Andreas Velten from IFA3D Medical Solutions, and Prof. Shlomo Magdassi from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will be supporting. Prof. Mareike Gast from Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle and State Secretary Valentina Kerst from the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society will complete the jury-team in 2021.

All information for participants, the documents as well as the online application and registration can be found at:

Participation is free of charge for students and young professionals.

Deadline 31 March 2021

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Adam Strömbergsson

Adam is a legal researcher and writer with a background in law and literature. Born in Montreal, Canada, he has spent the last decade in Ottawa, Canada, where he has worked in legislative affairs, law, and academia. Adam specializes in his pursuits, most recently in additive manufacturing. He is particularly interested in the coming international and national regulation of additive manufacturing. His past projects include a history of his alma mater, the University of Ottawa. He has also specialized in equity law and its relationship to judicial review. Adam’s current interest in additive manufacturing pairs with his knowledge of historical developments in higher education, copyright and intellectual property protections.

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