Craig M. Berge Design Day Awards

Craig M. Berge Design Day showcases the yearlong efforts of UA engineering seniors on projects largely sponsored by industry. The prototypes designed and built by students and displayed on Design Day feature a wide range of solutions to real-world engineering questions. Student teams will compete for corporate- and private-sponsored cash prizes that reward innovation and excellence in engineering design.

View our 2021 Awards ceremony and check out the 2021 video project presentations!

2021 awards listed below and will be updated for 2022 in early spring. If interested in sponsoring an award, please contact

Craig M. Berge Dean’s Award for Most Outstanding Project ($7,500)

This award recognizes the project that embodies the best attributes of engineering design and the engineering profession.  The winning project shall have an outstanding design approach and implementation, excellent system modeling and/or analysis that support the design, comprehensive system testing that verifies system requirements, and a superior presentation of results to Design Day judges.  Team members of the winning project shall present themselves professionally and clearly demonstrate engineering knowledge of the design.  The winning project shall clearly be the best project at Design Day.

Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design ($5,000)

While several designs may meet the judging criteria, this award is given to the design that does so the most effectively. The project that receives this award excels in many ways. The design is well thought out and its implementation is of high quality. It accomplishes all key design requirements and is supported by rigorous analysis and testing. Its poster and presentation are professional and easy to understand.

Ball Aerospace for Best System Software Design ($2,500)

Software has become a critical part of the operation, management and control of complex systems comprising mechanical, electrical, electronic and biomechanical elements and other components and subsystems. As a result, software has become an integral part of the design of complex systems. This award recognizes the best use of software in the process of designing systems for operation, management, control and usability. Teams will be judged on the reliability, robustness, maintainability, reusability, originality and testability of software embedded in their designs.

ACSS, an L3Harris and Thales Joint Venture Award for Most Robust Systems Engineering ($2,500)

The Systems Engineering perspective is based on systems thinking.  When a system is considered as a combination of system elements, systems thinking acknowledges the primacy of the whole (system) and the primacy of the relation of the interrelationships of the system elements to the whole. This award goes to the team that most robustly addresses all aspects of the project from the systems perspective.

RBC Sargent Aerospace & Defense Voltaire Design Award ($2,000)

The French philosopher Voltaire is credited with the saying “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien,” which means “the best is the enemy of the good.” Similarly, Leonardo da Vinci is credited with the saying “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This award recognizes the design team that best emulates these ideals and resists the temptation to overly complicate the design to yield a clean, simple, elegant, lowest-cost design that simply works well.

Bly Family Award for Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use (1st prize $2,000; 2nd prize $1,000)

This award recognizes the best project related to sustainable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy production, distribution or use. Winning projects could focus on developing new energy sources, reducing energy costs, improving efficiency or reducing cost of energy distribution, adapting existing energy distribution methods to better integrate new energy sources, and increasing efficiency of energy use.

II-VI Aerospace & Defense Award for Best Optical Systems Design ($1,500)

This award recognizes the most innovative use of optoelectronics and optomechanics in a design and is given to the team that demonstrates the most thorough approach to the design and engineering of its optical system. This award recognizes complete understandings of the optical design, system requirements, tolerance analysis, and optical component usage. Important criteria are integration of optics into the overall system, novel use of optical components, creative use of commercial off-the-shelf items, verification of optical components, meeting system requirements, use of standard optical design software, and manufacturability of optical design and components.

Rincon Research Award for Best Presentation ($1,500)

This award reflects the quality of the overall verbal and poster presentations. Verbal presentations should be well structured to describe efficiently the overall problem being solved and the specifics of how the team accomplished its design. Answers to questions should be direct and demonstrate mastery of the project. Presenters should speak in a clear and easily audible voice, making good eye contact with the judging pod. The poster board should be visually interesting, and graphically well organized to tell a standalone story of the project.

Roche Tissue Diagnostics Award for Most Innovative Engineering Design ($1,500)

Innovation may include the novel use of existing components or the creation of entirely new components to meet customer requirements. The most innovative design will not only be a creative solution to a problem but also an effective solution that is well implemented. This award recognizes the team that has created or made use of components in the most innovative way, or demonstrated excellence in the implementation of innovative design in its project, or both.

Don McDonald Manufacturing Readiness Award (1st prize $1,500; 2nd prize $750)

This award is given to the team that designs and builds a system that goes beyond meeting sponsor requirements and best considers usability and manufacturing readiness.  Teams will be judged on manufacturing readiness of the design using the following considerations:

  1. Design process considered alternative designs and selected the “best choice” that meets or exceeds all of the sponsor requirements and can be used immediately by the sponsor.
  2. Design considered producibility, ease of assembly, and cost.
  3. Design showed consideration for reliability and maintainability issues while in the design/model/prototype phases as well as build phases.
  4. Design considered user operation and included operator instructions.
  5. Design technical data package was complete.

W.L. Gore and Associates Award for Lifelong Innovation ($1,500)

This award honors a student team that has improved or enhanced the quality of life for individuals through the outcome of their project. It recognizes the improved standard of health, comfort, environment, community, and happiness experienced by an individual or group. Projects are judged on the ability to promote the well-being of humans through togetherness and the practicality of the implementation. Teams should be able to effectively communicate their design and how it will improve lives.

The Merrill Award for Best Implementation of Agile Methodology  ($1,500 - $750 each for Predominantly Hardware & Predominantly Software)

This award recognizes two teams that best use Agile methodology in their design process. An award will be given for projects that have predominately hardware implementation and another award will be given for projects that have predominately software implementation.

Consideration will be given to projects where the design project is executed using a flexible and incremental approach to verify the System Requirements agreed to by the sponsor. This will include the traditional Agile methodology of Scrums (periodic project planning sessions), Sprints (two week prioritized task completion periods), and at least three Design Iterations that are presented to the Project Sponsor.

Technical Documentation Consultants of Arizona Award for Best Design Documentation ($1,000)

Successful implementation of any innovative design requires that all members of the design and production team communicate effectively. Design intent must be communicated from the design activity to the rest of the team using design documentation with a clear map for others to reproduce the design based on documentation only. The mechanical portion of the design is evaluated on the use of drawings with geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, solids models, illustrations and presentations that can be used to manufacture and inspect design hardware. Software and other systems are evaluated on the use of documentation that clearly and fully describes the system and illustrates the approach to testing.

Honeywell Award for Excellence in Aerospace Electronic System Design ($1,000)

This award recognizes excellence in overall system design in a project that has an aerospace emphasis. Verbal presentations should be well structured to describe effectively the overall system and the specifics of how the team implemented its design project. A key feature of the presentation must be representative data that demonstrate how the system was thoroughly tested. Answers to questions should be direct and demonstrate a high level of team competency about the details of the electronic system for the project. The presentation should demonstrate how all members have contributed to the project to exhibit core values of teamwork and professionalism.

Honeywell Award For Excellence In Aerospace Mechanical System Design ($1,000)

This award recognizes excellence in overall mechanical system design in a project that has an aerospace emphasis. Verbal and written presentations should be well structured to describe effectively the overall system and the specifics of how the team implemented its design project. A key feature of the presentation must be representative data that demonstrate how requirements were analyzed, documented, designed against and tested. Answers to questions during the presentation should be direct and demonstrate a high level of team competency about the details of the mechanical system for the project. The presentation should demonstrate how all members have contributed to the project to exhibit core values of teamwork and professionalism.

Sharon ONeal Award For Best Integration Verification & Validation ($1,000)

Integration, Verification and Validation (IV&V) activities within the engineering lifecycle are crucial to delivering products that meet the user’s requirements and are free from design and implementation flaws. This award recognizes the project that best documents and demonstrates a comprehensive mapping and execution of IV&V test plans, processes, procedures and results to the user’s requirements and product Concept of Operations (ConOps). To be eligible for consideration of this award, projects must be comprised of at least 3 different types of subsystems, such as: software, electronics, mechanical, optical, etc. Comprehensive documentation of all integration and verification test activities must be included with the award nomination for further evaluation and selection. This documentation includes:  all project requirements, test plans, procedures, and documented/verified results, signed off by the project sponsor or designee.

Mensch Foundation Award for Best Use of Embedded Intelligence ($1,000)

The Mensch Prize for Best Use of Embedded Intelligence recognizes the engineering innovation team that best integrates embedded intelligence into a potential commercial product. Specifically, the award will be granted to a student team that has built a smart connected prototype that may have a commercial market. Embedded Intelligence is characterized as the ability of a product to sense, process, communicate, and actuate (SPCA) based upon information gained from an understanding of both itself and others and for the benefit of many. Preference will be given to designs with SPCA capabilities that can demonstrably surpass human abilities to perform the same function.

Delta Development Team Award for Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation ($1,000)

This award is given to the team whose design incorporates the most innovative manufacturing method addressing reduced carbon emissions.  Projects could include introducing a new technique for manufacturing or an innovative use of an existing technique that reduces the cost and improves the quality of a product while reducing carbon footprint.

Mark Brazier Award for Best Biomedical System Design ($1,000)

Biomedical engineering is a discipline that advances knowledge in engineering, biology and medicine, and improves human health through cross-disciplinary activities that integrate the engineering sciences with biomedical sciences and clinical practice.  This award recognizes the team the has demonstrated excellence and innovation in biomedical engineering design.  It recognizes outside-the-box thinking that pushes boundaries and hands-on approaches to creative solutions. Projects are judged on the elegance and creativity of the technical solutions and their implementation. Teams should be able to communicate effectively their design and the processes they use for creativity.

Garmin Award for Best Use of Wireless Technology ($1,000)

Wireless technology is ever present in our world today. This technology allows products to be used in a wide variety of applications, from streaming movies on the couch to receiving pictures from Mars.  With so many wireless technology options available, it’s critical for engineers to understand the tradeoffs each provide, and how they might be used to expand the capabilities of a design.  This award will be given to the team that demonstrates the best utilization of a wireless technology in their design.

Steve Larimore Award for Perseverance and Recovery ($1,000)

Issues and roadblocks always occur during the engineering design process. Although they cause panic and distress, they also represent great opportunities to learn and often lead to designs that would otherwise be impossible to conceive. This award recognizes a team’s ability to learn and to overcome issues or roadblocks encountered during the design process. The award is judged based on the ingenuity of solutions to problems caused by issues or roadblocks and the features in the final design that contribute to recovery from them.

II-VI Aerospace & Defense Fish Out of Water Award ($750)

The Fish Out of Water award congratulates students for successfully accomplishing a task that was not in their realm of expertise. The projects for senior design require skills from many disciplines, and students must sometimes learn a new subject or skill in an area outside of their major to help the team succeed. A student who not only learns this new subject or skill, but also uses it to effectively help the team thrive, shows dedication and initiative, traits that will continue to help in an engineering career.

Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies Award for Best Use of Prototyping ($750)

This award goes to the team that best uses a physical prototype model to understand and study the fit, form and function of the device or system designed. Teams are judged on the appropriateness of the prototyping technology used, how effectively prototyping is used to improve design, and how effectively the use of prototyping is communicated. Prototypes can be made using rapid fabrication technology, traditional manufacturing, or can be hand built.

SciTech Institute Award for Best Engineering Analysis ($750)

This award recognizes the team with the strongest strategy, implementation and documentation of analyses supporting its design. Analyses vary from project to project, but may include market research and analysis, analysis of prior solutions to the design problem posed, trade studies that justify the final design selected from alternatives considered, system modeling to demonstrate that the final design is sound and should perform as desired, analysis of potential reasons for failure and a mitigation plan, and economic or other analysis of the benefits of the final design in its intended application. Criteria for judging include the completeness of the project analysis based on the above categories, thoroughness of the analyses, application of sound engineering principles and practice, a demonstrated understanding by team members of any tools or models used, reasonableness of all assumptions, and the quality of the documentation of the analyses.

Dataforth Corporation Award for Best Design Using a Data Acquisition and Control System ($500)

This award recognizes the design team that best implements a modern data acquisition and control system. Recognition is given for the use of the system to collect data that characterizes project performance and assists in project optimization and, ideally, uses the same data acquisition system to perform feedback and control operations.

L3 Latitude Engineering Award for Best Physical Implementation of Analytically Driven Design ($500)

Some engineering problems are straightforward: optimal solutions are found through the application of engineering best practices. Sometimes, however, the best design choices are not obvious, and only reveal themselves after a thorough analysis of the underlying physical principles. This award recognizes a design that could only have been arrived at after careful study and creative application of physics.

Simpson Family Award for Best Simulation and Modeling ($500)

This award recognizes the project that makes the best use of computer-based simulation or modeling.  The simulation may be the project itself, or a design tool used to model the performance of the project design.  Criteria for this award is based on scope of the simulation, the fidelity of the simulation compared to real-world performance, and the engineering judgement exercised in determining the complexity of the model.

Ergo Dave Award For Best Use of Human Factors ($500)

This award recognizes the team that makes the best use of HFE (Human Factors and Ergonomics) design principles (Understand, Design, Evaluate) iteratively.  The winning team will provide evidence that they collected and understood both tasks and users, and showed significant reduction of fatigue and workload to users. 

Honeywell Award for Team Leadership (two individuals at $250 each)

This award recognizes students who best exemplify teamwork skills, including the ability to work cooperatively with others to produce high-quality work, to take the initiative, to support and respect the opinions of fellow team members, to give and receive feedback, to demonstrate effective leadership, to keep their team focused, and to elevate the work of their fellow team members. Nominees for this award are selected by their teammates.


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