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Limerick woman, Ciara Crawford wins EU prize for new innovative wheelchair design 

Ciara Crawford of Corbally, Limerick wins two prestigious European awards for her innovative wheelchair design

Limerick woman, Ciara Crawford wins EU prize for new innovative wheelchair design 

Ciara Crawford, past student of the University of Limerick and current Corbally resident, has just bagged herself a top European Union prize for her new wheelchair design, created with the intention of making airplanes more accessible for wheelchair users. 

Ciara won the 2019 Emerging Product Designer of the Year Award along with the 2019 Platinum Prize Winner in Transportation, Aircraft/ Aerospace which was presented to her in a ceremony in Budapest on Tuesday, October 3. 




Ciara Crawford

‘Row 1’ is designed to fit around existing cabin chairs making airplanes more accessible for wheelchair users.

The design in question known as ‘Row 1’ is a battery-powered wheelchair that can be pre-booked by passengers going on a flight, that will meet them at their departure airport and go with them for the duration of their journey until they reach their destination airport. 

The inspiration for this project came whilst Ciara was working at an aircraft company and noticed the lack of attention to accessibility for airplane passengers.  

The wheelchair is designed to slot into the existing aircraft cabin seats making the process quick, easy and less likely to draw attention from other passengers. 

Speaker to the Limerick Leader, Ciara said, ““In 2015 American adults with disabilities spent $17.3 billion on their own travel, this figure does not include the passengers companions. The Row 1 wheelchair makes the process of travelling easier and quicker for the passenger and for the airlines.” 

‘Row 1’ was the final year project which Ciara completed in conjunction with her degree in Product Design and Technology at the University of Limerick. 

Ciara is grateful for the knowledge she gained from her student placement at Ohshima Ireland Ltd and from all she learned at Delftx’s, ‘Introduction to Aerospace Structures and Materials’ course which aided her in this innovation. 

Ciara notes these achievements and says she is “awaiting the opportunities the awards will bring”. 

For more stories on innovative projects click here. 

For more information on Ciara Crawford click here. 


Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.