Entering the MRS Awards this year? Our Events & Awards Manager John Bizzell is here to help.

This is my sixteenth year of running the MRS Awards. Categories and criteria change, but I often get asked the same questions. Here are the answers to some of the usual, and slightly more unusual, enquiries I’ve had.

Will the deadline be extended?

No. Our judging process begins almost immediately, so all entrants are expected to make the official deadline.

However, we appreciate that occasionally there are technical issues or difficulties for those based in other time zones and so the judging portal will remain open until 4pm on Tuesday 5 July to account for this.

How much does it cost to enter?

Fee information can be found here.

Are the entries confidential?

The entry process is confidential and all judges are required to sign confidentiality agreements, however the ultimate goal of the awards is to promote research. Finalists for the case study (1500-word) categories will have their entries published on Warc.com and the MRS website and finalists for the business excellence (500-word) categories will be written up into features for Research Live. You/your client should understand this before entering.

Can we edit before publication?

MRS and our media partner Warc.com will publish finalists for the case study (1500-word) categories after the winners are announced in December. If you are not a finalist, you will not be published. Finalists will have roughly a month to re-submit a redacted version of their submission for publishing if necessary, but remember one of the aims of the MRS Awards is to add to the knowledge bank of the sector so you should keep as much of the original version as possible.

Research Live will liaise directly with finalists for the business excellence (500-word)  categories before publishing articles.

Does the work in our entry have to have been carried out within a specific timeframe?

Unless stated in the criteria (e.g. for the Research Live business excellence categories), there are no timeframes in which work needs to have been carried out in order to be eligible. The judges are looking for effective research, and they understand it takes time to collect the evidence to prove that what you did for the client really paid off.

What ‘measurable results’ are the judges looking for?

You’ll do better if you include metrics that show your research had a successful impact on the client’s bottom-line or decision-making. Encourage the client to share these, they can always be redacted before publishing if they are commercially sensitive.

How strict is the word limit?

Very. The submission system will cut you off at the limit for each section. If you submit more, the judges will not see it.

Equally, if you submit much less than the permitted word count, you probably haven’t said enough.

What additional information can I include?

This is clearly stated for each award. If it’s not mentioned in the criteria, you can’t include it.

Think of it this way, each judge may be reading up to a hundred entries. They are not obliged to look at anything in addition to the permitted word count/supporting material and, frankly, won’t. If you include links to long videos, multiple page reports/presentations or entire websites, these will not be considered. If your written entry does not make sense without this extra material, it won’t compete as well against entries which have worked within the permitted guidelines.

For the case study (1500-word) categories you can include up to three static charts or illustrations. Technically any words on your charts do not count towards the word limit, but do not use this as an opportunity to include additional narrative. The judges will notice this and it will not be well received.

For the business excellence (500-word) categories you can include a video or audio file of no longer than 3 minutes, a PowerPoint presentation of no more than 10 slides or an infographic.

If you submit anything outside of the permitted supporting material, it will be deleted.

What do I do if my supporting files are too large to upload?

The file types and sizes supported by the submission site are given next to the relevant fields. Please try to work within this.

If you can’t, you can email larger files directly to awards@mrs.org.uk, clearly stating in your email which entry the attachment pertains to.

If you have produced a video clip that is too large to attach to an email, our preference is for you to upload this to YouTube or Vimeo and share a link. If you do not wish to share the video in this way, you can send via a file transfer site (such as WeTransfer), but please consider that the file will need to be shared with the judges in the same way. They will be reviewing multiple entries, so its advisable to make your entry as accessible as possible.

Can you read the entry and give feedback before we submit?


Cards on the table, how do we win?

Telling people they haven’t been successful is not easy, especially when you know how close they’ve come. The standard of the entries we receive is generally excellent, so when the judges are choosing between them it sometimes comes down to the smallest things that set them apart. You only have a few words to tell your story – make every single one work for you; facts, figures, evidence. Think of the Just A Minute rules: no hesitation, repetition or deviation. Good luck!

The deadline for the MRS Awards 2022 is 4pm on Monday 4 July. All catgeories and criteria can be found here.

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