Since 2014 the MRS Operations Awards have sought to recognise the ‘unsung heroes’ of research – the operations professionals who are fundamental to keeping the sector running.

After a year of unprecedented challenges for research operations, the judges were more impressed than ever with the creativity, care and commitment to delivery displayed in the entries for 2021. Some difficult decisions had to be made, but the winners are…

Best Covid Response - Data Collection

Winner –

Ipsos MORI

What the judges said: “Ipsos Mori demonstrated how to successfully undertake data collection despite huge logistical challenges. They effectively adapted their methodology to ensure a truly flexible and mixed mode survey. While ensuring ethical and quality standards were maintained, they also conducted thorough risk assessments to guarantee their interviewers, the public and all data were safe and secure. An excellent supporting statement from the client highlighted the quality and credibility of the data they collected during a pandemic.”

Highly Commended –

Kantar Public
Perspective Research

Finalists -

DJS Research
Herbalife Nutrition
Lumina Intelligence & ResearchBods

Best Covid Response – Online Qual

Winner –

Kadence International & Asahi Europe and International

What the judges said: “Kadence International and Asahi utilised an online community which included adopting augmented reality (AR). This enabled them to create 3D models of the products that they were testing that respondents could interact with at home via their smartphones. It was a truly innovative methodology, at the height of the pandemic, that despite being online, enabled them to meet all of their project objectives. Really well done!”

Finalists -

BEAM Fieldwork
Here I Am
QRS Market Research
Traverse, Healthwatch & National Voices

Best Covid Response - Viewing Facility

Sponsored by Leftfield Associates


Winner –


What the judges said: “i-view have tackled the challenges and opportunities of the last twelve months by reaching out to support other research venues and the wider research community. In embracing the ‘We’re Good to Go’ protocol, i-view set an industry best practice blueprint and continued to offer versatile and flexible studio capabilities. In the judges’ opinions, and against stiff competition, i-view front-footed their way through the pandemic with timely communication, proactive industry support and, without a doubt, managed to shine.”

Highly Comnmended –

Schlesinger Group UK
Swift Research

Finalists –

Aspect Viewing Facilities
Behaviorally (Formerly PRS)
Made in Studios

Best Data Collection – Interviewer Administered

Winner –

Mackman Research

What the judges said: “In this challenging business support strategy study for Essex County Council, Mackman Research clearly demonstrated their wholehearted commitment to interviewer-centric research. They went the extra mile to ensure actionable data at a granular level, adopting a creative, multi-faceted approach to developing contact lists, to maximise the coverage of survey responses. Empathetic moderation of the telephone interviews was of paramount importance as many businesses were in crisis due to the impact of the pandemic, and Mackman’s interviewers demonstrated great sensitivity in their gathering of rich, contextual data. Going well beyond the remit of the original brief in terms of both the breadth and quality of data-collection and reporting, the immense value Mackman Research brought to this research is reflected in the glowing client testimonials. A worthy winner!”

Finalists -

Kantar Public

Best Data Collection - Online

Winner –

Cobalt Sky

What the judges said: “Cobalt Sky created a statistically-driven Google search environment to allow the most interactive and realistic experience for respondents taking part in this project. The research was for The Behavioural Architects working on behalf of Google. The experience was designed to test what makes online adverts most appealing. A great deal of care was taken to replicate fonts, icons and backgrounds etc. so everything displayed authentically on different devices. A pilot was undertaken to ensure the thousands of versions of conjoint could be fully scaled. The judges noted the complexity and the attention to detail, as well as impressive scale of this research.”

Finalists –

Face Facts Research
Measure Protocol
PwC Research
Walnut Unlimited

Best Data Solution

Winner –

Savanta & Lucid

What the judges said: “Savanta and Lucid’s AutoSample solution, to automate the daily sampling activity needed to support the BrandVue monitoring platform, is an elegant data solution which delivers improved efficiency, data quality, completion rates and cost effectiveness. The strong metrics and excellent verbatims highlighted the success and value of the technological solution in enhancing BrandVue as a leader in brand tracking. An innovative and well-designed data solution which is a worthy award winner.”

Finalists -

Dyson & Market Logic Software
Lumina Intelligence & Pyramid Analytics

Best Support Services

Sponsored by Criteria Fieldwork


Winner –

Take Note

What the judges said: “Take Note continue to evaluate their service offering via annual surveys with clients. They have clearly listened and put product innovation at the heart of their strategy to develop new services in line with evolving clients requirements. One example is the investment they have made in developing a unique easy-to-use online portal, which enables a controlled and encrypted environment, putting security and confidentiality at the forefront of their offer – something that their clients have said is a high priority. Really well done Take Note and congratulations!”   

Highly Commended -

EMPOWER Translate
Research Runner

Finalists –

People for Research
THG Fluently

Best Training & Development

Sponsored by RONIN

Winner –

Ipsos MORI

What the judges said: “Ipsos MORI’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, transforming its fieldwork training and development materials, content, format and testing into a comprehensive mixed mode self-service online programme after only eight weeks with a skeleton staff, was a truly impressive feat. Ipsos MORI’s robust, engaging and flexible training approach has delivered effective fieldwork training, meeting safe working requirements, and enabling fieldwork to continue throughout the pandemic.”

Highly Commended –


Finalists –

B2B International
Kantar Public
Perspective Research

Operational Excellence

Sponsored by Kudos


Winner –

Ipsos MORI

What the judges said: “The judging panel unanimously agreed that Ipsos Mori’s submission was the outright winner this year. Their delivery of the REACT Studies (Real -Time Assessment of Community Transmission) in partnership with Imperial College showed Operational Excellence at its best. The scale, complexity and speed at which the Operations team reacted to mobilise such a task was astounding while also adhering to the MRS and Government Guidelines relating to Covid 19. Their submission was backed by outstanding supporting statements – congratulations!”

Highly Commeded –

IFF Research
Kantar Public (Crime Survey)

Finalists -

Cobalt Sky
Kantar Public (Consumer Price Index)


Best Data Collection (face-to-face)

2020 – Face Facts Research

2019 – Ipsos MORI

2018 – Acumen Fieldwork

2017 - Facts International

2016 - Jump Research

2015 - QRS Market Research

Best Data Collection (online)

2020 – Savanta & Brandwatch

2019 – Hall & Partners

2018 – Alligator and Northstar London

2017 - respondi

2016 - ICM Direct

2015 - Perspective Research Services

Best Data Collection (telephone)

2020 – RONIN International

2019 – Watermelon

2018 – QRS Research

2017 - ICM Direct

2016 - QRS Market Research

2015 - Facts International

Best Data Collection

2014 – YouthSight

2013 – Co-operative Food and Join the Dots

2012 – Perspective Research Services

Best Data Solution

2020 - mTab

2019 – Market Logic Software

2018 – Walnut Unlimited and University of Surrey

2017 - Populus Data Solutions

2016 - Populus Data Solutions

2015 - Populus Data Solutions

Best Support Services

2020 – EMPOWER Translate

2019 – People for Research

2018 - Liveminds

2017 - E-Tabs Dashboard Design Service

2016 - CrowdLab

2015 - Language Connect

2014 - Spectrum Viewing Facilities

Best Training & Development (Formerly Best Field Force/Best Investment in Interviewers)

2020 – RONIN International

2019 – Walnut Unlimited

2018 – Epinion Research

2017 - ICM Direct

2016 - GfK

2015 - ICM Direct

2014 - Facts International

Best Viewing Facility

2020 – i-View Studios

2019 – i-view

2018 – i-view London

2017 - Aspect Viewing Facilities

2016 - The Research House

2015 - Spectrum Viewing Facilities

Operational Excellence

2020 – IFF Research

2019 – Cobalt Sky

2018 - IRI

2017 - Cobalt Sky

2016 - Cobalt Sky

2015 - ICM Direct

2014 - Cobalt Sky

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