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10 Most Common R & D 100 Questions

Fri, 10/01/2010 - 6:41am

Along with hundreds of entries each year, the editors at R&D Magazine also receive a lot of questions. This understandable…if you are here for the first time, the process can seem daunting. It’s really not!

We do, however, have a specific system we follow so that our small team of editors can professionally handle the workload of a competition that involves hundreds of cutting-edge technologies. Here are a few popular queries that might take care your curiosity. But if these don’t do the trick and you have more to ask, please email us at rdeditors@advantagemedia.com.

How do I enter?
Can I win first place?
What do the judges say about my entry?
Why do I have to pay an entry fee?
How many entries do you get?
Who has won the most awards?
Do labs and big companies have the advantage?
Can I enter again?
How do I know what I present in my entry is what the judges are expecting to see?
Is entering worth my time?

How do I enter?
Consult our entry form and instructions, which are available as a downloadable file. The process is straight-forward.

  • Complete the questions on the 2012 R&D 100 Entry Form. Gather images and supporting documents. We accept and encourage additional files, such as photos and videos. Save all files to a single Word document or PDF. We do not accept PowerPoint presentations. If possible, compress all files, including photos and video into a single zip or rar archive file.
  • Go to the registration page, at RegOnline, enter your contact information and pay the entry fee. Hold on to the transaction number you receive in your email confirmation.
  • Name the file you are submitting as follows: RegistrationID_OrganizationName. Example: 31124687_RDMagazine.zip.
  • Once you have paid (or have provided a valid purchase order number if you are a government lab), you will be given a link to upload your zip file to YouSendIt, a secure server retained by R&D Magazine for the R&D 100 Awards.
  • Upload your files. Once you have been sent confirmation of your entry receipt for RegOnline, your entry is accepted. If the editors have trouble viewing your entry material, they will contact you.
  • If you have any subsequent changes to your entry, contact the editors at RDeditors@advantagemedia.com for instructions to submit replacement files.

Can I win first place?
No. Nobody can! Winners must share the title of “one of the 100 most technologically significant new products of 2012”. Considering the number of the new high technology products and innovations introduced yearly, this is a select group.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the editors can’t have their favorites among the 100 selected by the judges. At the R&D 100 Awards presentation, held in autumn each year, we present three surprise R&D 100 Editor’s Choice Awards to our favorites. We don’t really consider this a first-place award, but it is great distinction!

What do the judges say about my entry?
We have a simple rule when it comes to attracting independent experts to contribute their opinions on our entries: What’s said in R&D 100 judging stays in R&D 100 judging. This is an important rule that helps ensure the impartiality and confidentiality of our awards process.  We do, however, publish the names and affiliations of all our judges.

Why do I have to pay an entry fee?
Collecting the entries, reviewing and judging the submissions, administering the awards, and promoting the awards to the general public takes staff time, and money. The fee helps offset some of those costs. In addition, the fee discourages frivolous entries, increasing the quality of entries and protecting the integrity of the awards. This year, in light of rising costs, we reluctantly increased the fee for the first time in several years. This increase helps  account for extra effort necessary to cover the increasing complexity and scope of the technologies we evaluate.

How many entries do you get?
If we told you we might have to….well, you get the idea. We can say it is way more than 100!

Who has won the most awards?
This is a tough question. Simple arithmetic shows us that we have presented 4,900 awards since 1963. This doesn’t include Editor’s Choice Awards, nor does it tell us when a company or lab changes its name. Some teams can number dozens of individuals, many of whom go on to win other awards with other labs or companies. So tracking leaders is difficult.

GE is still the leader overall, amassing about 173 wins over the course of 47 years. Other large industrial innovators such as Dow, DuPont, and various automobile manufacturers have also claimed large winning totals. The U.S. Dept. of Energy laboratories are also big winners year after year, an expected consequence of their mandate for creative innovation. And some individuals have also won big, too. At least one researcher has collected at least 10 awards and many others are multiple winners.

Do labs and big companies have the advantage?
No. Some people take a look at our list of winners every year and assume that because federally-funded research often wins 35% or more of our awards each year, small companies and individuals don’t have as a good chance at winning.

Fortunately, this is untrue for several reasons. First, the R&D 100 Awards is a great equalizer. Our judges hail from all works of research life, from small businesses to universities to major laboratories. We endeavor to build a balanced list of judges representing independent labs, government labs, academia, and large and small business. Judges who might have a conflict of interest are required to notify us and remove themselves from the roster.

Second, the judges are not asked to choose the most complex or challenging new products. They are looking for innovation, which can be as simple as a breakthrough alloy of metal that can reduce costs in an industrial setting. The metal itself might not have a lot of “wow”, but the cost savings sure can. These are the kinds of things judges notice.

Some laboratories who have been participating in the R&D 100 Awards for many years have an easier time entering because they know the process. But this does not change how they are treated in the judging process; there are no automatic wins. Government labs enter many new products—available for license or sale—but not all of them win, and some don’t qualify for judging.

Finally, some of our most interesting or surprising breakthrough innovations come from small or new companies that have shown the ability to innovate independently. These efforts shine through in a properly completed entry.

My product was entered last year but did not win. Can I enter again?
The best answer is: “that depends”. First, if the judges rejected it the first time around, chances aren’t much better they’ll like it a year later among stiffer competition. However, if significant improvements are made to the product, it can be eligible for entry. This is where the editors reserve a right to determine on a case-by-case basis. Remember, this rule still applies: the product being entered must have been *first* available for license or sale between Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2011.

This means that if the same product or product line is merely re-entered, it would be disqualified anyway. Again, if major improvements or breakthroughs have been made and the product is re-packaged, re-launched, or re-marketed, the editors may deem it ready for the judging process. The best way to find out is to email us at RDeditors@advantagemedia.com.

How do I know what I present in my entry is what the judges are expecting to see?
Our best advice is to consult our comprehensive “How to Win Guide”. This should answer any questions you have. If this doesn’t help, email us at RDeditors@advantagemedia.com. Remember, you have until April 30, 2012 to finalize and upload your entry.

Is entering worth my time?
Ultimately, that’s a choice you must make. View our previous winners. Read the Instructions on the Entry Form carefully. Do a little Google hunting for R&D 100 activity. There is a connection between R&D 100 Awards and success in the marketplace, but nothing is guaranteed.

However, we’ve seen the positive effects for so many products and technologies we cannot help but feel the effort to enter is worth the potential payoff. It’s no more than a boost, but sometimes it can be the key boost that leads to a greater market presence. 

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