R&D magazine’s R&D 100 award, well known among world-class scientists, innovators, and technologists, are considered the Oscars of invention. Winning an R&D 100 award is one of the most exceptional accolades a new technology can receive, almost guaranteeing its success in the marketplace and among investors.
What does it take to submit a winning R&D 100 application? There are quite a few pieces, but with the right focus and understanding, you can create an application packet that will wow the judges.
Who Should Apply
The first question to ask when considering an R&D 100 application is whether you and your technology will be a good candidate. Is your technology in the prototype stage, or is it still theoretical? The judges want to see, through photo proof, that you have a viable prototype.
Second, the judges will look to see if you are adequately partnered with or supported by industry partners. You can apply with a joint submission, partnering with an industry member, or you can show the backing of industry members through letters of support.
And third, you must ask yourself whether your technology will have an impact on society and the marketplace in general. The R&D 100 awards go to those who fall into these categories.
For submission, there is a specific application on the R&D 100 website you will need to fill out. Everyone applying for an award will be required to fill out the same form. Although, there are multiple categories for which you can apply, and simultaneous submissions to classes are allowed.
The R&D 100 application includes questions, a comparison matrix, an opportunity for an appendix, and a requirement of letters of support. You can also upload a short video clip.
The application questions will focus on your technology’s capabilities, impact on society, and ability to outperform competitors. Above all, the summary section is what the judges will read, so this part of the application needs to be a concise and descriptive overview that convinces the judges why you should win. Investing in a professional editor is advised.
The comparison matrix may feel daunting, but it’s a critical piece to the judges. That is where you will compare your technology to competitors. The form calls for quantification and specifics as to why you outcompete others in the marketplace. Focus on metrics that make your technology shine. There will be room in the question section to qualitatively discuss how your technology competes with others; in the matrix, the goal is numbers.
Adding an appendix to your application is strongly advised as many of the questions only leave room for an overview answer. The appendix is where you can add supporting evidence for your technology, such as journal publications, newspaper articles, or other documentation for skeptical judges. You can add length and detail to the appendix.
Your letters of support should come from influential industry members who attest to the validity of your technology. These letters should indicate their support, not insinuate a purchase or future purchase of your product or technology. Aim for five letters of support to include in your R&D 100 application packet.
The last piece–the video clip–is optional. A short, two- to three-minute video that describes and shows your technology can be quite influential. If you already have a video interview or a clip on YouTube, you can upload a link. Be judicious in the video clip you select and steer away from the commercialization of your technology. The focus is on the description.
The cover may very well be the most critical part of your application, even though it has little to do with the validity of your technology. Visually, this is what people will associate with your technology for years to come. It will entice the judges and stick in their minds. The cover is where you can be creative and unique. Investing in a professional graphic designer is encouraged.
Finalists will receive notification from R&D magazine in June or July. However, the announcement of the winners will not be made until the fall and will occur at the R&D 100 conference. The award is a symbol of your technology’s future success. Investors, along with the public, will look to this award to help them decide whether to trust in your technology.
Writing a winning R&D 100 application is a time-consuming process, but it’s one with obvious rewards.