ALA Innovation Award
…recognizing laboratory innovation and technology advancement
The ALA Innovation Award recognizes the work of those unique and special podium presentations at the LabAutomation conference and exhibition that are exceedingly innovative, contribute to the exploration of technologies in the laboratory, and comprise independence of thought, clarity of vision, extraordinary technical originality, and seminal integration and automation strategies. The ALA Innovation Award program also is in furtherance of the mission of the organization which is to support the advancement and education of automation technologies worldwide.
What are we looking for?
The ALA is searching for podium presentations from academia, government and industry broadly consisting of innovative advances such as:
- a fundamental study to develop new technology for the laboratory,
- a new application of technology to laboratory automation, or
- a use of technology to solve a unique problem.
The award consists of a $10,000 check presentation to the winning presenting author (see rules and regulations: monetary disbursement). Subject to ALA requirements and the Board of Director's approval, the winning presenting author also (1) becomes a member of the judging panel for the next year, and (2) is invited to participate on the Scientific Committee for the following year's LabAutomation Conference. The award winning work will be featured in an issue of JALA following the conference. From this point forward, the presenting author may also be referred to as the "candidate."
Participation/Presentation at ACHEMAsia 2010
Once again for LabAutomation2010, DECHEMA, The Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology of Frankfurt, Germany, will participate in the ALA Innovation Award Program. Qualifying LabAutomation2010 Innovation Award Finalists will travel to Beijing, China, June 2-5, 2010 to present their work at ACHEMAsia 2010. Expenses for those finalists (Up to 10 presenters) will be paid for by ALA and Peking University’s College of Engineering.2
The Panel of Judges
The panel of judges is comprised of individuals approved by the Board of Directors and represents the various technologies and applications within the LabAutomation Conference curriculum.
The ALA President only votes to break any ties when all scoring is final. Judges may not have or have had any formal association with the candidates either direct or indirect. Judges must recuse themselves from evaluating any candidate wherein there exists a relationship such as family, business, financial or other, e.g. academic, student/professional association. Judges must sign a non-conflict of interest certification form ensuring no improper purposes. It is expected that any issues are declared by the judges. The Chairman makes the final decision on any questionable issues.
Selecting the winner of the ALA Innovation Award is based on a three-tiered evaluation system:
- Selection of the LabAutomation Podium Presentations
In assembling the program for LabAutomation, the Scientific Committee selects qualifying podium presentations from the abstracts received in response to the Call for Papers. To qualify for entry into the ALA Innovation Award contest, an abstract must be received prior to the Call for Papers deadline of August 10, 2009 and the author must opt-in for consideration using the appropriate check box.
- Preliminary Screening
Working from the conference's selected abstracts, the panel of judges scores all the abstracts thereby identifying the ALA Innovation Award Finalists for evaluation at LabAutomation. The panel of judges reviews only those podium presentations selected and slotted for the conference by the ALA Scientific Committee. Short course instructors, poster presenters, and plenary speakers* are not eligible. All candidates must adhere to the ALA Abstract Submission policies, timelines, rules and regulations1.
Here's how the preliminary screening works:
The Scientific Committee selects podium presentations for LabAutomation. The judges (not including the ALA President) are assigned to review and score the abstracts. (See "Scoring" below). The Chairman assigns all abstracts for evaluation to the panel of judges. Each of the podium presentations will be scored by a minimum of two judges. Upon completion of the first scoring phase, the Judging Panel will convene by teleconference to select the Top 20 to 25 Candidate presentations. These Top Candidates will be offered the opportunity to submit an extended abstract for review by the panel. An extended abstract is strongly encouraged by the Judging Panel to allow better differentiation of the leading candidates. Failure to submit information in time for the next selection phase will jeopardize the author's chances for inclusion in the finalists.
Upon completion of this second phase the ALA Innovation Award Panel of Judges will announce the Innovation Award Finalists to compete for the award at the LabAutomation Conference.
Request for Additional Information:
As part of the preliminary screening process, and in coordination with Chairman and panel, a candidate author may be contacted to answer further questions.
- Judging of Presentations at LabAutomation
The judging panel will attend and evaluate each of the candidate's presentations and will collectively select the winner of the ALA Innovation Award. In scoring the presentations the judges will consider the following:
- Impact on Laboratory Automation
Will this work make a noticeable contribution to the field of Laboratory Automation? Will it substantially reduce the cost, change the workflow, or improve the quality of laboratory processes? Is the method robust enough to allow routine implementation? Will it have widespread adoption over the next 10 years? Did the presenter explain why he/she was doing the research and who will benefit from this research/technology? Would this advancement only benefit a small group of people, or could it have far reaching/global impact and change laboratory automation as we know it?
How novel is the approach or solution? Is this work a creative solution to a new problem or a new twist on an old theme? Can this approach be applied to a range of problems or is it limited to one particular case? Is this "me too" science applied to a slightly different problem?
- Quality of the Science
Was the experiment performed properly? Can improvements be made either with the science or the technology? Do the data reflect reaching a fundamental limit? What is the confidence that the result is correct? Are the results repeatable and were the results repeated? Are there better methods to solve the same problem? Did the presenter appropriately report any limitations of the methods? If this work is early in development, are there any major hurdles to overcome prior to widespread success? Does the presenter understand the uncertainty of the measurements/methods?
- Oral Presentation
Was the oral presentation in alignment with the written abstract? Did the presenter explain the key concept(s) well enough so that a well-educated listener could follow his/her main train of thought? Was the presenter able to keep the audience's attention throughout the presentation? Was the presentation well organized with respect to its look-and-feel (e.g., large enough fonts, suitable colors, readable graphics, etc.)? Was the presentation's content organized in a logical manner? Did the presenter answer questions from the audience in a satisfactory manner? Did the presenter provide the correct amount of background material so that the general ALA audience can understand the subject? Did the audience seem excited by the presentation?
Each candidate presentation will be judged on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the best possible score; integers only). There is a maximum of 20 points possible. The scores of all judges will be consolidated for the final decision.
Rules & Regulations
The ALA Innovation Award Timeline Cycle:
- The ALA Innovation Award panel is appointed by and serves at the discretion of the ALA Board of Directors. The ALA Innovation Award panel of judges will commence activities following the annual timeline below:
Late-September Review of podium abstracts accepted into the LabAutomation2010 Scientific Program
Late-October Selection of the Top 20 to 25 ALA Innovation Award Candidates
Nov/Dec ALA announces the ALA Innovation Award Finalists (up to 10)
LabAutomation Conference Top Finalists' presentations are judged and the selection of the Innovation Award winner is completed
February Media announcements, JALA follow-up
March Manuscripts due to JALA for publication
- Candidates are encouraged to be members of the association to participate in the contest and/or win the ALA Innovation Award; however, membership is not required.
- Once selected, each of the Top 20 to 25 Candidates will have the opportunity to submit an extended abstract by August 10, 2009. The extended abstract will be comprised of no more than two pages, including 2-3 figures of supporting documentation. Upon review of these extended abstracts, the panel will narrow the field to the Innovation Award Finalists, who will compete for the 2010 Innovation Award at LabAutomation2010 in Palm Springs, CA.
- All of the Innovation Award Finalists will be required to submit a manuscript to JALA for publication by March 15, 2010. These requirements will be outlined in the Letter of Intent allowing ALA to use the abstracts for press releases and other media announcements.
- The panel of judges reviews only those podium presentations selected and slotted for the conference by the ALA Scientific Committee (not short courses, posters, or plenary presentations). All candidates must adhere to the ALA Abstract Submission policies, timelines, rules and regulations1.
- The following list of individuals is not eligible to participate in the ALA Innovation Award program: ALA Board of Directors, officers, the LabAutomation Scientific Committee*, contractors, employees, members of the Judging Panel, family members, and/or those considered to be "insiders." Candidates affiliated with anyone on the Judging Panel are permitted to participate, but the Judge must recuse him or herself from evaluating that particular candidate.
* The LabAutomation Scientific Committee comprises a Chairman, Associate Chairman, Track Chairs and Associate Track Chairs. Session Chairs are not members of the LabAutomation Scientific Committee, and therefore are eligible to participate.
- Monetary disbursement the $10,000 cash prize will be awarded on the final day of the LabAutomation conference and exhibition during the final plenary session. The following rules apply:
- The candidate presentation author, a co-author, or a representative must be present to accept the award at the final plenary session. In the event that a representative is not present, the Innovation Award will be forfeited.
- The $10,000 cash prize is awarded solely to the winning presenting author
- Once selected, the Innovation Award Finalists must sign the ALA Letter of Intent recognizing sole responsibility for the cash award and releasing ALA of liability, taxes, candidate employer policies, and any other obligations.
- In recognition of the varying employer policies governing employee acceptance of monetary prizes, those employer policies will be recognized and honored by ALA to the extent they are not inconsistent with and do not conflict with ALA policy and/or GAAP. However, ALA will not be responsible or liable for said policies. Winners have the option to decline the monetary award.
- The monetary award is not to be considered an obligation of ALA.
Discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, national origin, ethnicity, veterans status, or disability in regard to the ALA Innovation Award is prohibited. Each candidate shall be evaluated based on the award's criteria which are tied to ALA's exempt purpose of advancing the science and education of technologies in the laboratory.
1Abstract Submission Policy
ALA invites academicians, scientists, and post doctoral and graduate students to submit abstracts for scientific talks and poster presentations for this international educational forum by August 10, 2009. Presentations will be hand-picked by the ALA's scientific committee. Abstracts must include author contact information and must not exceed 250 words. Please do not include references, diagrams, charts, or photographs in your abstract. Use any common font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier. For complete instructions on abstract submission, see our format instructions page.
Indicate your abstract presentation preference:
- Poster Presentation
All abstracts will be considered for the Innovation Award contest unless otherwise noted by the author.
Please submit the following information:
- Presenting author
- Co-author(s) and their affiliation(s), if different
- Abstract Title
- Abstract (see format instructions)
- Online abstract updating (Login to the ALA web and update your abstract, add or delete co-authors and more)
Those authors whose abstracts are accepted are responsible for their own travel, lodging and conference registration expenses. Waiver of registration fees will be considered upon request for those requiring financial assistance. Contact Brenda Dreier, ALA's Director of Event Management, at email@example.com for the Financial Assistance Form.
In order to ensure that your abstract receives proper consideration for this award, please be sure to include information on methods, results and conclusions in your submitted abstract.
1. Rules, regulations and guidelines are subject to change at the discretion of the ALA Board of Directors in accordance with bylaws, polices, and procedures.
2. ALA reserves the right to select, de-select and/or restrict participation of the Innovation Award Finalists at ACHEMAsia 2010, June 2-5, 2010 in Beijing, China. Financial considerations are not to be considered an obligation of ALA.
* Plenary speakers are not eligible to submit their plenary talk for consideration for the Innovation Award. However, those individuals giving a plenary talk may also choose to submit an abstract to be considered for the LabAutomation2010 Scientific Program and to be considered for the Innovation Award upon acceptance into the program.