There is no shortage of new initiatives, ideas and projects aimed at making laboratories run more smoothly. Keeping lab samples cool in storage while saving as much energy as possible, finding the best cleaning solution for maintaining the cleanliness of laboratory glassware, devising more efficient ways of doing repeat sample testing, making processes more productive; or designing interfaces that extract new knowledge from large masses of data – these are just a few examples of the brilliant work being done. LABVOLUTION, Europe's premier trade fair for laboratory technology, will for the first time next year award prizes for examples of best practice. The newly created LABVOLUTION AWARD is aimed specifically at users from the laboratory sector, i.e. laboratories, research groups, or deserving individuals. The tagline "Excellence in Lab Optimization" spells it out very clearly: it's all about outstanding improvements that deliver significant benefits for laboratory work and processes.
"The LABVOLUTION AWARD is not just about the implementation of excellent solutions," says Bernd Heinold, project manager for LABVOLUTION at Deutsche Messe. "It's also about identifying solutions with a proven track record of success. So we are creating a platform here for pioneering projects, and also ensuring that knowledge of best practice is more widely shared." The entry requirements have been deliberately left very open. So prizes can be awarded for processes, procedures and methods, or for technologies, software, design, or management techniques. One important requirement is that any relevant improvement should be fully verifiable. And the concept of "improvement" is itself open to wide interpretation: it may be measured in terms of productivity gains, cost savings, speed, reliability, safety, material usage, energy efficiency, or indeed motivation or employee satisfaction.
Entries for the LABVOLUTION AWARD will be accepted as from the formal announcement of the competition in October of 2018. An independent jury of experts will select three finalists from all the entries submitted. The first, second and third placements will be announced during LABVOLUTION, which runs from 23 to 25 May 2019 in Hannover, Germany. The winners will receive – depending on their specific needs – courses and consultancy services provided by Geniu to the value of €10,000 (first place), €2,500 (second place) and €1,000 (third place). Geniu, a company that offers consultancy services and further training for laboratories, is a sponsoring partner of the LABVOLUTION AWARD.
In order to select the winners, the jury will decide how the entries measure up against the criteria "innovative solution", "implementation", and "added value". Whether an entry rates as an "innovative solution" depends, for example, on how new or unique it is, and to what extent it increases and improves functionality compared with the previous situation. A further consideration is how simple, reliable and user-friendly the new solution is. How well an entry performs in terms of "implementation" depends on how effective it is, how quickly it was able to be implemented, and how great the hurdles were that had to be overcome, both internally and externally. As far as "added value" is concerned, here it is a matter of how extensive the lab optimization gains were, how lasting they are in effect, and to what extent the gains can be explicitly qualified and quantified.