Awards judge

I’ve helped to judge business awards as well as science and innovation competitions

Judging awards is always a privilege. I’ve been able to marvel at the accomplishments of creative and hardworking people, hold interesting discussions with fellow judges, and harness my own expertise to vote for the winners.

I’ve served as a judge on several awards and competitions, sometimes chairing judging panels. Chairing a panel comes with added responsibility: finding independent experts, providing information, encouraging debate, and finding consensus.

It’s rewarding to be able to recognise someone’s creativity and hard work. Regardless of whether or not there’s a prize at stake, most people are delighted and humbled when they win.

These are the awards I’ve been involved with over the years, in various industry sectors.

Accounting Excellence 2018

I was Secretary Judge for Accounting Excellence 2018. It involved chairing judging panels for 12 award categories and writing notes on the winners and shortlisted entries.

South West Business Insider awards

Celebrating the achievements of companies and individuals in the South West, the awards are given out at gala dinners. Most were sector-specific.

I chaired judging panels for the following Insider awards:

  • South West Property Awards
  • South West International Trade Awards
  • Made in the South West
  • South West 42 under 42

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

I helped set up this annual competition for amateur astrophotographers, run by Royal Observatory Greenwich, when I was editor of BBC Sky at Night magazine and served on the judging panel for three years.

BAE Systems Apprentice Innovation Challenge

This competition for apprentices at BAE Systems benefited the charities Help for Heroes and Royal British Legion. Teams had nine months to solve an engineering problem.

In the year I helped to judge the competition, apprentices could choose to design either a lightweight and affordable hand bike or a support for sailors with spinal cord injuries.

The Royal Photographic Society International Images for Science

I participated in the judging session for these awards in 2015, held at the home of the Royal Photographic Society in Bath. Part of the fun of looking at science pictures is that at first you often don’t know what they are. Luckily, experts on the panel included marine biologist The Blowfish.

UWE Bristol SCU Science Writing Competition

Run by the Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol, this competition was open to non-professional writers. It was an honour to be asked to read and judge the entries.

My fellow judges were SCU’s Andy Ridgway and Dr Emma Weitkamp, and BBC Science Editor David Shukman.