Here we go again…the 2014 Life Science Industry Awards are fast approaching. If you’re planning on being in town for the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting you should plan on joining us at the Grand Hyatt in Washington DC on November 18th from 6:30-9:30 PM. The Grand Hyatt is a short walk from the convention center so after your long day at the meeting come and have some fun while we salute the remarkable companies that make up the life science tools industry.

With the return of the Life Science Industry Awards we also find ourselves being asked many of the same questions we’ve been answering for years. So for the benefit of those who’ve forgotten, or never knew, here is a selection of FAQs:

Q: What are the Life Science Industry Awards?

A: These awards are given to the life science companies that are voted Best-in-Class in 30 distinct product, service and communications categories. The origin of the awards goes back all the way to our partnership with the previous publisher of The Scientist magazine and have been held on five occasions since 2004. The last, and I have to say the most successful, awards event was in Washington DC in November 2011.

Q: Why haven’t you held an event since 2011?

A: The simple answer is we’ve been busy! You (our clients) have dictated a transformation in our business. We’ve grown from a small publisher of market research reports to a trusted partner providing research and advisory services in support of multibillion dollar acquisitions, market entry decisions, major product launches and global branding campaigns. With our recent acquisition of Strategic Directions International (SDi), we’ve grown to more than 25 talented full-time employees and extended our reach beyond life sciences into adjacent markets. Growing at this rapid pace meant that some initiatives like the Life Science Industry Awards had to be put on hold.

Q: Why hold them this year?

Because we want to thank our clients for the confidence they’ve shown in us. This week we celebrate our 20th anniversary in business and 2014 has been our most exciting year ever. With new leadership at the top and the acquisition of SDi we’ve got plenty to celebrate.

Q: So how do these awards work again?

A: We came up with 30 different categories that reflect what our clients sell and how they communicate with, and support, their scientific customers. Then we invited over 1,000 scientists from our expert network to write in the name of the companies they considered “the best” in each category. More than 400 individual companies were named, but only 51 met our criteria to be nominees and listed on the ballot. Thousands more scientists are now voting online for the companies they consider to offer the most superior products, the most effective marketing/communication, and the best support to their research. We analyze the data and calculate the depth of each company’s customer loyalty to determine the winners.

Q: So you don’t have judges?

A: No – that’s what makes our awards so different. The winners are picked by thousands of qualified scientific customers. As I’ve written before, awards conferred by market research companies or publishers are often viewed with skepticism and in some cases, outright disdain. A few years ago one of our clients actually turned down one such award in a very public fashion. When we joined with our friends at The Scientist way back in 2004 to host the first Life Science Industry Awards, we were determined to create a unique awards experience – with such recognition that reflects the integrity and high standards that are inherent in the market research we conduct for our clients.

Q: What’s the event like?

It’s a huge party! Let’s face it…there aren’t many opportunities for people in our industry to get together and socialize. We’ll have two open bars, a fantastic menu and great conversation. After an hour or so, bring your food and drink back to the table and watch the presentation of the awards. Last time we did this we kept the bars open after the event and the party continued for another hour. But all fun aside, these awards mean something. Your products make possible the discoveries being made every day in labs around the world and the scientists voting for your company are acknowledging your contributions to the advancement of science.

Stay tuned for our announcement of the finalists and we hope to see you on the 18th!