Best of What's New 2020: Rules
1. CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGIES
The product or technology must be on sale or have been announced with a firm on-sale date, and that announcement or introduction must fall between October 1, 2019, and October 15, 2020, to qualify for the 2020 awards. The product or technology must exist and must be demonstrable and testable. Products need not be sold in the U.S. A product can be submitted for an underlying technology, such as an innovative suspension system in a car or a new image sensor in a digital camera.
2. INDUSTRIAL OR INSTITUTIONAL PRODUCTS AND TECHNOLOGIES
In the case of technologies not sold directly to the public—such as x-ray imaging technology, commercial airline engines or commercial satellites—the same criteria apply: It must have been put into use or announced with a firm release date falling between October 1, 2019, and October 15, 2020.
3. GOVERNMENT AGENCY, UNIVERSITY OR INFRASTRUCTURE TECHNOLOGIES
Best of What's New awards have been given to maglev trains, bridges, buildings, experimental spacecraft, anti-missile technologies and the like. These technologies must debut, their construction must begin, or the result of successful early-phase testing must occur or be announced between October 1, 2019, and October 15, 2020.
4. ENTRY FEE
A product or technology should be entered by filling out the entry form on this website and submitting with an administrative fee. The fee is $300.00 per product entered before midnight (EST) August 3, 2020; the fee will rise to $350.00 for any product entered between August 4, 2020, and the final entry deadline of September 25, 2020. You may enter as many products as you like. There are no refunds, so please read the rules carefully before submitting.
5. ENTRY FORM
The entry form asks you to write a brief description of what is innovative about your product and why you believe it deserves a Best of What’s New award. (You may also include links to other relevant materials.) The information you provide is very important. We use it to narrow down the list of candidates, and we will contact you in person ONLY if we find your entry promising. Please see the page “Judging Process” for more details.
6. PRODUCT SUBMISSION
In the case of products that can be experienced by the judges, such as cameras, cars, or other consumer products, please supply information about how we can obtain the product for testing. Please DO NOT send sample products unsolicited. We will evaluate your entry and contact you if we are interested in a review sample. If you have photos or video, please point us to a website where we may view them; do not e-mail them unsolicited.
Final award decisions are made by October 16, 2020, and winners will be officially notified by November 13, 2020. (We require that all winners sign a non-disclosure agreement not to reveal this information until the official on-sale date of the issue.) We will also contact non-winners by the same date. Due to the volume of entries, we ask that you do not contact us to check on your status unless you haven’t been contacted by that date.
The Best of What’s New judging process is overseen by Popular Science Technology Editor, Stan Horaczek. For each product category, an editor from Popular Science will lead a panel of judges—veteran contributors who are experts in these fields.
We will consider every product entered, although judges may also consider products that have not been formally entered. The judges will winnow the entries to produce a list of winners for each category. From these lists, we will choose one Grand Award winner per category. The total number of winners in each category is flexible and based on merit. Judging is final and confidential. There is no connection between advertising in the magazine and winning these awards.
Among the judging criteria are: the significance of the innovation, the quality of the design and the finished product, the originality of the product, and the ambition and scope of the project. These criteria will vary in accordance with the category—depending on whether the entry is, for example, a device or a bridge. The judges may request a test unit or demonstration of any entry—especially consumer products—and products that cannot be demonstrated may be disqualified without reimbursement of the entry fee.
Complete entry forms are important in helping judges understand the strategy and intent behind the development of a product or technology. We will evaluate your entry initially based on the information provided in the entry form and on any associated website listed in the entry. If we feel the product has potential at that point, we will contact you for additional reporting and product samples. Popular Science will announce the winners on PopSci.com in late November. Winners will be required to sign a non-disclosure form.