The United Kingdom Science Park Association is the representative body for Science Parks, Incubators, Innovation Centres and the wider innovation movement in the UK. The UKSPA Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements and activities of its members and the impact which they, and their tenant companies, have made to local, national and international economies and communities.

See for details of Awards in previous years.

The Awards celebrate individual as well as corporate achievement and the categories have been chosen to ensure that all members have the opportunity of participating in the programme. Whilst all Awards schemes require winners, a key aim of the UKSPA Awards is to create and publicise as many examples of good practice and innovation as possible. 

We do this through our newsletter and publications, presentations at the Conference and other means. For this reason, we aim to short-list as many applications as we can (subject to a quality assessment). Hence, there is a good chance that a relatively small amount of time spent on a Stage 1 application - which we have made as simple as possible - will create considerable publicity for your work as a result of short-listing.


It would be very helpful to our planning if you could let us know, via as soon as possible that you are intending to apply.

Stage 1

Stage 1 involves a very simple form, available a word document and a pdf. The deadline is 12 noon UK time on October 31 2018. Our aim will be to produce an initial short-list as quickly as possible. We may continue to accept applications after this but will short- list them only if they are of exceptional quality, and/or for categories that have relatively few entrants. We are happy to provide feedback on drafts. 

Stage 2

For Stage 2, short-listed entries will be invited to flesh out their Stage 1 application (proportionate to the topic) by 12 noon UK time on January 25 2019. We will provide opportunities for many of the short- listed entries to present at our various events during 2019, and especially the joint S-Lab/UKSPA Conference at the University of Birmingham on April 2-3 2019. The Awards will be determined based on the general criteria in Section 4 and additionally any category-specific criteria.


The UKSPA Awards are only open to members and have two categories. Each category will have two joint winners - one for larger locations or projects, and the other for smaller ones. They are:

• Location – Setting the Pace Award  (Large and Small)

• Most Successful Project Award (Large and Small)

There are two Awards in each category for members operating large locations (roughly over 100,000 square feet of lettable space) and also for those Members delivering under 100,000 sq ft of space. 

UKSPA is also collaborating with S-Lab on a joint award, which is open to any applicants from anywhere in the world. This is:

• Laboratory of the Year. 

2.1 Location Setting the Pace Award

This category recognises the UKSPA member organisations, campuses or units that have achieved the most successful outcomes from exceptional facilities, good management, innovative practices and high quality tenant support. In addition to the general criteria specified in section 5, Stage 2 applications in this category will be judged against the following category specific criteria:

• Success in fostering incubation and growth of products and services by tenants and other organisations.

• Contributions to communities and regions.

This category will have two joint winners - one for larger locations, and the other for smaller ones. 

2.2 Project Award

This category recognizes the best single initiatives with proven exceptional outcomes. Possible topics include tenant support, international collaboration, educational outreach, regeneration, promotional initiatives, and creation of a successful network. 

This category will have two joint winners - one for larger locations, and the other for smaller ones.

2.3 Laboratory of the Year

This is a joint category with S-Lab and is open to any organization in any country. It focuses on the totality of the science outcomes, operation, and management of working laboratories. In addition to the general criteria specified in section 5, Stage 2 applications in this category will be judged against the following category specific criteria:

• Demonstrable success in the laboratory’s scientific mission, such as high quality research outputs, or effective teaching and learning.

• Excellent working conditions for staff.

• Demonstrable good practice in many of the areas identified in S-Lab’s Effective Laboratory Principles (see Appendix).


Applications must accept the conditions of entry listed overleaf. The general criteria for all categories are:

Benefits – Are these clearly stated and well evidenced and do they clearly outweigh the costs? (Demonstrated by quantitative data as much as possible.)

Completeness – Does the application cover all the main features of the activity/initiative or are there significant unanswered questions about its implementation and outcomes?

Effort – Is the development/initiative relatively routine or to be expected, or does it reflect an unusual level of commitment and/or perseverance?

Originality – Is all or part of the development/initiative unique or very unusual compared to other locations or projects, and is it distinct from ones in other categories? 

Significance – Is it likely that UKSPA members and others learn from/be influenced by all or part of the development/initiative in future?

Some individual categories also have additional criteria, as described above.


• Entries must be submitted using the joint UKSPA/S-Lab Awards 2019 Stage 1 Application Form.

• The closing date for Stage 1 entries is 12.00 noon UK time on 31 October 2018.

• All information for Stage 1 must be contained within the entry form. No additional materials will be accepted for Stage 1 entries but URLs can be provided.

• Entries must be in English.

• All Awards will be given to a lab owner or operator. Architects/designers and others may submit applications on behalf of a laboratory with the owner’s or operator’s permission, and will be recognized as much as possible in the Awards brochure.

• The organisers reserve the right to consolidate multiple applications which partially relate to the same topic into a single Stage 2 application, to transfer applications from one category to another if the latter is felt to be more appropriate, and to consolidate or split categories if too few or a large number of applications are received.

• To avoid conflict of interest, applications based on work that has been wholly or partly connected to S-Lab funded projects are not eligible for the Awards.

• The Awards organisers reserve the right not to make, or to rescind, an Award if the Conditions of Entry have not been met.

• The Awards organiser’s decisions are final and no correspondence or appeal will be entered into, or

• feedback on failed applications provided.


Please email


An effective laboratory is one which is highly productive with regard to its purpose; has high levels of safety and user health and satisfaction; and is lean in resource use. The following points distil the discussions into performance criteria.

• Laboratories are managed strategically, with larger ones having a senior management group that has an integrated perspective on laboratory operations because it contains both users and technical support staff. 

• There are effective cross-functional and cross-laboratory connections so that experience and information is shared, and different stakeholders work effectively with each other.

• User performance and satisfaction is proactively monitored and processes are in place to 

express concerns and issues, and to respond to them effectively.

• Significant decisions, such as new build or refurbishment, or major equipment acquisition, have inputs from a variety of stakeholders, examine alternative options, and are ‘future proofed’ by considering how laboratory use could change. As a result, they are not dominated by special interests or views that may not be relevant in 5-10 years’ time.

• There is a well-integrated IT infrastructure and high levels of connectivity which allow staff to work flexibly and which support the achievement of the following goals. 

• There are mechanisms in place which support continuous improvement of operations by collecting and reviewing relevant information, and bringing it to the attention of senior management. 

• There is a high level of utilisation of space, equipment and other assets, supported by effective mechanisms to encourage ‘right sizing’ and ‘right sitting’ for tasks and sharing. 

• The location, ownership and use of all chemicals, materials and samples is tracked, and the information is used to manage and use them efficiently, and to minimise pointless storage and wastage.

• Environment, health and safety are recognised as strategic issues which are considered at an early stage of decisions so that ‘win-win’ synergies with other aspects of laboratory operations can be identified.

• Users are aware of the costs of laboratory infrastructure and services, and the operation of the latter can be adjusted in response to variations in needs and use. 

• Technical support staff have career development opportunities, and a career structure, which encourages them to broaden their skills and to gain experience of different working environments.

This page can be downloaded as a pdf here.