Innovation Awards 2024: Terms & Conditions and Guidance Notes

Before you start, it is important to read the Terms & Conditions and Guidance Notes, to be sure that you fully understand the process and are eligible to enter

Irish Times Innovation Awards 2024 logo

Your application form is a key part of our selection process and so it is very important that you complete it properly. It allows our expert judges to meaningfully collect and compare your innovations across our awards categories, before selecting our category winners and the overall prestigious ‘Innovation of the Year’ winner.

Before you start, it is important to read the Terms & Conditions and Guidance Notes, to be sure that you fully understand the process and are eligible to enter. Below are some key points to remember:

  • The closing deadline for completed applications is September 20th, 2024. Try to avoid leaving your submission to the last minute in case you encounter any unforeseen complications which may cause you to miss the deadline.
  • Entries should be based on an operational, service or product innovation which has been introduced to the market for the first time between September 1st, 2022 and September 13th, 2024.
  • The innovation may be business and/or customer focused, and its impact should be proven and measurable in qualitative and quantitative terms.
  • Try to choose the category most closely related to your project. We realise innovations can overlap various categories. The Irish Times, therefore, reserves the right to move applications between categories. If this is the case, you will be notified of such a change.
  • Entries for pharma or medical device innovations should at least have reached phase III of clinical trials.
  • Incomplete forms will not be accepted.

Stage 1 – Entry Screening – to apply you should meet the following criteria:

Your business operates and is registered (as a company/organisation) on the island of Ireland (North or South)

  • Your entry is category compliant
  • The innovation around which the entry is based has been introduced to the market for the first time between September 1st, 2022 and September 13th, 2024.
  • You are compliant with any relevant industry and/or legal standards
  • Your application adheres with the entry deadline
  • Your application includes a copy of logo and appropriate photo to represent the entry

Stage 2 – Category Short Listing – to identify the 2 finalists within each category, applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Proven Originality of Innovation
  • Proven Market Impact (e.g. completely new to market)
  • Innovation Management (project management)
  • Proven Business Impact (e.g. efficiency levels, sales growth etc)
  • Potential for Sustainability & Development (next steps and potential impact)
  • CSR/ESG Activities

Stage 3 – Category Winners & Innovation of the Year

The three short-listed finalists from each category will be invited to present their innovation to the final judging panel in Dublin City on October 23rd, 2024. The category winners will be selected on the basis of their presentation and their overall application. Please ensure the representatives from your organisation who will be making a presentation to the judges are available on that day. You will be informed of your shortlisting by October 13th.

All winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, November 13th in CHQ, Dublin.

These will include a winner from each category as well as the overall ‘Innovation of the Year’ award.

The Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into in relation to the decisions arrived at by the Innovation Awards adjudication panel.


The following guidance information is provided in relation to the application form:


Industry Sector provided should adhere to one of the main sector headings linked to the following options:

  • Manufacturing
  • Water Supply; Sewerage; Waste Management and Remediation Activities
  • Construction
  • Wholesale & Retail
  • Information & Communication
  • Financial & Insurance Activities
  • Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities
  • Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
  • Mining & Quarrying
  • Electricity, Gas, Steam & Air Conditioning Supply
  • Transportation & Storage
  • Accommodation & Food Service Activities
  • Administrative & Support Service Activities
  • Education
  • Human Health & Social Work Activities
  • Arts, Entertainment & Recreation
  • Other Service Activities

Organisation type provided should adhere to one of the following options:

  • Company
  • Business Agency
  • Academic
  • Government
  • Student/Graduate
  • Other
  • It is recommended that you keep a copy of your application for your own records.
  • Remember, the judging panel is made up of people from various walks of life and they may not be as well versed on your area of expertise. Therefore, avoid industry jargon and be sure to get someone from outside your business to read through your application and advise you of anything that is unclear to them.
  • The objective of your application form is to fully explain your innovation and what is unique about it. If it is an improvement on a current system or process, explain what makes it different. Why is it better than the rest of the market?
  • With several hundred applications to read through, it is important that you keep your application form concise and to the point. As a general guideline, answers to individual questions should range between 200-400 words maximum.
  • Make sure that what you say in the application is correct, including any claims about patents or projected sales/deals and market size.
  • We strongly advise all entrants to fully substantiate, in qualitative and quantitative terms, any business impact claims made in your application form. In particular you need to be able to convince our judges that your innovation delivers targeted outcomes. The best way to do that is to summarise the evidence and include details of relevant citations, testimonials, research and other verification from independent sources.


For audit purposes and as part of our due diligence, you are required to provide the names and contact details of two independent industry referees who are familiar with the innovation and its value.

Referees should be independent of the organisation, innovator or project involved, highly experienced in the industry or sector in which the project is involved, and be available for a telephone interview after the date of first round judging. The exact date will be communicated at a later date.

The referees could be a customer/supplier/accountant or someone who is highly experienced in the industry or sector.


Some innovations are easy to explain in words, but other more technical innovations are better explained via pictures, animations or drawings. If you would like to submit additional information for the judges to consider, you can email this directly to Clearly state your organisation name in the subject of your email.

Please note that information must be saved as PDF format and the file size should be no more than 6mb.


Before submitting your application, double check that all sections have been completed and contain no mistakes.

Your completed application, plus your photo materials as outlined on the application form, must be emailed to before Friday, September 20th 2024. Applications received after this time will not be accepted.

What happens next?

  • After the closing deadline, applications are placed into their relevant categories and checked for eligibility.
  • Judging then takes place to select the three shortlisted applicants in each category.
  • After due diligence has been conducted, the shortlisted entrants will be announced in October 2024 in the Business+Technology & Innovation pages of The Irish Times. Successful applicants will also be contacted directly.
  • As soon as they are notified, the shortlisted application innovators will be required to:
  • Ensure that they are available to present to the Final Judging Panel, on Thursday, October 23rd 2024.
  • Prepare a short 8-slide (max) Powerpoint presentation which will be delivered by the shortlisted company, to the Final Judging Panel. Presentations will last no longer than 15 minutes and will be made up of approximately 8 minutes presentation and 7 minutes Q&A with the judges.
  • Take part in a short vox-pop on the final judging day, immediately after giving their presentation. This will be used on the website and to promote the innovation on the day of the awards.
  • Shortlisted innovators are allocated 2 places at the awards ceremony & networking day. All shortlisted innovators are expected to attend.
  • Winners of each category and the ‘Innovator of the Year’ will be announced at the awards ceremony & networking day, on Wednesday, November 13th 2023.
  • A more in-depth ‘Next Steps’ document will be emailed to all shortlisted organisations, including a related PR pack, as soon as they are announced.

The Irish Times reserves the right to amend details and dates above as necessary.