You could be forgiven for thinking that, like oil and water, showbusiness and science are immiscible substances. But the 2023 Lab Awards proved a perfect mixture, cementing the event’s success for a third successive year.
This occasion however was a tad more ambitious than previous events. In place of an afternoon ceremony in the midst of the Lab Innovations Birmingham NEC show, this year’s version was a formal evening staged at the complex’s Vox venue on 1 November.
The choice of name presenter could not have been more appropriate: seasoned broadcaster and high-profile science advocate Maggie Philbin combined professional expertise with knowledge, enthusiasm and humour. And reflecting the new format, entertainment was provided by classical violin duo Red Hot Strings as an opener, with Kiss FM DJ Justin Wilkes rounding off the night.
Lab Innovations’ Event Director Simon Farnfield said the decision to upgrade the event for 2023 had been vindicated and reflected the ceremony’s increased prestige in the industry in the brief time since its foundation.
But the place of honour at the Awards, co-hosted by Lab Innovations and Laboratory News, went to the 13 winning entrants in the 14 categories, chosen from an extensive shortlist of rising names and respected brands.
The decision to upgrade the event for 2023 had been vindicated and reflected the ceremony’s increased prestige in the industry in the brief time since its foundation
Sean Marshall, founder of Laboratory News publisher Synthesis Media, headed the Lab Awards judging panel once again with expert advice from Gambica director Jacqueline Balian, Aston University’s Jiteen Ahmed, Innovation DB chief Gerald Law and Errant Science founder and regular Laboratory News columnist Dr Matthew Partridge.
“After a record year for entries, it was fantastic to see so many companies and individuals really raising the bar for the lab community. The standard of entries this year was incredibly high, and every single person and organisation that entered should feel very proud of their contribution to the sector,” said Marshall.
“Hats off to the team for making the awards dinner such a vibrant event – a fitting celebration of our industry’s success and the important work we do.”
The full list of 2023 Lab Awards winners includes:
LABORATORY OF THE YEAR: Geotechnics
Geotechnics Ltd’s application provided valuable insights into their laboratory’s inner workings. The detailed understanding of their operations and achievements provided deservedly won them the title of Laboratory of the Year.
SMART LAB OF THE YEAR: AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca’s AskLab Insights project demonstrated extensive programming and significant improvements for bench scientists. The application showcased a well-implemented programme, leading to valuable advancements for the lab.
SUSTAINABLE LAB OF THE YEAR: AztraZeneca
It was a second AstraZeneca win in 2023, this time for the company’s Green Labs programme which stood out for the judging panel as an outstanding initiative, demonstrating a real commitment to environmental sustainability. The scheme’s comprehensive approach reflected the company’s dedication to green practices, the judges said.
LAB TECHNICIAN OF THE YEAR: Laurie Lau
Judges described Laurie Lau’s accomplishments as “showcasing outstanding leadership and achievements”, adding this made Lau, who is based at the University of Southampton, a standout candidate in the competition.
RISING STAR: Emma Sanderson, SLS
Based at SLS (Scientific Laboratory Supplies), Emma Sanderson’s enthusiasm and motivation were evident in the application on her behalf. Her impressive extracurricular activities and dedication to her work make her an impressive rising star candidate, contributing to her victory.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: Matthew Bramley, Trafalgar Scientific
The only award with no shortlist was sponsored by Laboratory News and went to Matthew Bramley of Trafalgar Scientific in recognition of his success in building the company and its reputation, as well as for his work as an enlightened and inspirational employer and philanthropist.
BEST SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT: Avantor VWR
Avantor VWR’s new sustainable Lab Coats offered a simple yet effective solution. The concept of repurposing materials aligned with the industry’s move towards sustainable practices, making it a noteworthy product.
BEST TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION: Beckman Coulter
The health tech giant’s DxI 9000 Access Immunoassay Analyser stood out as a throughput accelerator, offering intriguing analytical capabilities. Its potential to enhance diagnostic processes was promising, deemed judges, making it a valuable addition to the field.
BEST AUTOMATION AND DATA INNOVATION: Enbiosis
Enbiosis’ application of AI was commended for reflecting a strong focus on innovation and personalised solutions, with a forward-thinking approach that suggested a promising, personalised future in their domain, said the panel.
BEST CONSUMABLES INNOVATION: Merah Medical
Merah’s innovative solution to needlestick injuries presented an interesting and practical approach. Their application demonstrated a thoughtful use case, showcasing the potential to significantly impact healthcare safety protocols.
BEST COLLABORATIVE PROJECT: Invizius with NHS and EMS Healthcare
Invizius, EMS and the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s application for the collaborative project award demonstrated both clear benefit and innovation in a realworld application. Not only that, added the judging panel, but the collaboration involved in managing 600 volunteers and multiple testing sites could only have been possible with a strong team effort.
BEST ORGANISATION CULTURE: Leybold
Leybold’s application revealed a clear and focused organisational culture, making them an appealing employer. Their emphasis on cultivating a positive workplace was highlighted, showcasing a strong company ethos.
COMMITMENT TO SKILLS & TRAINING: Element and Agilent
Element and Agilent’s CHROMacademy was praised for offering clearly a gold standard programme for training and development of researcher skills. Their application highlighted not only its successes achieved but also the direction set for its future, stated the panel.
SUPPLIER EXCELLENCE: Anthias
“Fantastic supplier services and commitment to excellence” were noteworthy in Anthias’ application that also illustrated their very active role in training and CPD, making them a top supplier choice in this category.