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Guidance notes for the BEST Awards Judges'


Welcome to the BEST Awards 2017 and thank you for agreeing to judge at this, our annual showcase of STEM based project learning across our six regional FE Colleges.  The event takes place:

Tuesday 23 May
9.30am to 3.30pm
Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Co Down

There will be a maximum of 60 projects on display at the student exhibition - across the 5 categories - life sciences, built environment, creative industries, engineering and software.  Students will be from all 6 Further Education Colleges across NI.

We have a packed agenda for the event and this guidance will give you an outline of arrangements and proceedings to read in advance of the event.


The detailed programme for the day may be found in the brochure included in your pack.  However, it is envisaged that the timings will be as follows:

  • 08.45    Refreshments for judges on arrival in the judging room
  • 09.30    Judges welcome / briefing & instructions
  • 10.00    Judging at exhibition stands
  • 12.30    Lunch served in the Oak Restaurant (Judges can break for lunch once all their Judging Sheets have been returned)
  • 13.45    Judges return to the Judging Room for final decision making (very important to be back in the Room for 13.45)
  • 14.30    Awards Ceremony*
  • 15.30    Close
* Any judges who have sponsored a prize should remove their name badge before going on stage for the Awards Ceremony - simply as we don't want name badges in the official photos

List of judges

The event is only possible with the engagement and involvement of industry experts.  Therefore we are grateful to everyone who has given up their time to judge at this year's Awards Ceremony.  The full list of judges will be printed in our Brochure which will be distributed at the event and is outlined in the table below for your info along with the category which you will be judging. 

In the Judges Room you will be asked to sit at your judging category table if possible.

Judging Packs

On arrival at the event you will be given a pack which will contain:
  • Your name badge
  • BEST Awards 2017 Brochure
  • List of projects which you are allocated to judge 
  • A layout of the exhibition stands
  • Judging Sheets (one to complete for each project you judge)

If you have any special dietary requirements for lunch, please advise a member of staff at the Colleges NI registration desk on arrival.


For directions and the full postal address for the Slieve Donard Hotel see BEST Awards Page.  Colleges NI have also secured preferential accommodation rates which are available to see on this page along with the hotel reservation telephone number.

The student exhibitions will be set up in the hotel's Grand Ballroom.  On arrival make your way to the Grand Ballroom where Colleges NI will have an allocated table to hand all judge's their packs and direct you to the separate Judges Room.

Format of the judging

You will judge the projects at their individual stands as per the schedule in your group judging packs (which you will receive at the event).  The stand numbers / project numbers along with the stand layout will also be in your pack. 

Each judging session is allocated a 15 minute slot and it is important that you adhere to your individual judging schedules as much as possible as the overall timings of the day revolve around the judging. 

The following is a recommended use of each 15 minute slot:

  • Introductions at stand
  • Overview of the project by the student(s) – 4 to 5 minutes
  • Discussion and questions on the work – 5 to 7 minutes
  • Judges leave stand and complete scoring sheet for the project.
  • Advance to next project on schedule.

There may be instances, particularly earlier in the day, where students may not be at their stands due to a delayed arrival.  You should proceed to your next scheduled project in this instance, returning then to the previous project following this.  It is important to complete all judging sessions on the schedule so please advise Colleges NI staff of any problems.

Returning the Judging Sheets

The input of the scoring is a significant task and you are asked to return your judging sheets as frequently as possible to the judging room to allow staff to input the data from your judging sessions.


  • Tea, coffee and scones will be available for judges in the judging room from 8.45am onwards. 
  • Tea, coffee will be available in the judging room all morning 
  • The lunch will be a hot fork buffet with a vegetarian option.


Michael Cooper Photography will be taking photographs during the duration of the event.  These will be used for social media and press releases.

Social media

Feel free to tweet about the event in advance #BESTAwards2017 or during the event.

Additional delegates / attendees

The event is open to the general public (10.15-12.3).  Feel free to bring along a colleague (or children / dependents) who would be interested in viewing the exhibitions to see the wealth of talent across our Further Education sector.  

Please email if you are bringing colleague(s) / guests.

Venue evacuation procedures

There are no fire drills planned for the day so in the event of the fire alarm sounding, please exit the Grand Ballroom through the emergency exit doors.  The Assembly Station at the main car park in front of the hotel.

Please note this web-page will be updated as required in advance of the event -
so please revisit in due course