The editors of R&D Magazine are now accepting entries to the 47th international Laboratory of the Year competition. The annual competition recognizes the best new and renovated laboratories that combine all aspects of the building into a superior working environment. The entry deadline is Feb. 1, 2013.

Due to an increasing number of innovative laboratory renovation projects and the unique design concepts that they entail, judges for the 2013 Laboratory of the Year competition will have the option of awarding distinct awards, including Renovated Laboratory of the Year Award, Adaptive Re-use Award, Fit-Out Award, or other desired categories, along with the traditional Laboratory of the Year Award for new construction. All entries, including renovation projects, will be considered equally for the Laboratory of the Year status.

A new or renovated laboratory should have an appropriate site, an appealing architecture, and a functional arrangement that encourages innovation and communication between all users, including scientists, engineers, technicians, students, and support staff. In addition, the facility should provide for the efficient use of resources, the safety of personnel and experiments, convenient/safe ingress and egress for both humans (including handicapped) and materials, and for the humane treatment of animal test subjects if applicable.

Former winning organizations have received international attention and interest from media and potential customers.


  • Read the full competition rules and eligibility requirements below before beginning the entry process.
  • Read  "How to Win a Laboratory of the Year Award"
  • Register your intention to enter the competition, and pay your fee online.
  • Prepare your pdf submittal document and upload it via ftp (see below for details), then notify Julie Higginbotham by e-mail that it has been uploaded.
  • Mail in your dual-CD set of high-res and low-res images (plus captions, photo credits and photographer releases...see below for address).


1.       This competition is for research laboratories, quality assurance/control laboratories, teaching laboratories, software development facilities, environmental laboratories, clinical laboratories, forensic laboratories, and testing and standards labs. For this competition, "laboratory" refers to any building—or wing, addition, or portion of a building—that contains one or more work areas dedicated to research, development, quality assurance, forensic/clinical/environmental functions, or testing and standards.

2.       Any new freestanding laboratory, major interior renovation of an existing laboratory, laboratory created as an addition to an existing building, addition/renovation combination, or laboratory fit-out within an existing building may be entered. New campuses consisting primarily of research facilities are also eligible. Buildings consisting primarily of office space, pilot plants, or manufacturing/production space are not eligible.

3.       Laboratories completed and occupied between August 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012, may be entered. (Laboratories completed after July 31, 2012, may be entered in either the 2013 competition or the 2014 competition, but not in both.)

4.       Laboratories previously entered in this competition are not eligible.

5.       Read "How to Win a Laboratory of the Year Award", which includes tips and a list of judging criteria.



1. REGISTRATION PROCESS AND ENTRY FEE. Visit the 2013 Lab of the Year Registration Page to register your intention to enter and to pay your $275 entry fee.

2. SUBMITTAL DOCUMENT. Prepare a .pdf file presenting your project to the judges. The submittal document must include descriptions and photographs describing the project's objectives, challenges, solutions, and unique features. It should discuss the overall building architecture, site, research, or other scientific activities to be performed in the building, the building program, engineering features, sustainability features, the laboratory design, and any features that are unusual or unique. Include floor plans, elevations, site plans, and any other graphics that will help the judges understand the design. An executive summary or statistics page is mandatory; make sure to include the overall cost (if not confidential), the cost per ft2 and m2, the gross ft2 and m2, and the net to gross ft2 ratio. NO PRINTED SUBMITTAL IS REQUIRED.

To be considered for a Renovated or Adaptive Reuse award, organizations must submit information (graphics and text) describing the space as it existed before the renovation, along with the information detailed elsewhere in this form on the renovation itself. Information on why the change was made, what challenges needed to be overcome, and how those challenges were solved should be included in the entry to assist the judging panel.

A specific "entry data list" must be included in your submittal, detailing information about the parties involved in creating the project. Download Entry Data List. This information may be placed at the front or rear of your submittal, as you choose.

The submittal document with the included entry data list should be uploaded to our ftp site as follows:


user: adpost

password (case sensitive): Advantage1

Navigate to the "Laboratory Design newsletter" folder and put your submittal into the "Lab of the Year submittals" subfolder. Send e-mail to to notify her to retrieve your submittal, which will quickly be removed from the site to ensure your confidentiality.

3. PHOTO CDs (including caption list, photo credits and photographer releases). Submitters must submit no less than 25 and no more than 35 digital images, supplied as duplicate low-resolution and high-resolution image files on two separate CDs (no DVDs please). PowerPoint presentations and Word files with embedded images are not acceptable. High-resolution images should be 300 dpi in .jpg format (.eps, .png or hi-resolution .pdf acceptable for line art such as floor plans and elevations ONLY); low-resolution images should be 72-dpi .jpg files.

File names should be assigned in the order you wish the images to be judged, and should include the order number, the project name, and a one-word description (i.e., 01_projectname_exterior). A separate document should provide a caption and a photographer credit for each image, keyed to the file names.

The image set should include the following: site plan (if applicable); floor plan or plans; at least four exterior views (if applicable to the project); interior views including work areas, six different views of laboratories, and furnishings; and any special outstanding features. Images must show each of the major elevations for new construction/addition submittals. At least one outside view should show the relationship of the new laboratory to neighboring buildings and facilities, if applicable. Make sure that, between the pdf document submittal and the related image set, you have provided adequate written and visual information about the lab and its mission.

Written permission on letterhead must be included from each photographer or photography studio stating that all materials submitted for the 2013 Laboratory of the Year application can be used in R&D Magazine or any other Advantage Business Media publication FREE OF CHARGE for any or all of the following: editorial coverage, advertising, promotional material, or any other purpose deemed necessary by R&D Magazine. Proper credit will be give to the photographer or photography studio if any images are used. Letters from the submitter are not acceptable unless the submitter owns the copyright to the image and attests to this in a written statement. Letters should be included as pdf or word documents on one of the photo CDs.

Send your image CDs to: Julie Higginbotham, Laboratory of the Year, R&D Magazine, 25 Northwest Point Boulevard, Suite 430, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007.



1.       A jury of representatives from the architectural, scientific, and laboratory equipment communities, plus the editors of R&D Magazine and Laboratory Design newsletter, will select the laboratories that merit awards. Judges individually review each entry prior to a roundtable discussion with the editors. At the roundtable meeting, slides are reviewed and winners (if any) are selected.

2.       At the discretion of the judges, multiple Lab of the Year awards may be given as long as the buildings fall into different project categories. High Honors may be awarded to multiple buildings as well, and these can be in the same category. Special Mention awards may be made to facilities with outstanding merit in one specific aspect of design, construction and/or engineering. Honorable Mention awards may be given to facilities of general merit that do not warrant High Honors or Lab of the Year status. The judges may select no winners at all, if none seems worthy.


Entry material and slides will not be returned. All material submitted, including pictures, may be used in R&D Magazine and other Advantage Business Media publications free of charge.

The judging date is February 21, 2013. Winners will be notified within a week of the judging date.

The Laboratory of the Year award presentation will take place at the Spring 2013 Laboratory Design Conference (April 8-10, Houston). Winners are expected to attend the meeting (at least for the afternoon of the award event, April 9) and give presentations detailing their projects. R&D Magazine reserves the right to modify or eliminate the formal presentation program.

Award recipients will be notified before any publicity is sent to the media.