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FAQ - Real-Life Submissions

Deciding whether to enter and choosing a category

Q. I did a great piece of work a couple of years ago but couldn’t submit it for a BOBI award due to commercial sensitivity at the time. Would it be worth entering this now?


Yes. Work can be up to three years old as of 31st December. It may be easier to demonstrate business impact with older projects, and it could also be easier to get sign off from senior management.

Q. I’m not sure which category to enter - can you help?


You will need to decide which category to enter based on a combination of which category you would most like to win and which category you believe you have the best chance of success in. We can provide advice here, so please do contact the BHBIA ( and a member of the BOBI Committee will be in touch. 

A given programme/project can only be entered in one category.

Q. Can I enter the same project in more than one category?


No. A given programme/project may only be entered in one category

Q. My project is a small UK only piece of research – can my entry realistically compete with large global study that might also be entered in my category?


Yes. Impact will be assessed relative to expectations and based on the UK element of the work – so a small UK-only project with modest objectives can compete fairly with a far-reaching global programme.  

Please don’t be put off by the need to show impact – it’s just one element of the assessment and there are many ways to demonstrate it: see 'Top Tips' section. 

Q. Can I enter a category that my company is sponsoring?



We recognise that sponsors are likely to choose to sponsor a category that aligns with their own areas of expertise, so it’s not surprising that they may have projects that could form the basis of a strong entry in that category.  

It is very important that the judging process is impartial and the way we manage this is to ensure that sponsors are completely excluded from any part of the judging process – so there is no conflict of interest.

Q. Can I enter the same project that I entered for a BOBI award in a previous year?


You may submit programmes/projects that were entered for previous BOBI Awards (and did not win!) if new supporting evidence has become available. This can be either the same category entered previously, or a different category.

Perhaps new evidence of impact has come to light, or you may have completed an additional phase of the research project or some supplementary analysis that makes it more compelling.

(But remember work must have been completed in the last 3 years, as of 31st December).

Q. My project is good, but it’s not particularly innovative. Could it still win a BOBI Award?


Yes. You should not discount a project just because you think it is too 'ordinary'. The BOBIs are about celebrating and rewarding excellence in business intelligence and judges are looking for excellent execution, clear findings and tangible evidence that it made a difference.

Of course, demonstration of innovation is important if you are entering the 'Best Use of Innovation' category!

Q. Is there any limit to the number of entries my company can submit?


No, there is no limit to the number of entries any individual or company may submit - as long as each entry relates to a different programme/project.

However, the judges reserve the right to limit the number of highly commended entries from the same organisation, in the event of that organisation submitting multiple high quality entries in a given category.

The judges also reserve the right to commend an entry in a different category from the one entered and/or to disqualify entries that do not meet the stipulated format.


Q. What about confidentiality – who is going to be looking at my entry and who will know that I have entered?


Judging panels for each category are carefully selected to avoid any conflicts of interest. All judges will have signed a confidentiality undertaking, and are bound by this undertaking not to use or discuss any information contained in the entries outside of the process.

Judges will not see the names of individuals who have entered – i.e. they won’t have access to the personal details on the entry form, they will only review the PowerPoint submission.

You also have an opportunity (on the entry form) to specify any organisations whose employees you do not wish to view your entry, and judges from those companies will be excluded from your category. Judging panels are drawn from across the BHBIA membership.Please try not to exclude companies unless it's essential, as this can make it difficult for us to appoint a balanced panel.

Hints and tips for a strong submission

Q. What will make my entry stand out?

  • Write in a very clear style that a lay person can understand – remember not everyone knows as much about the project and why it was done as you do! 
  • Look at the specific description for your category - this gives you an idea of the criteria against which your entry will be judged. Try to demonstrate why you think the project qualifies for the award you are submitting it for. e.g. If it is for Best Customer Insight what was the insight? etc. 
  • Challenge yourself to communicate what is different about your project: in the methodology, execution, implementation of findings by the business and end results. Give the judges ‘reasons to believe’.
  • If the project involved a wider group, then try and incorporate some feedback or comments from these people.
  • Include specific details as much as possible. It’s understandable that you don’t want to give away a differential advantage but if you hold back vital information it may make the project less compelling. Remember that only a small group of judges will be reviewing your entry, they will treat it in the strictest confidence and you can specify any companies (both pharma and agencies) that should not see your entry.
For more guidance see our 'Top Tips' resource

Q. What are the common pitfalls that I should avoid?

  • Check for spelling and grammar – errors create an impression that a lack of care has been taken and can detract from your entry’s strengths.  
  • Don’t cut and paste chunks of text from your original proposal – it is obvious when this has been done and suggests little effort has gone into the submission! 
  • Don’t include loads of data - the BOBI Awards are about interpretation of the findings, not the analysis.
  • Entries are often criticised for lack of clarity. We suggest that you get someone not involved in the project to read through your entry and provide you with objective feedback. Is it clear and concise? Could someone with no background in the project understand it?

Q. Can you clarify what is meant by ‘impact on a pharma/healthcare company's UK business’?


For Best Business Impact you must show impact on the UK pharma/healthcare company's business, but for other categories impact on patients and/or the NHS is also valid.

Impact on the business could be demonstrated in a number of ways; you do not necessarily have to show an increase in sales/share. Examples might be: a change in brand or field force strategy, an improvement in organisational or commercial effectiveness, a change in attitudes/practices within an organisation or even a decision not to do something. 

It doesn’t matter where the office or people who conducted the work are based, as long as the work they did impacted on the UK and it is possible to enter a multi-country project, as long as a significant section of the work relates to the UK.

Actual impact – on any of the parameters discussed – will carry more weight than implied impact or expectation of future impact.

Entry requirements

Q. Is a client company required for submission or can an agency enter alone?


No, we do not require you to involve a client in the submission, though generally there will be an end client and it’s likely you’d need their permission if you are going to submit an entry that refers to work they commissioned.

In cases where work was done for a client company the judges look for evidence of successful teamwork/collaboration - so joint entries, where the agency and client have worked together on the submission, are likely to be favoured. Entrants are also encouraged to involve sub-contractors – e.g. the fieldwork/data collection agency – in the submission and the credits.

Q. We have a healthcare client that is not a pharma company but one making devices. Can we still submit an entry for this work?


Yes, this is fine. We welcome submissions involving any client company manufacturing or marketing pharmaceuticals or other products in the field of healthcare. Submissions with NHS or charity partners are also welcome. The key thing is that there should be a demonstrable positive impact on the UK business, patients or the NHS, as a result of the business intelligence programme or project that has been conducted.

Q. My executive summary is 120 words – if my overall submission is within the word count does this matter?


Yes. Please stick to the 100 words. We need texts to be within this limit for inclusion in publicity of the highly commended entries/winners. If your executive summary is longer, we will cut it down for publication and important content could be lost.

Q. Does my executive summary have to be anonymised?


All or part of the executive summary may be reproduced if your entry is highly commended or wins (for example in publications connected with the event), so you need to ensure you are happy for the content of this section to be made public. If you wish you can choose not to name the product and/or disease area in the executive summary, but this is entirely up to you. Historically, we have found that most entrants do name the product/disease area (if applicable) in the executive summary. 

Q. If I inadvertently stray slightly from the specified format, will I be disqualified?


Not if you have clearly made an effort to stick to the overall format.

If we need you to amend anything we will contact you.

We are keen to make it straightforward to enter and the specified framework is intended to help, not hinder this. 

Q. Can I include additional data as an appendix?


No, all the information needs to be in your PowerPoint submission (and in the main body of the slides, not the notes).

The only exception to this is that you may include link(s) to video, as long as the total running time for any video links / animations does not exceed 5 minutes.

Entrants are assessed on their ability to get across the key messages in a concise way and this also ensures that submissions are manageable for the judges to review.

Q. Is there any flexibility on the deadline?


No, there is a strict cut-off point of 5pm on the day of the deadline.(Note: in previous years we have accepted entries later in the evening, but this causes problems if people have technical difficulties submitting their entries as there are no office staff available to help. Therefore we are now closing entries at 5pm).  

If you have not managed to obtain final sign-off, you may submit your entry by the deadline and have the option to withdraw it within 2 business days - if approval is not obtained, by notifying us at: However, you cannot make any changes to your entry once it has been submitted.

Further information

Q. How will I know my entry has been received?


You will receive an automated notification email when you submit your entry form (if not, or if you have any concerns over whether your entry has been uploaded, please contact us immediately – please do not wait until the deadline has passed).

We will acknowledge all entries by the end of February.

Q. Will I get feedback on my submission?


Yes. All Entrants will get constructive feedback.

If your entry is not selected as highly commended you will receive feedback by the end of April.

Feedback on highly commended entries (including winners) will be provided in May, once the winners have been announced.

Q. Who do I contact with any outstanding questions or queries?


Please email us: and the admin team will either answer your query directly, or refer you to someone who can help.

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