Tips for entering the Making a Difference Awards

Jen O’Brien, Professor of Human Geography, won a Making a Difference Award in 2021 and has supported the writing of several winning awards. She has also been a judge in the Outstanding Contribution to Environmental Sustainability category. Based on her experience she has noted a few points below that could help to strengthen an entry.

All entrants need to address the judging criteria for the category they are entering, however in addition we also recommend considering the broader points below in your entry.

Answer the question

Treat the application like an exam, spend time understanding what the question/category criteria asking of you. Underline the key terms and descriptors and address them in your response.

What you are doing?

You are very close to your project but the judging panel isn’t. Outline clearly what your project/work is, how long it has been running, why it started and it’s aims. Aim to write your entry using language and a description that will help someone who is unfamilar with your area of work understand the project fully. Ask somebody who doesn’t know your work to read your application and check that they understand your project as you intended.

Evidence your impact

Illustrate the scale of the difference you have made with detail. Bring it alive; evidence your hard work and impact.

For example: how many people are involved in and have been impacted by project? Where are they from? Has that number increased year on year? If similar projects exist, what’s the innovation of your approach? Can you share any feedback?

What’s next?

Is your project sustainable? What is your trajectory? How will you build on your success? Can you disseminate your learning?

Proof read

Ideally take time away from the application and return to it with fresh eyes. Better still ask somebody else to read it through. Check for clarity, ease of interpretation, typos and spelling.

Good luck!

For further tips you can watch this workshop (recorded)