The Douglas Smith Student Award

The 2015 Douglas Smith Student Award, which carries with it a £1000 prize, was launched today (19 January 2015).

Organised by CIPR International, the award this year is to develop an international public relations campaign about a new wearable technology product: a contact lens.

Students may decide whether to prepare a PR campaign in support of the product's launch or one for a group which opposes the launch of this contact lens. Ethical considerations should feature highly in this year's topical campaign.

Entrants must be CIPR student members and be on a CIPR-recognised public relations course. The deadline for entries is 31 March 2015.

Download award brief (Word format)

Download student entry form (Word format)

The judging panel includes:

  • Stephen Davies, digital consultant and guru, founder Substantial Digital and Digital Health UK
  • Prof Anne Gregory, chair of the Global Alliance, Professor of Corporate Communications, Strategy, Marketing and Economics
  • Sarah Pinch, President of the CIPR, managing director Pinch Point Communications
  • Stephen Waddington, European Digital and Social Media director, Ketchum, CIPR Immediate Past President, and Visiting Professor of Practice in Public Relations, Newcastle University

The winner will be announced in June 2015.

The Douglas Smith Student Award was created in memory of Douglas Smith, a founder and patron of CIPR International. "Douglas was a great supporter of young and emerging talent and this award is our way of celebrating his memory and continuing his legacy by encouraging the next generation to think internationally," said Eva Maclaine, chair of CIPR International and CIPR Board member.

2014 Douglas Smith Award

Well done to Jeremy Dickey, Ewan Sanderson and Kelly Phelps who were announced at our recent AGM as the top three winners in the CIPR's first Douglas Smith Award.

Our new competition has been created to help identify students with the greatest potential and remember a founder and honorary patron of CIPR International, Douglas Smith.

Jeremy Dickey
Jeremy Dickey being presented with his award by CIPR President, Stephen Waddington (photo credit: Joe Gardner)

Congratulations to:

  • Jeremy Dickey, 23, an MA student at London's University of the Arts, who came first and collected a cheque for £1,000 and a crystal trophy.
  • Ewan Sanderson, 23, studying PR and Marketing at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, who is the runner up.
  • Kelly Phelps, 23, a student on the Public Relations course at Bournemouth University, who was highly commended.

A special well done also to Laura Lovejoy, London's University of the Arts, for successfully making the shortlisted top five finalists; as well as the team submission from Nevena Belovodska, Yunfei Cheng, Mingjie Liu, Diya Deepak and Ivan Lazarov of Newcastle University.

Students devised a PR campaign based on a fictitious company wanting to launch genetically modified rice in a country with low rainfall. They could choose to support, or oppose, its introduction.

Read more about the top five finalists' entries.

Describing his reaction to winning the award Jeremy Dickey said:

Funnily enough, I chose to support the introduction of GM crops because it is the opposite of what I personally believe. I wanted to challenge myself as a budding PR practitioner and stepping out of my comfort zone was rewarding, made me do some serious thinking and allowed me to flex my creative muscle.

Our CIPR President, Stephen Waddington, said of the winners:

All three students submitted entries that reflect the future of public relations; they advocated being open, ethically driven, multi-cultural, and took an international outlook.

Describing his reaction to being runner up for the award, Ewan Sanderson said:

Being placed second is a great honour and I'm over the moon to have been placed so highly. Although the use of GM crops is widespread in South Africa, only a small percentage of the population understand what it means. That, coupled with the risk of contamination to the wider eco system, which in South Africa is incredibly diverse, unique and must be protected, made me decide to oppose its introduction.

Kelly Phelps, who won highly commended, also said:

It feels fantastic! I was so happy to be chosen as one of the final six and then to find out that my work has been highly commended by the panel is just amazing. Entering the competition made me realise that when you put your mind to something you can come up with something great. The competition helped me pull together all of the skills that I have learnt, both at university and on my placement, to come up with a persuasive campaign.

Our distinguished judging panel was made up of:

  • CIPR President, Stephen Waddington
  • Global Alliance Chair, Prof. Anne Gregory
  • Marks & Spencer Director of Communications and Investor Relations, Dominic Fry
  • CIPR Director of Professional Development & Membership, Sukhjit Grewal

Read more about the judges.

We created the new, annual award to celebrate the memory of Douglas Smith, a founder and patron of CIPR International. He was a great supporter of young talent and this award is CIPR International's way of honouring him and encouraging the next generation to think internationally.

Over the next few weeks we will be showcasing the people and ideas behind our top five Douglas Smith Award 2014 finalists in a series of CIPR International blogs written by the students.