The awards capped a 2-hour competition in which judges went from poster to poster, hearing short presentations from researchers and asking rapid-fire questions. The decisions were difficult in both categories, the judges said. The judges in the innovations category, for instance, deliberated at a table outside the exhibit hall for about 20 minutes before coming to a decision.
The pool of 20 finalists – 10 in each category – were chosen from hundreds of submissions considered during the final two rounds of judging on Tuesday night. In the research category, 261 abstracts were accepted from the 319 submitted; in the innovations category, 140 were accepted from the 207 submitted.