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Competitions and contests

Similar to the exhibitions, these are mass events, where the participants present at a specific venue and during a specified period of time: the results of their work, projects, products, and/or services. A distinguishing characteristic is the jury (or objective rules of the game for some sporting events), which evaluates the participating projects in order to single out a winner. This is true both for the scientific contests (participants usually are students) and the sporting events. Winning awards is the major aim and motivation of the participants.

Sporting events usually focus on an individual sport or a few related sports, while the scientific contests have topics as set by the organiser. Examples are:

  • individual or teams competitions – both scientific and sports
  • contests for best work on a specified topic or a scientific area (e.g. poetry or a mathematical project
  • tournaments – sports or scientific, individual or teams
  • sporting events – individual or teams
  • science fairs – the participants demonstrate the results of their porjects
  • poster sessions – the participants demonstrate the results of their porjects
  • virtual competitions – as above, but participation takes part on the site of the organiser, and the jury and audience view the presentations on-line

The common denominator of these events is that the number of participants is large and they compete to win the event be it by the rules of the game or by convincing the jury in their superiority. The participants are represented by abstracts of their projects in the genetal event materials, but they can also distribute their own handouts to members of the jury and to interested spectators.

The particpants in scientific fairs are usually provided with a booth on the exhibition floor, where they can place their promotional materials and/or demo models.

With these events they may use video clips, computer animation, live presentations, promotional handouts – mostly hard copy, but also on recordable media like CDs, DVDs, and/or flash memory. A site on the Internet provides also a possibility to present the work of the participant in detail, though it is of paramount importance only with the emerging virtual or on-line competitions, where the major presentation and participation media is the World wide web.

Participant materials by media and distribution strategy

The materials, discussed in this section, are the concern of the participants in the event, and not of the organisers. The materials of the organisers are discussed below.

The audio-visual methods to influence the public depend on the size and location of the booth, as well as on the additional services requested by the participant. They include posters to be attached to the walls of the booth, handouts, fully operational or demo models of the processes or products presented, or video projected on a computer screen or the wall of the booth.

Depending on the media, the materials, prepared for a scientific fair, can be:

Type of material Examples Distribution
Printouts Posters, flyers, papers, business cards by hand, by e-mail
е-materials pdf-/text file e-mail, uploading to a web page/site
Multimedia executable file(s) e-mail, handing out of CDs/DVDs, uploading to a web page/site
Web pages (site) html files at a web address (URL) uploading a web site and referring to the link for downloading or on-line viewing

General materials of the organisers

The general promotional meterials of the contest or competition are those, prepared by the organisers.

As a rule, these and similar metrials can be conceived and produced early, after the overall parameters like topic, duration, venue, and dates have become known.

Examples of general promotional materials include, e.g.:

  • Promotional posters. These contain artwork, logos of organisers, sponsors, title of the event, dates and venue. Also contact info, deadlines, key participations. Electronic versions can be produced if the distribution strategy commands it.
  • Flyers, containing title, event description, venue, dates, deadlines, contact information.
  • Promotional objects, like folders, notebooks, pens, pencils, gadgets.
  • Publications in traditional and electronic periodicals, containing title, description, venue, dates, deadlines, contact info.

General organiser-responsibility materials, which are tied to the specific participations, on the other hand, are often not ready until after the expiration of the registration deadlines. Here are a few examples:

  • Program of the event: a leaflet, a brochure, or a poster depending on the size of the event.
  • Map of the exhibition floor: a leaflet, a brochure, or a poster depending on the size of the event, which shows the locations of the individual booths in the exhibition hall.
  • Individual named badges for the registered participants in the event
  • Event abstracts. Often the organisers of the event publish a booklet with the abstracts of the participating projects.

With these events there are also materials, prepared by the organisers, which are finished only after the jury and the audience have made their choice for the winners. These are various cups, flags, diplomas, etc., which bear the names of the respectively ranked participants.

In various tournaments and competitions the organisers can publish a daily bulletin, featuring current results, analyses and participant interviews.

Promotional materials by the participants

As a rule, the exhibitioners are entirely reponsible for the creation, production and distribution of their own handouts.

  • Promotional posters. These contain artwork, logos of organisers, sponsors and/or company/project, title of the event, dates and venue, contact info. Electronic versions can be produced if the distribution strategy commands it.
  • Flyers, containing title, project description, venue, dates, contact information.
  • Papers, presenting the project and its results in an extended form.
  • Business cards with contact info.
  • Demonstration models, assisting the visualisation of the project results.
  • Computer video and/or animations.

E-materials, multimedia, and Internet

All printed materials referenced above can be duplicated as e-materials (e.g., PDF- or text files) to be distributed by e-mail or uploaded to the site of the event or the site of the participant.

Increasingly more often we see one or more dedicated web pages or, more rarely, a dedicated web site.

With the emerging virtual competitions the only presentation of the participants is bye-materials and on the site of the virtual show.

Anticipated distribution (print runs)

With the competitions the anticipated distribution of the materials (respectively, the anticipated number of visits of the specialised web page/site or the number of downloads of e-materials; print-runs of printed materials) depends on the scale of the event and the expected visiting rate. It can range from a few dozens, but can also reach a hundred.