The “Best Method” award was instituted and awarded by the Society at the 42nd annual conference in 2014. The award is presented to a young researcher for the best method (originality/appropriateness and correctness) showcased during an oral presentation (in Physiological Sciences) that has been entered into the Wyndham Competition, or as part of the posters sessions (Johnny van der Walt Competition) at the Annual PSSA Conference. The award allows for innovative and inventive scientific techniques to be recognized.
Rules of the “Best Method” Award
- The award is presented to a researcher that has been entered into the Wyndham competition.
- The award is open to young researchers in the Physiological Sciences who are registered as STUDENTS at any tertiary institution in Southern Africa.
- Entrants for the award may not be older than 30 years of age at the time of the competition, nor may they already be in possession of a PhD (or equivalent) degree.
- Tenured or full-time lecturers or researchers at a tertiary education institution are excluded from the award. Bursary holders and students in temporary research assistant posts are, however, not excluded.
- The entrant must be the principal investigator of the project to be presented. This must be confirmed in writing by the Head of the Department that is sponsoring the student’s participation in the Wyndham Competition.
- Entrants need not be members of the PSSA. Entrants must, however, be bona fide students at a tertiary institution in Southern Africa. This must also be confirmed in writing by the Head of the Department that is sponsoring the student’s participation in the Wyndham Competition.
- Only one presentation per entrant per PSSA Conference is permitted for competition purposes.
- A student may enter for this award at more than one conference of the PSSA (i.e. participation in the competition is not limited to one year per lifetime), BUT previous winners of the Wyndham competition or “Best Method” award are not allowed to participate in the competition for a second time.
- Each entrant will be assessed based on an oral presentation together with question time.
- The presentations are judged by a panel of no fewer than 6 judges, who are members of the PSSA (but may include prominent scientists who have been invited to the PSSA conference as guest speakers). The judges are appointed by the Council of the PSSA. They are chosen for their current active involvement in research and the supervision of postgraduate students.
- Each judge evaluates the methods (originality/appropriateness and correctness) of each of the presentations. The overall impression of a presentation is therefore generated by the results of all the judges’ evaluations: each judge listing his/her top 5 candidates in order of merit with the top candidate receiving a score of 1, the next a score of 2, and so on. Anyone not placed is given a score of 6. A candidate’s score is the sum of the scores awarded to that candidate by the six judges. The winner is the candidate with the lowest score.
- In this manner each judge’s opinion carries a weight equal to that of each of the others, and no single judge can monopolize the awarding system.
- The quality or contents of the abstract, which describes the candidate’s work, shall NOT be taken into account when selecting the winner. The reason for this is that many of the candidates are Honors students who only start their projects in March, and have to submit their abstracts for the conference before the results of their experiments become available.
- In general only one winner is selected from the list of entrants and only the winner’s name is made public.
- The winner of the Wyndham competition prize may not win the “Best Method” award.
- The prize consists of a certificate and a cash prize.
- Winners of the “Best Method” award will NOT be eligible for a sponsored trip to attend the next IUPS Congress.