For the first time ever, the Communications Team of the Year competition will give individuals in agencies and pharma companies the chance compete side by side.

While the award itself will fall under the Communications Team of the Year umbrella, such is the crossover with the Marketer of the Year competition, the new Aspiring Communications Manager of the Year is open to individuals in agencies and pharma companies. The finals day will be held on 4 October, the same day as the Marketer of the Year finals for the individual categories.

Commenting on the development, director of policy and communications at MSD and executive steering group member Harry Brady says: “I’m delighted that, for the first time, we have Aspiring Communications Manager in the singles category. This is a great reflection of the strategic role that communications now plays in the marketing mix. I think anyone who takes part will enjoy the buzz of responding to a challenging brief, taking ownership of their recommendations, and impressing a panel of experts with their performance.”

Commenting on the criteria, PharmaTimes business manager and competition lead Anna Yeardley says: "You should be a communications manager with approximately three to five years’ communications experience – agency level Account Manager to Account Director or in house equivalent – looking to move up to the next level in strategic planning and leadership.

"You will have built upon your basic knowledge of healthcare communications by working as part of a team to execute communications strategy. You will have managed several projects which contribute to a joined up strategy, from inception to completion, and will understand how to set and evaluate metrics.

"You will be able to demonstrate fundamental communications competencies, including the ability to digest and respond to a brief, assess the market environment, prioritise and identify key insight, and develop workable communications strategies, with a good blend of creativity, risk taking and respect for compliance."

With both the PharmaTimes Marketer of the Year and Communications Team of the Year awards continuing to set a benchmark for excellence now and in the future, this brand new category looks set to open up opportunities, not only for participants, but for the wider industry.

On the challenge ahead, Harry says: “This challenge is deliberately one where we can break down the agency / in-house barrier and simply challenge the individual as a ‘healthcare communicator’. That’s because, at this level, either of these roles could be expected to respond to the brief in the way that Anna sets out above. In real life, the in-house colleague would probably have to pull together the brief themselves, so they may usually stand at an advantage. But the scenario in this challenge with be new to all entrants.”

Healthcare communications agencies are also invited to put forward teams to 'face the panel' in an on-the-day pitch challenge, with the team judged on their ability to answer the brief, play to their strengths and win the challenge. There are three different team awards; one focusing on a challenge in the UK marketplace, one with an international focus and new for 2018, the Charity Challenge.

All finalists will be invited to attend the gala awards and dinner to be held in London in November, alongside the PharmaTimes Marketer of the Year and the all-new Sales Awards, providing a bumper networking opportunity for all.

For more information and to enter, visit