2024 Ergo Cup® Competition FAQ

The following FAQs address common questions the Ergo Cup® Committee receives during the registration process and feedback received after the conference. We value your opinion and consider each suggestion for opportunities to improve the Ergo Cup competition.

The competition is sponsored by The Ergonomics Center of North Carolina and  Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University.

The Ergo Cup Categories and judging criteria have been updated for 2024.

Six (6) Ergo Cup awards and Six (6) Ergo Excellence Awards will be presented celebrating outstanding, innovative solutions that address an organization's ergonomics challenges and improve their ergonomic processes and systems. The Ergo Cup winners will be selected by an invited panel of judges. All finalists will be presented with a plaque in recognition of their participation.

See the main Ergo Cup webpage for a complete description of these categories and judging criteria.

What are the expectations of competing in the 2024 Ergo Cup Competition?

Finalists accepted to compete in the 2024 Ergo Cup Competition will be expected to:

  1. Develop and submit a project brochure that summarizes your project
  2. Develop and submit a project video (no more than 3 minutes in length) that highlights your project
  3. Develop a virtual booth, within the conference platform, that includes your project, description, brochure and video.
  4. Attend the live conference, create and staff an exhibit booth (with a minimum of two (2) team members present) in order to be eligible to compete for the Ergo Cup® and Ergo Excellence Awards

I want to submit my Ergo Cup® project, but I'm not sure which category to select in the submission process?

The Ergo Cup categories have changed for the 2024 Ergo Cup Competition. There are now the following six (6) categories:

  1. Task-Focused Workplace Solution: Manual Material Handling Tasks
  2. Task-Focused Workplace Solution: Repetitive and/or Awkward Posture Tasks
  3. Task-Focused Workplace Solution: Maintenance and Other Non-Standard Tasks
  4. Task-Focused Workplace Solution: Miscellaneous or Multi-Task
  5. New Product or New Job Design Solutions
  6. Ergonomics Program Improvement Initiatives

Descriptions of these categories can be found on the main Ergo Cup webpage. Organizations will be asked to select the primary task type and a secondary task type in the submission process, so please just choose the closest category you feel your project represents. Some helpful tips for choosing the four (4) Task-Focused Workplace Solution categories can be found below:

  • Manual material handing tasks are typically any routine lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing, pulling, or pulling tasks.
  • Repetitive and/or awkward posture tasks could include repetitive hand tool use, repetitive overhead work, repetitive or static back bending, etc.
  • Maintenance and other non-standard tasks could include any infrequent, non-routine tasks such as maintenance operations, changeovers, inspections that are typically non-standardized.
  • The miscellaneous or multi-task category addresses task that don't fit cleanly into any of the three task type categories above or tasks that have significant components across the task types.

NOTE: AEC reserves the right to move any submission between the task types and/or Ergo Cup categories. Team contacts will be notified if this occurs.

I have heard that the Business Impact judging criteria is very important to a successful Ergo Cup® Competition entry. Can you provide specific guidelines that the Ergo Cup Committee is looking for?

Yes, it is and the business impact is of great interest to the conference registrants who will stop by your booth or see your project's virtual booth available to conference attendees. Business impact/ROI should consider both direct injury cost savings (medical and lost time) but also productivity, efficiency, quality, and performance improvements. The ergonomic solution preferably should have been implemented for at least one (1) full-year (except for the New Product or New Job Design Solutions category) and those savings should be actual and not potential. There is great flexibility in how you present your business impact, but please be as specific as you can.

How long does our ergonomic solution have to be implemented to be eligible to compete in the Ergo Cup® Competition?

Any organization that can demonstrate an effective ergonomics solution or ergonomics program improvement initiative within the last 24 months is eligible to compete. The ergonomic solution preferably should have been implemented at least one (1) full year and actual business impact savings and ROI results should be presented. The exception to this is for projects that fall into the New Product or New Job Design Solutions category. This new Ergo Cup Category will celebrate organizations and projects that incorporate ergonomics into their Prevention Through Design initiatives.

Can our project highlight how it enhanced Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) within our organization?

Absolutely! While the main intent of the Business Impact judging criteria is to highlight the cost savings and positive ROI of the project, companies can also highlight how their project or solution considered and/or enhanced DEI. Examples include expanded strength capability, size and/or age accommodations, tools that can be used by either hand, language translation, physical/visual/mental impairment accommodations, the use of graphics for low-literacy accommodation, etc.

Can an intervention or a portion of an engineering intervention in any Ergo Cup category be a purchased piece of equipment from a vendor?

For the most part no. Remember, the Ergo Cup is intended to award "Innovation." The Ergo Cup Committee will carefully review each registration to ensure that the solution is indeed creative, novel, innovative and the result of the work from internal organizational stakeholders, not outside vendors. There are many examples of vendor-based solutions with great ROI results, but the differentiation of the Ergo Cup is to showcase the excellent interventions designed and developed "in-house."

We have totally automated our production line, thereby eliminating ergonomic risks. Will this project be accepted into the engineering category?

No. While we applaud eliminating risks, to be an Ergo Cup Competition entry you need to still have employees involved in the process. For example, purchasing a robot to stack pallets is a great solution, but not one that would be considered for the Ergo Cup Competition.

We are only a small company. Do we really have a chance to win the Ergo Cup?

Yes! Size of the company is not part of the judging criteria nor is a consideration by the judging committee for winning an Ergo Cup. Small employers have won an Ergo Cup in the past. It is all about the project.  

If we submit an entry into the Ergo Cup Competition, does that mean we are automatically accepted as a finalist?

No. The Ergo Cup Committee carefully reviews all the submissions and selects those that we feel best meet the criteria set forth on the website as finalists. Each year a number of entries do not make the cut.

Who are the Ergo Cup Committee members and can I become a member?

Absolutely! The Ergo Cup Committee is made up of volunteers selected by the Ergo Cup committee chairs. The only prerequisite is that committee members be experienced ergonomics practitioners. Each request is considered individually. There are no degree or certification requirements to be a member of the committee.

Who are the Ergo Cup Competition judges and can I become an Ergo Cup judge?

Judges of the Ergo Cup Competition are Ergo Cup Committee members who are also willing to judge the finalists (live and in-person at AEC). Judges are approved by the Ergo Cup Chairs. Like the Ergo Cup committee members, judges must be experienced ergo practitioners. An Ergo Cup committee member or judge will not evaluate an Ergo Cup registration or judge a finalist from their own company or from a project in which they have served as a consultant. If you are interested in being a judge, seek out the Ergo Cup co-chairs or a member of the Ergo Cup Committee.

Will there be time for our Ergo Cup team to take advantage of the educational sessions at the conference?

Yes. A judging schedule will be provided to the teams that provides an approximate date/time during the conference for teams to be in their booth to present to the Ergo Cup judges. Teams will also receive a schedule with the dedicated Exhibit Hours in which they should plan to have coverage (at least one person) at the booth. Such scheduling and coverage allow team members to attend educational sessions throughout the conference.

We are considering some "creative" enhancements to our booth setup. Are we restricted to what enhancements we can make?

Yes. While creativity is encouraged, there are limits. Your booth set-up is limited to a 10' X 10' space with 3' side panels and an 8' back wall. Exhibits and display fixtures cannot obstruct sight lines of neighboring exhibits. 8' is allowed only in the rear half of the booth space, with a 4' height restriction imposed on all materials in the remaining space forward to the aisle. It is our goal to provide each booth full visibility from the aisles. If an Ergo Cup booth interferes with this sightline, the offending portion of the exhibit may need to be removed. Displays or hands-on demonstrations outside of dedicated booth space will not be considered by Ergo Cup judges, as this could present an unfair advantage.

We are considering offering a gift raffle to attract attendees to our booth. Are we allowed to hold raffle events in our booth?

We discourage any and all booth events or activities that might be perceived by other Ergo Cup finalists as an advantage by one finalist over another. A raffle might be construed as such an advantage so no. This is more of an issue with the Ergo Cup Excellence Awards which are selected by the conference registrants more than the Ergo Cup Award winners selected by the judges.

My innovative product is commercially available for sale. Can we submit this as an Ergo Cup entry?

Commercially available products are NOT in the spirit of the Ergo Cup Competition and do not qualify for the competition. The Ergo Cup Competition provides an exciting opportunity for companies to highlight their successful ergonomic solutions and promotes the development of an ergonomics culture within companies.

Our ergonomic solution is going through the "patent pending" process. When should the application for the Ergo Cup® Competition be submitted?

We recommend that any potential Ergo Cup application not be submitted until the "patent" process is complete. Part of the competition process is sharing your solution with the conference registrants and judges. If this interferes with the potential "patent" of your solution, we suggest you submit your application after the patent process is complete.

Social Media – Can our organization promote our Ergo Cup booth via social media?

Yes, but please do so ethically. Promoting the conference, the Ergo Cup Competition, and trying to attract attendees to your booth is good use of social media. However, please refrain from any negative or derogatory posts about fellow contestant companies.

If you have additional questions, please contact IISE at cs@iise.org.