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Knowledge Awards 2021: Quality Improvement Champions

We are delighted to bring you the Knowledge Awards for 2021, focused on continuous quality improvement (QI).

Who is eligible for this award?

The award is open to anyone within the veterinary industry.

This includes those from a practice setting, for example from the administration team, veterinary nurses, practice managers and surgeons at all levels.  

New this year, we are also welcoming applications from under- and post-graduate educators or learners/students who enhance the awareness and development of QI skills in the veterinary and veterinary nursing professions. Eligible applications to this new category could take the form of students using QI methodology as part of their education, such as clinical audits, drawing up clinical guidelines or other techniques. Educators should demonstrate how they are teaching QI methodology to better equip students for practice. We encourage anyone undertaking high-quality activity in this area to enter.

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What is the award for?

The award aims to recognise those individuals and teams who are focusing on driving continuous improvements for better outcomes for patients, better service provision to clients, an improved business and environmental case, or better working conditions for the team. Applications could, for example,

  • encompass a strategic approach across a large practice group or across a geographical area,
  • be from an individual
  • be from a practice team,
  • be from a student using QI methodology as part of their education
  • be from an educator teaching QI methodology to better equip students for practice

Applicants can apply as an individual or as part of a team. Colleagues can also nominate others for the award.

Knowledge Champions will be assessed on their passion for QI, and for encouraging and championing QI.

Winners will be announced in early 2021

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What will my application be assessed against?

Applications are blinded and assessed by a panel of reviewers. The panel uses the following criteria to score applications. All applications must have the best interests of animal welfare at its heart.

The application should be well articulated, and should demonstrate:

  • a commitment to Quality Improvement
  • the use of evidence-based approaches
  • a learning culture
  • leadership for a whole team approach
  • the use of Quality Improvement techniques for excellence in care, evidenced by improvements (or lessons in how to achieve improvements) in any of the following, as applicable:
    • animal welfare,
    • clinical outcomes,
    • client satisfaction,
    • experience of the caregivers,
    • efficiency,
    • public perception of the profession,
    • environmental benefits,
    • financial effectiveness.

For applications from a teaching setting, we are assessing how well students are equipped to apply these skills in a practice setting.

For those from a practice setting, we are particularly interested in applications that demonstrate how Quality Improvement has been embedded as part of business-as-usual (it is “the way we do things”, rather than an add-on to the day-job).

The case example, which is included as part of the application, should inspire others within the veterinary professions towards a culture of continuous Quality Improvement.

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What happens if my application is selected as a winner?

Successful applicants will become Knowledge Champions and have the opportunity to work with RCVS Knowledge to share their experiences in quality improvement, speaking at a conference and/or be published in a journal such as Veterinary Evidence. Champions will receive support from the RCVS Knowledge team.

Knowledge Champions receive a £250 prize and are invited to attend an award ceremony and will be reimbursed up to £200 towards reasonable travel costs to attend the event at which this ceremony is held. If a winning application was made for a practice/ organisation – rather than an individual – then a representative will be invited to attend the awards ceremony.

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Applications and Nominations
  • Apply for a QI Award

To apply yourself or on behalf of your team: please download and complete the application form, and writing your case example about your QI initiative before 30th November 2020. Both applicants and nominees will need to read the terms and conditions of the award.

  • Nominate colleagues for a QI Award

To nominate an individual or a team: please download and complete the short nomination form explaining why you have nominated this individual/team before 16th October 2020. Once we receive this, we will contact the nominee directly, inviting them to complete this nominee form. On this form, the nominee will give us a more detailed insight into their QI initiative by writing a case example. This will be presented to our review panel alongside the other applications. Both applicants and nominees will need to read the terms and conditions of the award.

All the documents you need are available to download at the bottom of this page. Please send the completed documents to us by email ( or by post.

Closing dates

For nominations: 16th October 2020

For an application (whether you have applied directly or have been nominated): 30th November 2020

Want to know more about QI?

If you would like to know more about QI, take a look at our resources.

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Our previous champions

Take a look at previous Knowledge Award Champions and their winning case examples.

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Updated: 22/07/2020