Douglas Smith Student Award recognises outstanding student potential

A national competition to find the most talented PR students in the country has revealed its first winner, runner up, and highly commended scholars.

Jeremy Dickey, 23, an MA student at London’s University of the Arts and a resident of Southwark in London, came first, collected a cheque for £1,000 and a crystal trophy.

Ewan Sanderson, 23, studying PR and Marketing at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, is the runner up.

Kelly Phelps, 23, a student on the Public Relations course at Bournemouth University, was highly commended.

The award ceremony took place at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Jeremy Dickey, winner, Douglas Smith Student Award
Jeremy Dickey, winner, Douglas Smith Student Award, with CIPR
President, Stephen Waddington MCIPR and Pamela Mounter FCIPR

Douglas Smith was also founder member and patron of CIPR International, a former CIPR President and a great supporter of young talent. This award will extend his legacy with a challenge based on a real-life issue facing industry and society. 

Students had to devise a PR campaign based on a fictitious company wanting to launch genetically modified rice in a country with low rainfall. Participants could choose to support, or oppose, its introduction. 

Stephen Waddington MCIPR, Chartered Practitioner, European Digital & Social Media Director at Ketchum & CIPR President 2014
On behalf of the CIPR and the judges I’m pleased to recognise the work of these outstanding students and name the first winners of the Douglas Smith Student Award. This new competition has been created to help distinguish students with the greatest potential and remember a founder of the CIPR, Douglas Smith. All three students submitted entries that reflect the future of public relations; their entries advocated being open, ethically driven, multi-cultural, and took an international outlook.
Stephen Waddington MCIPR, Chartered Practitioner, European Digital & Social Media Director at Ketchum & CIPR President 2014
Jeremy Dickey
Funnily enough, I chose to support the introduction of GM crops because it is the opposite of what I personally believe. I wanted to challenge myself as a budding PR practitioner and stepping out of my comfort zone was rewarding, made me do some serious thinking and allowed me to flex my creative muscle.
Jeremy Dickey
Ewan Sanderson
Being placed second is a great honour and I’m over the moon to have been placed so highly. Although the use of GM crops is widespread in South Africa, only a small percentage of the population understand what it means. That coupled with the risk of contamination to the wider eco system, which in South Africa is incredibly diverse, unique and must be protected, made me decide to oppose its introduction.
Ewan Sanderson
Kelly Phelps
It feels fantastic! I was so happy to be chosen as one of the final six and then to find out that my work has been highly commended by the panel is just amazing. Entering the competition made me realise that when you put your mind to something you can come up with something great. The competition helped me pull together all of the skills that I have learnt, both at university and on my placement, to come up with a persuasive campaign.
Kelly Phelps

A distinguished panel of judges comprised, in addition to the CIPR President, Prof. Anne Gregory, Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, Dominic Fry, Marks and Spencer's Director of Communications and Investor Relations and Sukhjit Grewal, CIPR's Director of Professional Development and Membership.

The Douglas Smith Award takes places annually and is designed to help a new generation of public relations professionals showcase their talent and demonstrate they’re willing to go the extra mile.

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).