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PACE 2020 | How to apply for a PACE Award

Welcome to the online PACE Award application site.  Over the years of the PACE Awards program the judges have refined the questions and the information required to assess and perform the comparative evaluations of innovations that represent the leading edge of technical competence in the global automotive industry.  The PACE Award judging panel includes industry veterans who recognize the sensitivity and the confidentiality of the technical and commercial information included in the application process.  (Note: The content of PACE Award applications is used exclusively by the judging panel and is not shared with Automotive News or the PACE Award sponsors without express written permission by the applicants.)  This page describes the application process and if you have a game changing innovation in the automotive passenger or commercial vehicle industry, we hope you will apply.   (An outline of the complete application is available here and we strongly recommend that you review the PACE Judges' Guidelines)


The PACE Award cycle begins with the opening of the on-line application process in June and carries through to award ceremonies in April that coincide with the start of SAE Week in Detroit.  Key milestones include:

-       Application Entry Period - (June - Aug) Online user registration and application process is available at  Discounted fees for applications completed and paid prior to the Early Entry Cutoff Date

-       Review & Finalist Vetting - (September - October) Applications are reviewed by a Sub-Committee of Vetting Judges to select Finalists from the nominated entries.  Notification occurs in mid-October and Finalist Site Visits are scheduled for November-December

-       Judges' Meeting to Select PACE Award Winners - (February) Full Judges' panel meets to review Finalist Site Visit findings and select PACE Award Winners.

-       Awards Ceremony - (April) PACE Awards winners announced during awards ceremony held at the beginning of SAE Week in Detroit.



Step 1: User Registration

Due to the sensitivity and confidentiality of the information in the PACE Awards application the site restricts access to registered users using an approved USER ID and PASSWORD. 

The PACE Awards site uses your EMAIL ADDRESS as the USER ID for two reasons, it is one less ID to have to remember and it also serves to validate your connection with the applying company.  (For this reason, we discourage the use of personal (e.g. Gmail, Hot Mail, AOL, etc.) email addresses for registering on the site.)  User information also forms the basis for the contact information needed for your PACE Award application(s).  (You may edit the contact information when completing Part 1 application if you wish to substitute an alternate contact.) 

Once the registration is complete and accepted by the PACE Awards program administrator, a welcome message including the login credentials is sent to the registrant.

Step 2: Innovation Application (Parts 1 & 2)


Application: Part 1

In Part 1, the innovation is registered with the program and includes:

-       Innovation Title

o   How the judges and Automotive News will refer to your innovation in internal and external communications

-       Executive Summary (Brief Abstract)

o   Concise (200-250 word maximum) description of the essence of your innovation. 

-  Note: You may edit/refine the abstract up to the time the application is submitted to the judging panel as a completed (Final) entry.

-       Identification of the innovation source and its first appearance

o   In the event the innovation is selected as a Finalist, an address is requested for the location of a site visit. 

-       Business Unit and Contact Information


Application Fees

Once the entry is registered in the system you may click on the fee button to see the options for paying the entry fees including: 1) Secure on-line payment, 2)Check by mail, or 3) Credit card payment over the phone to:


Ellen M. Dennehy - PACE Award Program Administrator - +1 313-446-6039


Fees may be paid at any time, but the final amount will be determined based on the timing of the final submission


For Companies with Multiple Applications

Breaking the application into two parts is designed to facilitate the ability of companies to create and coordinate multiple applications.  The applicant's coordinator can start the process by completing Part-1 for all of the company's innovations and then assign the application to individual business units/partners to complete the remainder of the application.  (The business units may also edit/refine the Part 1 information before the application is submitted to the judging panel, so there is no issue with the coordinator starting with incomplete or unpolished information.)


Application: Part 2

Part 2 Instructions - Expand on the abstract in Part 1 to tell the whole story of this innovation.

After reading Part 2, the judges should have a detailed understanding of:

-      Why this innovation is compelling to OEM customers, consumers, and competitors

o   What problems the innovation solved

o   Impact on quality, functionality, cost, time-to-market, environmental impact, occupant protection, and customer enthusiasm

o   How the innovation reduced complexity and lowered barriers to adoption

-       How the automotive marketplace responded to the innovation. (i.e. How the innovation changes the competitive dynamics in its segment)

o   Including customers, consumers, competitors, and non-adopters

-       What makes the innovation an example of Discontinuous Improvement

o   Beyond the predictable/expected next evolutionary stage of an existing product/process

o   Beyond incrementally better than the prior "best available technology"

o   Beyond the expectations of good engineering

In Part 2 applicants provide detailed information including:

-       Documentation of customer acceptance of the innovation

o   Identification of OEM customers and vehicle programs utilizing the innovation

-       Discussion of the problems/opportunities addressed by the innovation

-       Analysis of the innovation's competitive impact

-       Documentation of the innovation's key performance measures and the results achieved

-       Description of the challenges/barriers to the innovation

-       Documentation of patents and awards received for the innovation

-       Identification of key (external) contributors

Special consideration for OEM Involvement and/or Environmental Dimensions

-       Identification of applications with examples of extraordinary collaboration between the applicant and an OEM

o   Note: This is an OPTIONAL question to identify significant examples of OEM partnering and collaboration well beyond the norm in today's collaborative engineering environment

-       Identification of innovations with a significant environmental impact

o   Note: This is an OPTIONAL section if you believe your innovation has a particularly strong and significant story to tell in terms of contributing to environmental sustainability or dealing with environmental problems.

 Applicants for Information Technology innovations are asked to complete three additional questions

-       How does the technology go beyond the automation of current best practices

-       What are the benefits of the technology versus the implementation of process discipline

-       How broadly deployed is the technology

Dealing with Sensitive & Confidential Information

The PACE Award judges having held senior positions within OEM and supplier companies appreciate that this section encompasses an automotive supplier's most sensitive and precious information.  We take very seriously our responsibilities in preserving the confidentiality of your answers, and you should be aware that in the eighteen years of the PACE Awards program we have a perfect record of holding technical, commercial, (e.g. Cost, margin, etc.) competitive, and customer information (e.g. OEM commitments, est. volumes, etc.) in the strictest confidence.  In completing Part 2 you can have our absolute assurance that your application:

-       Is ONLY used in internal deliberations by the independent judging panel

-       Is NOT shared with the Automotive News editorial staff, OEMs, or competing suppliers, and

-       Is NEVER published nor communicated, in whole or in part, outside of the judging panel, without the express written permission of the applying company.   


Application: Attachments & Supplemental Materials

PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, Word Documents and other digital media may be uploaded directly to the PACE Awards site as part of the application and applicants are provided with a mechanism for adding a brief description to each uploaded item. 

Five (5) copies of all Samples, Printed Materials, (e.g. Annual Reports, Brochures, etc.) and Physical Media (e.g. CDs, DVDs, USB Drives, etc.) should be forwarded to arrive BEFORE the application deadline to: 

Ellen M. Dennehy
Automotive News
1155 Gratiot Avenue
Detroit, Michigan USA 48207

Office +1.313.446.6039

Note: Applicants should develop a Bill of Materials ("BoM") for attachments and supplemental materials using the Attachments... tab on the online application to ensure that the judges are alerted to look for supplemental materials during the review process.

Applicants are strongly urged to include samples of product innovations.  If pictures are "worth a thousand words," then samples speak volumes.  For product innovations where the size, cost, or availability of the innovation makes it difficult for the applicant, you should consider including at least one (1) sample with your entry.  (Note: Samples submitted with applications will be destroyed following the judging process and cannot be returned.)


Application: Customer References

PACE Award applications generally require two (2) OEM Customer References.  Under certain circumstances, (e.g. Internal Process Innovations) OEM references may not be applicable, but non-OEM Customer References must be explicitly called out with a brief explanation as to why OEMs were NOT used as a reference


Application: Adding Team Members to Contribute or Review Your Application

The online application process includes an ability to add reviewers, editors and other contributors into the PACE Award application process.  After completing the Part 1 application and storing it on the server, clicking the My Applications button will provide you with the option of adding Editors/Writers for that application.  You supply the email address of the person you want to add to your team and they will receive a single use link for accessing your application.  A couple of notes about the Editor/Writer process:

-       Team members have the same create/edit/delete abilities as the primary application owner and have complete visibility into the entire contents of the application

o   The only exception is that they do NOT have visibility into the payment status nor credit card information used to pay the application fee

o   The primary application owner should caution team members to be very careful when accessing the Review & Submit Application tab, as there is no provision for blocking them from submitting the application

-       Only the primary application owner has the ability to add new members or remove members

-       The system only retains the last saved version of any application part, so it is the applicant's responsibility to manage multiple writers working on the same section (i.e. Part 1 or Part 2).

o   It may be easier to assign individual questions to members of your team and then use a single coordinator to assemble their input into the application form.


Application: Updating the Application

Edits to you application will be accepted by the system up to a) the application deadline, or b) you mark the application as FINAL and submit it for evaluation.  Preliminary/intermediate work in process versions of your applications have no impact on the judging process  

Step 3: Application Review & Submission


Internal Review

Applicants have the opportunity to perform a final application review prior to marking it as FINAL and submitting it to the PACE Award panel.  Under the Review & Submit Application tab, there is both an online representation as well as the opportunity to generate a PDF version of your complete application including the BoM for attachments and supplemental materials.


Submitting the Application

Once the applicant is satisfied that the application is complete and the fees are settled (The final fee status (Early/Normal/Late) is determined by the date.) the last step is to check the box confirming the status as FINAL and clicking on the SUBMIT APPLICATION button.  At that point the application will be locked, no further edits will be accepted, and the application will be reviewed. 


Quick Check by the PACE Award Team

The first step in the review process is a Quick Check by a PACE Award program administrator who will use a check list to look for significant errors and omissions.  (e.g. Did the Applicant include the contact information for two OEM Customer References; Did the Applicant list the OEM and Program Information for the first appearance of the innovation; etc.)  If the PACE Award program administrator finds a potential issue with an application, they will communicate the concern with the individual listed as the primary contact in the application for resolution prior to the application deadline.  

Note: Applications received within ~24-48 hours of the deadline will be released to the judging panel without the program administrator Quick Check since there will be no opportunity to resolve any issues before the deadline


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