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GuardianWitness, the Guardian's award-winning platform for user-generated content (UGC), is due to host its first awards almost a year after it launched in April 2013.

The ceremony, to be held in March, will award those users who have made "outstanding contributions" to the platform either through assignments set by the Guardian team, in relation to breaking news events or original ideas for stories.

"GuardianWitness is a fantastic example of the Guardian's commitment to open journalism and digital innovation, and the awards are a celebration of all the brilliant contributions from our readers," said Laura Oliver, the Guardian's social and community editor, in a press release accompanying the announcement.

"We have a great community of people who use GuardianWitness and the awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase their quality, diversity and impact."

All submissions to GuardianWitness before 20 January will be eligible for the awards, divided into 11 categories:
  • News Contribution of the Year Award
  • Award for a Series of Contributions
  • The Bigger Picture Award
  • Human Interest Award
  • Pet of the Year Award
  • Best Original Still Award
  • Funniest contribution of the Year Award
  • Food Award
  • Original Short Film Award
  • Science Award
  • EE Contributor of the Year Award
A panel of judges, including Guardian and Observer editors and figures from the fields of media, science and technology, will choose a shortlist of entries for each category by the end of January and the winners will be decided by 25 February.

Winners will receive a specially designed trophy, and winners of the Original Short Film Award and Science Award will also receive an iPad Air.

GuardianWitness launched as an iOS and Android app last April to source UGC from readers and was developed using n0tice, the Guardian's mobile publishing platform.

When the platform launched, Joanna Geary, social and communities editor for the Guardian at the time, told Journalism.co.uk: "It's an essential part of our future and we believe that our ability to collaborate and do open journalism is essential in the digital age. That is journalism."

More information about the awards' categories and criteria can be found on the GuardianWitness website.

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