National Finals of 2009 Debating Science Issues Announced

Monday, 23 March 2009

(Sligo School to Represent Connaught)
The national finals of the 2009 Debating Science Issues competition, which is co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway, takes place on Thursday, 2 April, in the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin. Four teams of secondary school students will represent the provinces of Connaught, Ulster, Leinster and Munster in the debating competition final. The public are invited to attend. This year, there were almost 40 entries in the Debating Science Issues competition, which encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Participating students took part in a series of three-hour workshops designed to facilitate discussion and learning about biomedical science - from stem cell research to nanotechnology - in an informal round table forum. Competition organiser Danielle Nicholson, from the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, comments: "The debating science competition concept was initially run on a regional basis and due to its success went national last year. Workshops provide an open and impartial environment, and challenge students to think about the ethical and societal impact of biomedical research and stimulate them to learn more about this important area of research. The debates themselves reflect the level of insight and interest among 15-18 year olds in the field of biomedicine". Kathleen Kelly is a teacher at Ballincollig Community School, Co. Cork, which won the national final of Debating Science Issues 2008. Ms Kelly commented: "The competition has opened students' eyes to scientific issues in newspapers, for example, that may not have been explored without Debating Science Issues". Funded by the Wellcome Trust, Debating Science Issues is co-ordinated by REMEDI at NUI Galway in conjunction with fellow Science Foundation Ireland Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology: UCC's Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre and DCU's Biomedical Diagnostics Institute. The event is also supported by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, along with W5 Science Centre in Belfast and Tyndall National Institute at UCC.
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