Young Scientists Debate Contemporary Science Issues

Monday, 4 April 2011

The 2011 Debating Science Issues All-Ireland Finals will be held Thursday, 14 April, at the Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin. The Finals, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, will see four teams of secondary school students representing the provinces of Connacht, Ulster, Leinster and Munster. The schools in the Finals are: St. Joseph's College, Garbally, Co. Galway; St. Catherine's Vocational School, Killybegs, Co. Donegal; St. Vincent's Secondary School, Dundalk, Co. Louth and Coláiste an Phairsaigh, Glanmire, Co. Cork. The Connacht winning team from St. Joseph's College is comprised of speakers Matthew McMorrow, Eoin Moran and several researchers working behind the scenes. Their transition year English teacher and team mentor, Fr Iomar Daniels, comments: "As the competition has progressed, the students have enjoyed the challenge of researching and preparing for the contemporary, engaging topics set by the organiser. Their interest in science issues has been greatly enhanced." Magh Ene College from Bundoran, Co. Donegal, was the Runner-Up team from the West. Teammates Eoin Dillon and Kitty Pang gave a strong performance throughout the debate series. Fifty-six schools are involved in the 2011 Debating Science Issues competition, which encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. The competition, which is coordinated by eight research, medical and science centres throughout the island of Ireland, addresses contemporary scientific issues such as stem cells, nanotechnology, genetically modified food, vaccinations and health and self-testing. This national schools' biomedical science debate competition, sponsored by a Wellcome Trust People Award, is run in collaboration with the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, CLARITY, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, CRANN, Tyndall National Institute, the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, and W5. Provincial trophies and prizes are sponsored by the College of Science at NUI Galway and Boston Scientific. Competition organiser and Outreach Officer at REMEDI, Danielle Nicholson remarked, "The pre-competition workshops provide an open and impartial environment and challenge the students to consider the ethical impacts of contemporary research. This debate series reflects the interest and insight among 15 to 18 year olds in the field of biomedicine." For further information on the Debating Science Issues competition visit http://www.remedi.ie/education/debating-science-issues-dsi-2010-2011.
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