Secondary schools students from across Ireland participated in the sixth All-Ireland Final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition on Friday, 22 February, in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin.
After closely contested debates, Banbridge Academy, Co. Down came out victorious to become the 2013 Debating Science Issues winners, with Pobal Scoil Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Donegal awarded second place. Other finalists included Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty, Co. Cork and St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
DSI is a dynamic debating competition inviting young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Open to students in the senior cycle of secondary school, the competition provides a great opportunity for students to expand their communication and scientific skills.
Funded by Discover Science and Engineering, Abbott Ireland, Boston Scientific and Pfizer, this All-Ireland project is coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with eight science research and discovery centres throughout Ireland - Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, DCU; CRANN in Trinity College Dublin; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), W5 in Belfast, Clarity at UCD, Cork Institute of Technology and the Centre for Cross Border Studies.
Danielle Nicholson, DSI Coordinator and Outreach Officer with REMEDI at NUI Galway, said: “DSI provides young people with an insight into science as an institution and the processes by which scientific knowledge is produced. Incorporating the values and limits in science as well as its tactics for decision-making, DSI employs a discussion-based teaching model. The pre-competition workshops involve both science and non-science students. It is important that students do not judge their understanding of scientific knowledge to be insufficient to allow them to engage with socio-scientific issues of concern. Argumentation is one of the cornerstones of the scientific process. DSI increases student engagement with science content and promotes reasoning and justification skills that help prepare an informed citizenry.”
Judges for the DSI Final included: Terry McWade, Deputy CEO of RCSI; Louise Mylotte, Lecturer at St. Angela’s College, Sligo; Katharine Jensen, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Abbott Ireland; Oonagh Ward, Programme Manager at Health Research Board; Eimear Holohan and Dara Dunican, both Scientific Programme Managers at Science Foundation Ireland; Maria Daly, Science Calling; Joan Flanagan, Education Liaison at European Commission Representation in Ireland; and Hannah McGee, Dean of Faculty of Medicine RCSI.
Full information on the DSI competition is available at www.debatingscienceissues.com.