REDDSTAR, an EU project co-ordinated by NUI Galway, has partnered with eight other collaborators to deliver the All-Ireland schools’ science debate competition, Debating Science Issues. Now in its seventh year, the biomedical, bioethical programme involves a workshop series and debate competition and involves 36 schools across the island of Ireland.
The workshop phase of the Debating Science Issues project has recently launched. However, many partners are still recruiting schools. The pre-competition workshops provide an open and impartial environment and challenge the students to consider the ethical impacts of contemporary research. After the workshops, a debate competition ensues narrowing the field of 36 schools down to one 2014 All-Ireland winner. Debate adjudicators represent various stakeholder sectors including science, communications/journalism, religion, medicine, ethics, patients, and interested publics.
Debating Science Issues encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. The project addresses contemporary scientific issues such as lifestyle-related disease, stem cells, nanotechnology, genetically modified food, immunology practices, organ transplantation allocation and health and self-testing.
“We are thrilled to continue this cross border science project for another year and welcome the University of Ulster as a new collaborator. Students involved in Debating Science Issues will shape the future direction of biomedical science; they will govern legislation within which biomedical research is carried out; as taxpayers they will fund future research; they will work at our lab benches. Consequently, they may be opposed to the direction some of this research takes, and this is important as public engagement with science needs to be a dialogue not a lecture”, says Danielle Nicholson, REDDSTAR Dissemination Officer.
For 2013-14, nine collaborators are involved in organising the workshop series and debates: REDDSTAR, an EU project co-ordinated by NUI Galway partnering with APC at UCC, BDI at DCU, W5 in Belfast, CRANN at Trinity College, INSIGHT at UCD, NUI Galway, CIT, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Ulster.
For information and updates on the progress, please see www.debatingscienceissues.com.