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Ulster Team Takes Top Prize at All-Ireland Debating Science Issues 2010 Final

April 27th 2010

The 2010 Debating Science Issues All-Ireland Final occurred on April 15 at the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin. The four provinces of Ireland were represented by Our Lady & St. Patrick's College, Belfast, Co. Antrim, St. Attracta's Community School, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, Clonakilty Community School, Co. Cork, and St. Mary's College, Rathmines, Co. Dublin.

DSI 2010 All-Ireland Winners Ulster Team: Our Lady & St. Patrick's College

South Belfast’s Our Lady and St. Patrick’s College are the overall winners of Debating Science Issues, a schools’ science debating competition which took place at the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin on 15 April 2010.  The confident team from Belfast persuaded a panel of judges, which included a doctor, science communicator and a journalist, that “Animal testing is necessary for the advancement of disease treatment”.  Debaters were challenged by judges, fellow students, teachers and audience members to defend their argument.  The Runners-up were Clonakilty Community School, Co. Cork.


Debating Science Issues is an All-Ireland science debate competition co-ordinated by 8 research and science discovery centres in the Republic and Northern Ireland. The competition is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the largest independent charity in the United Kingdom.  Collaborating partners include Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, Tyndall National Institute and Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC, W5 Interactive Discovery Centre and Queen’s University Belfast and in Dublin, Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI), CLARITY and Royal College of Surgeons Ireland. The competition encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science.  Schools taking part in the competition initially receive a 3-hour workshop for small groups of students to facilitate discussion on the ethical issues raised by the scientific topic.  Schools teams then debate a motion related to the initial workshop in the regional heats.  From there, the debating motions are circulated so that students debate on an array of controversial topical issues including stem cell research, genetically modified food, health and self testing, nanotechnology, vaccinations, and animal testing. 


Judges at the Final include Drs. Marion Boland and Jennifer Ralph of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr. Kieran Ryan the Programme Manager of REMEDI, Communications Officer Lindsay Cody of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES), Maria Phelan of the Exhibition & Education Research and Development team at the Science Gallery in Dublin, John Lucey of the Second Level Support Service, Danielle Barron, the Clinical Editor of the Irish Medical News, Co-editor of Science Spin magazine Sean Duke and Education and Outreach Officer Mary Colclough of CRANN at Trinity College Dublin.