A 16 year old student from St Paul’s Girls’ School in London has become the first winner of a national competition organised by the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Biomedical Ethics to encourage secondary school students to write about ethical problems in medicine and biomedical science, such as abortion, euthanasia, cloning and stem cell research.

Secondary students from across the UK were asked to submit a short essay on a topic related to ethics in medicine for the Schools Bioethics Essay Competition, which was sponsored by the Researchers in Residence Programme (a programme run by the Centre for Science Education which places Post-graduate researchers in secondary schools, where they share their skills, research, and enthusiasm).

The overall winner of the competition, Camilla Thompsell, wrote about the controversial and extremely current topic of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia.

As well as receiving a prize, Camilla (and the two runners up) will be presenting their essays at the University’s upcoming post-graduate conference on Bioethics (supported by the Wellcome Trust) on June 23rd.

The two runners up, Pari Thompson (15) from Wycombe Abbey School, and Alexander Cocks (17) from Cheltenham College, wrote about ‘designer babies’ and ‘the nature of bioethics’ respectively

Jonathan Ives, the competition organiser said: “We were extremely impressed by the quality of the entries we have received. “As medical technologies continue to develop, we will undoubtedly face ever-greater ethical challenges. It is important that the young people who will be developing and regulating these technologies in the future are equipped with the skills to deal with them.

For Further Information Contact: Ben Hill Press Officer, University of Birmingham: Tel 0121 4145134, 07789 921 163.


The Winners

1st Place • Camilla Thompsell (16) - St. Paul's Girl's School. 'Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide: Is It Time to Abandon Hippocrates?

Runners up

• Pari Thompson (15) - Wycombe Abbey School. 'Designer babies: The Ethics Gap'

• Alexander Cocks (17) - Cheltenham College. 'Exploring the Nature of Bioethics'

Camilla, Pari, and Alexander will be presenting their essays at the University of Birmingham’s Conference Park between 12:00 and 13:00 on Friday 23rd June 2006.

The Centre for Biomedical Ethics

Members of the Centre conduct research in a number of areas including, reproductive ethics, the ethics of fatherhood and motherhood, the ethics of controversial interventions, and various other aspects of medical practice and law. The centre also provides both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in issues relating to ethics in medicine. The Centre for Biomedical Ethics is part of the University’s Department of Primary Care and General Practice.