Clonakilty Community College Scoops the Debating Science Issues Title

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Debating Science Issues All-Ireland Final winners, Clonakilty Community College students Paul Harte, Philip Poillot, Conor Ryan, with their teacher, Mary Lowery.

Secondary school students from all ofIreland participated in the fifth All-Ireland Final of the Debating Science Issues (DSI) competition. The final took place on Thursday, 19 April, in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin.

After several closely contested debates, Clonakilty Community College, Co.Cork emerged victorious to become the 2012 Debating Science Issues winners, with St. Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs, Co. Donegal awarded second place. Other 2012 finalists included AbbeyVocational School,Donegal Town and St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock, Co.Dublin.

DSI is a dynamic, cross border debating competition which invites 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 an opportunity for students to expand their research, communication and scientific skills with forty schools initially entered in the competition. Through preliminary debates about stem cell research, nanotechnology, immunology practices, self-diagnostic tests, rare disease research funding, and genetically modified foods, the field narrowed to the four schools represented at the finals.

Danielle Nicholson, DSI Coordinator and Outreach Officer with REMEDI at NUI Galway, said: “We hope that this collaborative outreach project is a useful tool in facilitating increased awareness of the important research taking place inIrelandamong young people and the Irish public in general. It is imperative that dialogue surrounding advances in science occurs and continues. While it is important for research centres to communicate to the public, it is equally important for researchers and academics to listen to what the public, including young people, think of this work. At a time when scientific research itself is taking so many different directions, it is critical that the doors for discussion remain open so that we can ensure that everyone has their say on the societal and ethical implications of biomedical research.”

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the workshop series and debating competition is coordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway in conjunction with eight science research and discovery centres throughout Ireland including: REMEDI, NUI Galway; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, UCC; Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, DCU; CRANN in Trinity College Dublin; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; W5 in Belfast; Clarity at UCD; Centre for Cross Border Studies, Armagh; and Cork Institute of Technology.

Judges for the final included: Cynthia Coleman, REMEDI, NUI Galway; Heike Felzmann, NUI Galway; Marion Boland, SFI; Sylvia Leatham, Scibernia; Dónal O’Mathúna, DCU; Terry McWade, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Janice Murtagh, SFI; Danielle Barron, Irish Medical News; and Sally Montgomery of W5.

Full information on the DSI competition is available at, or contact Danielle Nicholson, Outreach officer, REMEDI at NUI Galway, on 091 49 5259 or



Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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