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Ulster Joins Prestigious Debating Science Issues (DSI) Programme

23 October 2013

The University of Ulster has joined a team of nine partners delivering the prestigious cross border schools’ science programme, Debating Science Issues (DSI).

Now in its seventh year, the biomedical and bioethical programme comprises a workshop series and debate competition involving 36 schools across the island of Ireland.

PhD student and University of Ulster DSI organiser, Natalie Craythorne, said: “I am delighted that the University of Ulster is now a partner in this unique science project.

“The programmes will encourage young people to take an active interest in biomedical science research and its ethical implications for society.

“Debate topics include stem cell research, GM foods, vaccinations, nanotechnology, health and self-testing kits and lifestyle disease treatment.

“The University of Ulster excels in this research area and we are delighted to be able to talk about and reveal our groundbreaking work to the next generation.

“The programmes will also encourage pupils to consider the many diverse career options available in science and also the first-rate courses on offer at the University.”

After the workshops, a debate competition ensues narrowing the field of 36 schools down to the 2014 All-Ireland winner.

Debate adjudicators represent various stakeholders including members of the public and patients, those working in science, journalism, religion, medicine and ethics.

DSI encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science.

For information and updates on progress, please see

The collaborators involved in organising the workshop series and debates for 2013/14 are: REDDSTAR, an EU project co-ordinated by NUI Galway, APC at UCC, Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at Dublin City University, W5 in Belfast, CRANN at Trinity College, INSIGHT at University College Dublin, Cork Institute of Technology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Ulster.

For further information on the Debating Science Issues programme in Northern Ireland please contact Natalie Craythorne at University of Ulster


PhD student and Debating Science Issues University of Ulster Co-ordinator, Natalie Craythorne

Notes to editors:

DSI – Debating Science Issues is a dynamic debating competition which invites young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. Coordinated by 9 research, medical and science centres inIreland, Debating Science Issues is what true debate is all about.

Participating schools will also have the opportunity to avail of a 2 hour interactive student workshop on biomedical science before the debating competition begins.

Competition Prizes include framed certs and school trophies.

Open to students in the senior cycle of secondary school in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the aim of the competition is to:

*Encourage young people to take an active interest in biomedical science and to engage with contemporary research

*Facilitate discussion amongst young people on the advances in the biomedical field and the societal and ethical impact of this research

*Stimulate young people to think differently about biomedical science, as they discover the immense impact it has on society and to consider a career or education in this field

*Expose students and teachers not normally involved in the traditional sciences to the area of biomedical science

*Generate awareness of biomedical research within the broader school community

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