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Grants programme and essay competition


The Uses and Abuses of Biology Essay Competition is now closed.


The 2013 essay title is 'How is contemporary biology used for ideological purposes?'. Essays with alternative titles will not be considered.

Given the broad range of the title, essays should focus on one of the following topics: either politics OR sociology OR theology OR philosophy OR media. Please address only one topic in your essay.

Some example topics and questions include, but are not restricted to:

  • the use or misuse of biological ideas in political rhetoric
  • is genetics used more to support racist or egalitarian ideas in the public domain?
  • is government policy on early years' education influenced by neurobiology?
  • the relationship between biology and atheism
  • how neurology and genetics influence Moral theory
  • biology and the materialism / dualism debate in the theory of mind
  • does the media use biology to propagate the idea of human determinism?
  • is the communication of the theory of evolution in education and the media value-free?

Essays should not discuss practical or ethical issues in biology such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), assisted reproductive techniques, genome sequencing or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Examples must also be contemporary - essays should not use historical examples (such as Social Darwinism), unless it is an example with on-going relevance to contemporary society, nor should futuristic examples be used.

Enquiries or clarifications regarding the essay competition should be sent to Nell Whiteway, the Grants Coordinator, at