Essay competitions

Please note we have extended the deadlines for both our essay competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See below.

The College’s two annual essay prizes offer undergraduates and Foundation doctors the chance to take an in-depth look at a particular aspect of pathology through a written piece. The winning entry in each category will be published on the RCPath website and the writers of the winning essays will be rewarded with a certificate and cash prize, presented at an RCPath event.

Entries into both Prizes are judged by the RCPath Undergraduate and Foundation Leads; their scores and choices of winners will be moderated by the College’s Vice-President for Learning and the Clinical Director for Publishing and Engagement.

THE HUGH PLATT FOUNDATION ESSAY PRIZE

Foundation Doctors with an aspiration to specialise in pathology are encouraged to take part in the Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize. This competition offers the chance to explore how pathology makes a difference to patients, as well as a unique opportunity to boost your CV ahead of applying for your specialty training. 

From 2019 for a period of five years the competition will be posthumously named after Dr Hugh Platt, an RCPath Fellow who contributed a huge amount to the work of the College, and to the support of postgraduate medical training in pathology disciplines. 

SUBJECT FOR 2020

The essay subject for this year is Tiny test, huge impact’ – write an essay drawing on your experience of a patient encounter which illustrates the impact a pathology result can have on a patient and their family. This might be a patient whose care you were directly involved in, or who you have otherwise encountered in a clinical context. We are looking for powerful and sensitive creative writing, rather than a case report.

Entrants are encouraged to make their essay clinically focused, and reflect on their day to day work. Names and any other identifying information relating to patients and staff who are discussed in the essay should be changed or removed. 

Essays should be submitted to training@rcpath.org by 23.59 on Friday 28 August.

Further information about the competition

  • The Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize will run annually and is open to Foundation doctors in their first two years of postgraduate medical training
  • The Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize 2019 will open on 10 February and close on 28 August.
  • The essay has to be no more than 1,000 words, excluding references and bibliography.
  • A prize of £200 will be awarded to the winning entrant, as well as having their essay published on our website and in the College magazine, The Bulletin.
  • Full details, including essay specifications and format, are in the Terms and Conditions document, which can be found below.

How to enter

Submit your essay in either Microsoft Word (doc, docx) format or PDF format and email it to training@rcpath.org and include subject line 'Foundation Essay Prize 2020'. Please download the front cover below and use it to submit your essay; keep all other pages of your essay anonymous (free of any personal information). The front page will be removed before essays go to the judging panel. Postal entries can be sent to Public Engagement, Royal College of Pathologists, 6 Alie Street, London E1 8QT. Further information is in the Terms and Conditions document below.  

 

THE PAOLA DOMIZIO UNDERGRADUATE ESSAY PRIZE

The deadline for the Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize has now passed. We will be reopening the competition again in Spring next year. 

If you are passionate about pathology or are an aspiring pathologist studying any related undergraduate course, the Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize is your opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm and explore a fascinating subject through writing.

From 2019 for a period of five years the competition will be posthumously named after Professor Paola Domizio, an RCPath Fellow who contributed a huge amount to the work of the College, and to pathology education.

QUESTION FOR 2020

The essay question for this year’s prize is Could pathologists soon be replaced by robots?’.

Entrants are encouraged to consider the following:

  • examples of technology that are used at the moment and could be used by pathologists in future
  • the benefits and potential challenges that new technology poses
  • the impact of technology on patients and on pathologists’ work lives

Further information about the competition

  • This competition runs annually and is open to medical, biological science and veterinary science undergraduates.
  • The Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize 2019 will open on 10 February and close on 26 June
  • The essay has to be no more than 1,000 words, excluding references and bibliography.
  • A prize of £200 will be awarded to the winning entrant, as well as having their essay published on our website and in the College magazine, The Bulletin.
  • Full details, including essay specifications and format, are in the Terms and Conditions document, which can be found below.

How to enter

Submit your essay in either Microsoft Word (doc, docx) format or PDF format and email it to publicengagement@rcpath.org and include the subject line 'Undergraduate Essay Prize 2020'. Please download the front cover below and use it to submit your essay; keep all other pages of your essay anonymous (free of any personal information). The front page will be removed before essays go to the judging panel. Postal entries can be sent to Public Engagement, Royal College of Pathologists, 6 Alie Street, London E1 8QT. Further information is in the Terms and Conditions document below.  

 

PRIZE WINNERS 2019

Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize 2019 winner: Keir Edwards

Congratulations to Keir Edwards for winning this year's Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize. Download and read Keir's winning essay above. 

Keir is currently in his second year of Foundation training at Poole NHS Foundation Trust and is hoping to enter speciality training in histopathology. We caught up with Keir to find out what motivated him to submit his essay. 

Why did you decide to enter the competition? 

During my FY2 jobs in haematology and microbiology I became interested in how we can better explain pathology results to patients. I wanted to explore this further in the essay.

What do you like about pathology? 

The huge variety it offers; being at the intersection of science and clinical medicine; the people - many things!

 

Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize 2019 Winner: Toal O'Connor

Congratulations to Toal O'Connor for winning this year's Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize. Download and read Toal's winning essay. 

Toal is a third year medical student training at Queen's University in Belfast.

Why did you decide to enter the competition? 

It was suggested by the module co-ordinator of my student selected component [SSC] that I consider applying for the competition. Dr Kathleen Mulholland at Altnagelvin Hospital gave us a great introduction to pathology in the clinical setting. The topic also seemed very relevant. I'm a graduate entrant to medicine, previously qualifying as a pharmacist, and genomics will also have a big impact on how that profession works.

What do you hope to do in the future?

That's a difficult one! I'm definitely considering a career as a pathologist at the moment, but medicine's so vast that I'm just taking it one step at a time.

What do you like about pathology? I find pathology very interesting as it's the foundation of understanding all disease processes in medicine. I also quite enjoy the interdisciplinary aspect of the role of a pathologist and the opportunity to specialise further within the field.