Essay competitions

The essay competitions are now closed and will reopen in 2020. 

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.

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.

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 2019

The essay subject for the inaugural year for this prize was ‘Making a Difference – an essay inspired by a patient for whom a result from a pathology department made a big difference’. This might be a patient whose care you were directly involved in, or who you have otherwise encountered in a clinical context.

Entrants were 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. 

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 14 May and close on 30 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 publicengagement@rcpath.org and include subject line 'Foundation Essay Prize'. 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

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 2019

The essay question for this year’s prize was ‘How are advances in genomics impacting on pathology and patient care?’

Entrants were asked to use their essay to present a broad view, or choose something specific and write about a particular aspect of genomics and personalised treatments. You can find further information on the theme of this year’s question below.

Genomics

Genomic medicine was been chosen as the theme for this year’s Undergraduate Essay Prize because of its increasingly transformative effects on our understanding of health and disease, and on the way medicine is practiced. 

Rapid advances in genomic technologies, including genome sequencing and genomic testing, have had a significant impact in healthcare, especially in diagnosis and treatment of cancer, rare diseases and infections. Patients’ genomic information is being used to predict their responses to certain drugs to improve treatment and avoid a potentially serious adverse reaction. This rapidly developing area presents some amazing opportunities for those working in pathology and medicine, as well as some challenges. Entrants of the 2019 Undergraduate Essay Prize were encouraged to use creativity and originality, alongside the facts, to explore this fascinating topic

The Genomics Education website is a useful source of further reading.

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 14 May and close on 30 September.
  • 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'. 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.