Essay competitions

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, the College’s Vice-President for Learning and the Clinical Director for Publishing and Engagement. Prize winners will be awarded £200 and will have their essay published on our website and in the College magazine, The Bulletin

THE HUGH PLATT FOUNDATION ESSAY PRIZE

The Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize 2021 is now closed and will reopen in Spring 2022. 

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 2021

The essay subject for this year is ‘Discuss testing strategies for managing COVID-19.' 

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 2021 will open on Monday 15 February and close at 23.59 GMT on Friday 11 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 training@rcpath.org and include subject line 'Foundation Essay Prize 2021'. 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. Please note that we are only accepting online submissions. Further information is in the Terms and Conditions document below.  

THE PAOLA DOMIZIO UNDERGRADUATE ESSAY PRIZE

The Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize 2021 is now closed. Entrants will be notified of the results in July. 

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 2021

The essay question for this year’s prize was What have been the major contributions of pathology to managing COVID-19?’.

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 2021 will open on Monday 15 February and close at 23.59 GMT on Friday 14 May.
  • 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. The winner will also receive a copy of Underwood’s Pathology - A Clinical Approach textbook and one copy of Kumar & Clark’s Essentials of Clinical Medicine.
  • 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 2021'. 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. Please note that we are only accepting online submissions. Further information is in the Terms and Conditions document below.  

2021 PRIZE WINNERS 

Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize 2020 winner: Rebecca Sarsam

Congratulations to Rebecca Sarsam for winning the Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize 2021. Download and read Rebecca's winning essay above. 

Rebecca is studying medicine at King’s College London and currently undertaking an intercalated MSc in Immunology of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She will be returning to the fourth year of her medical degree in August.

How do you feel about winning this year’s Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize? 

Pretty great! It was a bit of a surprise, but a very pleasant one.

Why did you enter this essay competition?

The question was a very interesting one, given the events of the last two years, and the competition was a good way to practice essay-writing skills and explore areas of pathology that were only touched upon in my medical course, such as the roles of virologists and immunologists.

What do you hope to do in the future? 

I'm not totally sure yet. I've really enjoyed studying Immunology during my intercalation so Clinical Immunology sounds like a good specialty, but I also find Haematology very interesting, and there are still many specialties that I haven't had much exposure to yet.

What do you like about pathology? 

I like how the links are made between a disease process and the symptoms suffered by patients, and how understanding the aetiology of a disease can lead to discovery of  effective treatments.

What would you say to students who are considering entering this competition? 

Go for it! It's an excellent opportunity to delve deeper into an area of pathology that interests you and also to hone your writing skills.

 

2020 essay prize winners

 

HUGH PLATT FOUNDATION ESSAY PRIZE 2020 WINNER: CHUER ZHANG

Congratulations to Chuer Zhang for winning the Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize 2020. Download and read Chuer's winning essay above. 

Chuer is a FY2 trainee at Northern Ireland Foundation School and is looking to make an application for histopathology training.

How do you feel about winning this year’s Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize?

Very ecstatic! I’m so honoured that the panel liked my essay, and to have the chance to have my experience read by more people.

Why did you enter this essay competition?

I came across this competition when I was exploring applying to pathology. The title “Tiny test, huge impact” immediately caught my attention. As detailed in my essay, I have had a lot of personal experience of how a pathology result can change a patient’s course of treatment and ultimately affect their lives and their wider social circle.

What do you like about pathology?

The variety it offers – it forms the basis of such a wide range of other specialties. Also, it allows further exploration and understanding of the mechanism of health and disease which I find fascinating.

What would you say to students who are considering entering this competition?

Definitely give it a go! It makes you reflect on your experience more, and appreciate the role pathology plays in the course of a patient’s treatment despite often being in the background.

 

Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize 2020 winner: Harry Adams

Congratulations to Harry Adams for winning the Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize 2020. Download and read Harry's winning essay above. 

Harry is a final year medicine undergraduate at Newcastle University. We found out what motivated him to enter this year's competition. 

How do you feel about winning this year’s Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize?  

I am absolutely thrilled! It has come as a real surprise to me and I am so excited by it. 

Why did you enter this essay competition?  

Due to the lockdown imposed in response to COVID-19, I was unable to complete my immunology research project, which was the final part of my MRes intercalation. Entering this essay competition allowed me to continue developing my writing and research skills, in a topic that interested me.  

What do you like about pathology?  

I like the idea of how through understanding fundamental disease processes, a pathologist pieces together clinical and laboratory findings to arrive at a diagnosis, ultimately helping to understand the presentations of different patients and guide treatment.

What do you hope to do in the future?  

I am still undecided! I loved learning more about immunology over the last year and am torn between the academic and clinical approaches to medicine. 

What would you say to students who are considering entering this competition?  

Give it a go! It is a great opportunity to practice essay writing skills and appreciate topics not usually taught at university.  

2019 Essay Prize Winners

Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize 2019 winner: Keir Edwards

Congratulations to Keir Edwards for winning the Hugh Platt Foundation Essay Prize 2019. 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 found 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 the Paola Domizio Undergraduate Essay Prize 2019. 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.