Neuroethics Essay Contest

Call for Essays

The International Neuroethics Society (INS) and the International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA) are pleased to announce a call for submissions for the Neuroethics Essay Contest in 2021. Now in its eighth year, the contest promotes interest in neuroethics among students and trainees around the world.

Three submission categories are available:

  • IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Essay Competition
  • Academic
  • General Audience

One winner from each category will be selected in August and receive a free 1-year INS student membership ($30 value) and a $250 prize. Winners who are able to attend the online 2021 INS Annual Meeting will also have their meeting registration fee waived (up to a $100 value). All amounts are in U.S. Dollars and may be subject to transfer fees.

Essays must be submitted by July 2. Incomplete or late submissions will not be accepted. Please review all eligibility and submission requirements below.

Contact INS staff ([email protected]) with questions or requests for accommodation. Contact Sojas Wagle, Editor-in-Chief of the IYNA Journal ([email protected]), with any questions or requests for accommodation if you are submitting in the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category.

Author Eligibility

Education Level

Participation in the contest is open to any student in high school or secondary school, any post-secondary student, and any postdoctoral fellow or similar early-career trainee.

Students in high school or an equivalent secondary school program during the Spring 2021 semester must submit their essays to the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category.

'Post-secondary student' includes those enrolled in a degree-granting program at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level. This also includes those enrolled in pre-university post-secondary institutions such as CEGEPs, sixth form colleges, lycées, etc. Examples of 'early career trainees' include recent graduates serving in a postdoctoral position, medical residents or fellows, judicial law clerks or articled students at law firms, and contract or sessional instructors in their first or second years out of graduate training.

Those included in the definition of 'post-secondary student' or 'early career trainees' during the Spring 2021 semester may submit an essay to either the Academic or General Audience categories. Authors may submit two different essays — one to each category — but are not allowed to submit more than one essay per category.

Discipline / Status

There are no restrictions regarding an author's program or area of study as long as their essay meets all requirements outlined below. The committee encourages essay submissions from authors training in fields such as neuroscience, law, medicine, philosophy, and many other social and natural sciences. Authors from all countries and regions are encouraged to participate, and we welcome applicants from underrepresented or marginalized groups.

Contest winners are warmly encouraged, but not required, to attend the online 2021 INS Annual Meeting. Participation in the contest does not preclude future submission of an extended version of the manuscript to academic journals.

Authors do not need to be members of the INS or IYNA to submit an essay. If you have questions about eligibility, contact INS staff ([email protected]).

Essay Topic & Requirements

Essay submissions can cover any topic in neuroethics and should address a focused problem at the intersections of the mind and brain sciences, ethics, and law. Example topics include, but are not limited to: neuroenhancement, neurolaw, moral psychology, brain stimulation, ethics of neurodegenerative illness, neurotechnology policy and regulation, philosophy of mind, clinical ethics in psychiatry and neurosurgery, neural imaging, big data and neuroscience, brain–computer interaction, military applications of neurotechnology, and free will.

The committee makes no in-principle restrictions regarding neuroethical topics and encourages authors to take creative approaches with their essays. As you put together your contest submission, we encourage you to review previous winning essays and watch the following video which features some common neuroethical questions and inquiries.

IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Essay Competition

Submissions to the High School competition should explore the relationship between ethics, neuroscience, and society in plain language for the general public. Essays should be based on reliable primary and secondary sources — Wikipedia and similar sources are not acceptable. Essays must be written in English by a single author. Essays should adhere to the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Essay Contest Format Guidelines. Essay length may not exceed 1,000 words excluding references.

Academic Essay

Academic essay submissions should critically explore a current issue in neuroethics through rigorous, evidence-based argumentation. Essays should be succinct, polished final drafts that represent original, unpublished work and are suitable for publication in a topically appropriate scholarly journal journal. Essays produced for or derived from previous coursework are eligible for submission as long as they meet all other requirements. Essays must be written in English by a single author. Essays may not exceed 2,000 words excluding references and disclosures.

General Audience

Essay submissions to the General Audience category should explore a topic or story at the interface between ethics, neuroscience, and society in plain language for the general public, as might be found in a magazine or news outlet aimed at non-specialist audiences. Essays addressing neuroethical topics of high social significance are particularly welcome. Essays must be written in English by a single author. Essay length may not exceed 1,000 words excluding references and disclosures.

Submissions

Submit your essay using the the instructions below for each contest category. The submission deadline is July 2, 2021, at 11:30pm EDT. Incomplete or late submissions will not be accepted.

Essays for the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category must be submitted to the IYNA Journal, and should follow the IYNA Format Guidelines instead of the format guidelines prescribed to the other two categories. Contact Sojas Wagle, Editor-in-Chief at the IYNA Journal ([email protected]) with any questions about the submission process for the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category.

Essay submissions for the Academic and General Audience categories must be uploaded through the online form (Google login required), and should use the essay format document (.docx) to ensure your submission includes all required information on a cover page and no identifying information on any other page so your submission can be easily blinded for the review process. Contact INS staff with any questions about the submission process for the Academic and General Audience categories ([email protected]).

Submission Form

Review Process

Essays will be judged on their originality and structure of argument, conceptual clarity, rigor of defense, quality of writing, and conclusions. Submissions undergo a blind review by two or more referees from the INS Student/Postdoc Committee or by a panel of judges chosen by the IYNA Journal Editorial Team. Contest referees include students and postdocs from the fields of neuroscience, law, medicine, philosophy, and other areas of the sciences and humanities. All decisions made by the INS Student/Postdoc Committee and the IYNA judges are final.

Essay contest winners Khayla Black, Sunidhi Ramesh and Prithvi Nathan; Supporter Dr. Michael Patterson; Hank Greely, past president of the INS

Winning authors from the 2019 contest: Khayla Black, Sunidhi Ramesh and Prithvi Nathan; pictured with contest supporter Dr. Michael Patterson, far left, and Hank Greely, past president of the INS, back row second from right.

Notification of the contest winners — one from each submission category — will be emailed to all participating authors by August 24. See winners and honorable mentions from previous contests.

Publishing

The winning essays will be considered for publication on the INS website or by another institution appropriate for the topic discussed. Recent winning essays have been published online by the Dana Foundation and past winners have gone on to publish essays in other outlets such as Scientific American. All submissions to the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category will be considered for publication in the neuroethics column of the IYNA Journal.

Participation in the contest does not preclude future submission of a version of the manuscript to other magazines, academic journals, or other scholarly or general interest publications.

History

The INS started the Neuroethics Essay Contest to promote academic interest in neuroethics among students and early-career trainees around the world. The contest has recognized at least two authors for outstanding scholarship each year since 2014.

The General Audience category was added to the contest in 2017 to encourage the practice of communicating science to the public. In 2019, eligibility was extended to high school students with the help of the IYNA. Since its inception, the contest has been supported by Dr. Michael Patterson, former editor of the Kopf Carrier and long-time supporter of neuroethics.

Organizers

The International Neuroethics Society is an interdisciplinary group of scholars, scientists, clinicians, and other professionals dedicated to encouraging and inspiring research and dialogue on the responsible use of advances in brain science. People at all stages of their career join the Society to interact, learn, and participate in dynamic discussions that further the growing field of neuroethics.

The International Youth Neuroscience Association is a global, youth-led nonprofit which supports and advocates for neuroscience education. The IYNA Journal publishes articles on neuroethics and other neuroscience topics. Since its founding at the 2016 USA National Brain Bee, the IYNA has expanded to represent over 5,000 members in 112 countries.

Share the Call

Share this call for essays with your colleagues and students who are investigating or may be interested in neuroethics. Use any of the following promotional assets to direct them to this page.

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Neuroethics Essay Contest; Submissions due July 2

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Neuroethics Essay Contest; INS + IYNA logos

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Investigate these questions and more; Submit an essay to the Neuroethics Essay Contest

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Investigate these questions and more; Submit an essay to the Neuroethics Essay Contest

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