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Holdstock-Piachaud Student Essay Prize

The Holdstock-Piachaud Essay Prize was set up to encourage students to explore the themes covered by the journal Medicine, Conflict and Survival,  in memory of Douglas Holdstock and Jack Piachaud who were for many years inspirational editors of the Journal. We are keen to receive essays that explore insights, concerns and original perspectives on issues relevant to the aims of the journal, from students who will be shaping the future. Whichever title you choose to tackle we encourage you to base your argument on relevant literature and to develop it drawing on your own experience and reflections.

Medicine, Conflict and Survival  is an international journal for all those interested in the health aspects of violence and human rights. Founded in 1985 it is a designated journal of IPPNW  and its UK affiliate, MEDACT. Published quarterly by Taylor and Francis/Routledge, the Journal plays an important role in debates around health, peace and violence.

Medicine, Conflict and Survival covers:

  •  The causes and consequences of war and group violence.
  • The health and environmental effects of war and preparations for war, especially from nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.
  • The influence of war and preparations for war on health and welfare services and the distribution of global resources.
  • The abuse of human rights, its occurrence, causes and consequences.
  • The ethical responsibility of health professionals in relation to war, social violence and human rights abuses.
  • Non-violent methods of conflict resolution.
  • Medical and humanitarian aid in conflict situations.
  • Relationships between the environment, development and global security.
  • The roles and responsibilities of governments and of international governance in reducing the risk of violent conflict.

The Holdstock-Piachaud Prize is made possible through the generosity of the Lionel Penrose Trust

Titles for the 2021 Holdstock-Piachaud student essay prize

  1. It has been asserted in The Economist that Xi Jinping's commitment to a carbon-neutral China by 2060 is an effort to boost the country's image after being "stung by international criticism of its earlier handling of the pandemic". The US, under the Trump administration, has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and has tragically failed in its response to Covid-19. To what extent have the international politics of Covid-19 and the politics of climate change intersected? How might the pandemic change the way world leaders approach climate action?
  2. In September 2020 the World Health Organization called for 'equitable access to COVID-19 tools' which included 'the development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines globally, while strengthening health systems'. What evidence is there of inequity of access so far in this pandemic? What is the role of national governments and of the WHO in this?
  3. What are the impacts of recruitment by ‘developed’ countries of health professionals from less-developed countries? How might the negative impacts be mitigated?
  4. What would you regard as the main advantages and disadvantages of meeting some of the costs of tackling the pandemic from defense and homeland security budgets, including nuclear?
  5. What does the global response to COVID-19 tell us about the possibilities of effective international cooperation in global health more generally?

Competition details

  • The closing date for entries is 17.00 on 31 January 2021.
  • The competition is open to all students, including those completing their studies in 2020. 
  • The word limit is 2500 and essays should be submitted in Word.
  • The essay should be fully referenced, using the Chicago Author-Date system.
  • Entries must not have been previously published elsewhere.
  • The entries will be judged by members of the MCS editorial board and the Medact board. 
  • The winning entries may be selected by the editors for publication in MCS.
  • First prize: £500, three second prizes: £300; winners will also receive a year’s subscription to MCS.
  • E-mail your entry with a completed entry form (see below) to: [email protected]
For an APPLICATION FORM and for any queries, please contact: [email protected]

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