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Cancer Research UK launches national science writing competition

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by Cancer Research UK | News

7 March 2006

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Secondary school children from across the UK are being invited by Cancer Research UK to help unlock the Science of Tomorrow in a new writing competition.

The charity is asking children between the ages of 11-18 to look 50 years into the future and imagine it is 2056. It wants to know what the science of the future will be like – what types of medical research will scientists be working on in fifty years time, what new developments will they have made and what new problems will they be tackling?

The winners will have their essay published on the Cancer Research UK Information Resource Centre website. The website offers in-depth and up-to-date information for people with a general or professional interest in cancer and health.

The two overall winners of the competition, one for the 11-14 age group and one for the 15-18 year old category, will get their hands on tickets to the highly anticipated exhibition about Pixar animation*, kindly donated by the Science Museum in London.

Pupils will need to write a 700-word essay on the science of 2056. To enter the competition all they need to do is log on to the Science of Tomorrow website. Here they can access the easy online form as well as information and ideas from Cancer Research UK scientists.

Once submitted, the essays will be judged by an esteemed panel, including Professor Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, Tim Radford, former science editor of the Guardian, Blue Peter presenter Zöe Salmon and Professor Fran Balkwill, a distinguished Cancer Research UK oncologist who has written children’s books explaining science at the most basic level. Fran was awarded the prestigious Faraday prize by the Royal Society in 2005 for her ability to communicate science.

Dr Julie Sharp, science information manager at Cancer Research UK said: “With this competition we want to inspire young people to think about science and research in a unique way. We also want to promote good science communication, as this is crucial to the role of Cancer Research UK.

“The competition is open to anyone with an imagination and we are looking for exciting ideas and a good written style.”

Professor Fran Balkwill gives entrants a helping hand with her suggestion for the science of the tomorrow: “There will be no humans in the lab, only robot technicians linked to a scientist’s brain – the scientist thinks – and instantly the experiment is done!”

There are science books up for grabs for the winners from the two age groups in each region. The competition closes on Friday 7 April 2006 and the winners will be notified shortly afterwards.

The launch of the competition coincides with National Science Week, which runs from 10-17 March 2006. This annual event aims to celebrate science and its importance to people’s lives, providing an opportunity for people of all ages across the UK to take part in science, engineering and technology activities.


For media enquiries please contact Emma Gilgunn-Jones on 020 7061 8311 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.