Cancer Research UK launches its first ever on March 5, giving teenagers across the UK the chance to air their views about a range of hot topics. The top three podcasts will be featured on the charity’s website, as well as winning their creators one of three fantastic prizes.

Launched ahead of the Easter holidays, the marks the start of National Science and Engineering Week (7-16 March 2008). SciencePod challenges students aged 14 to 16 to explore controversial issues in health and science and create a short podcast about the impact they have on people’s lives. Students can choose between four topics: ‘Should under 18s be allowed to use sunbeds?’; ‘Is the cervical cancer vaccine a good idea?’; ‘Should smoking be totally banned?’ and ‘Diet and cancer: does it matter what we eat?’

Entries will be judged by a panel of expert podcasters, including BBC Radio One drivetime presenter, DJ Scott Mills, The Guardian’s science journalist, Alok Jha, and Cancer Research UK’s Dr Kat Arney, who presents the charity’s monthly podcast.

The competition is open to GCSE students and links in with the Science, English, Media and Citizenship curricula. To find out how to take part, visit now for details. The closing date is 30 April, making the Easter holidays the perfect time for teens to research and record their podcasts.

Radio One DJ, Scott Mills said: “I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in podcasting right from the start. I’ve always loved new technologies and communication – and podcasting combines both.”

The competition reflects the increase in the use of podcasting as a method of communicating science in schools, by scientific research organisations* and the media. By encouraging students to develop the creative and technical skills necessary to take part, Cancer Research UK is helping to equip future scientists and journalists with new techniques to communicate their work.

Sam Codrington, science teacher at St Benedict’s School, Ealing said: “Science can be so exciting if you make it relevant to young people. Like a good radio programme, science podcasting should encourage debate and catch listeners’ attention.”

Competition organiser, Cancer Research UK’s Josephine Querido, said: “Science is continually changing and developing, as is the technology available to help us communicate it. We need to give young people the skills to research and debate evidence and think about the impact it will have on their lives and the decisions they make.”

To enter and find out more go to: .

For media enquiries please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300 or, out of hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264059.


*Cancer Research UK, The Royal Society, and the Medical Research Council are all using podcasts to help communicate their scientific research to the public. Support for the competition also came from teachers’ feedback.

Cancer Research UK was the first UK medical research charity to produce a monthly podcast, launched in October 2006.

This SciencePod competition coincides with the start of National Science and Engineering Week which runs from 7-16 March 2008.

First prize is a digital camcorder and second prize is an mp3 player, kindly donated by Samsung. Third prize is a webcam.

The SciencePod competition will be judged on accuracy, argument (participants should make sure their podcast is well planned and thought-out) and creativity (how will you make your podcast stand out from the crowd?). Technical skills are a second priority.

Cancer Research UK podcast and Youth and Schools website

Cancer Research UK’s monthly podcasts showcase every aspect of the charity’s work – covering world-class scientific research, health awareness campaigns, fundraising campaigns, survivors’ stories and much more. Each show is around fifteen minutes long and is designed to appeal to all ages. Click on the link to listen to the latest podcast:

The Youth and Schools section of the Cancer Research UK website provides information about cancer and science for young people and their teachers:

About Cancer Research UK

  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
  • Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
  • Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
  • For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit our homepage.