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Call for Neuroethics 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 2020. Now in its seventh year, the contest aims to promote interest in neuroethics among students and trainees around the world.

Participating authors can submit essays in one of following three categories:

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

One winner from each category will be selected in August and recognized at the 2020 INS Annual Meeting — the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to neuroethics. All winners will receive a free 1-year INS student membership ($30 value) and a $250 prize. Winners who attend the annual meeting will also have their meeting registration fee waived (up to a $330 value) and will receive a Michael Patterson Travel Stipend to help with expenses. (All amounts in U.S. Dollars and may be subject to transfer fees.)

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Direct them to this page or distribute our contest flyer with key details and deadlines. See all sharable resources.

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Authors submitting an essay for a general audience will also be considered for participation in an optional mentorship session with a science journalist or science communication professional.

Essays must be submitted by July 10. Incomplete or late submissions will not be accepted. Please review all eligibility and submission requirements below. Contact us with any questions or requests for accommodation ([email protected]).

Author Eligibility

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 equivalent secondary school programs during the Spring 2020 semester must submit their essays to the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category.

Students enrolled in a degree-granting program at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level during the Spring 2020 semester may submit an essay to either the Academic or General Audience categories. Recent graduates who are serving in a postdoctoral position, medical residency, or other early-career trainee program are also eligible to submit to either of these categories.

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. Authors do not need to be members of the INS or IYNA to submit an essay. Contest winners are warmly encouraged, but not required, to attend the 2020 INS Annual Meeting. Participation in the contest does not preclude future submission of an extended version of the manuscript to academic journals.

If you have any questions about eligibility, contact INS staff by email ([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, brain stimulation, ethics of neurodegenerative illness, 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. We encourage you to review previous winning essays as you put together your contest submission.

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 neuroethics, bioethics, or medical ethics 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.

Essay for a General Audience

Essay submissions to the General Audience category should explore 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.

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. Essay length may not exceed 1,000 words excluding references.

Submissions

Essay submissions for the Academic and General Audience categories must be saved as a PDF file and emailed the INS ([email protected]) with the subject line “Neuroethics Essay Contest." Download 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 blinded for the review process.

Essays for the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category must be submitted to the IYNA Journal. Note that the essay is intended for the “Neuroethics Essay Contest" in the author comments section.

Submissions must be received by July 10, 2020, at 11:30 p.m. EDT. Incomplete or late submissions will not be accepted. Contact us with any questions about the submission process ([email protected]).

Selection Process

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.

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 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 are final.

Notification of the contest winners — one from each submission category — will be emailed to all participating authors by August 18, 2020.

Share the call

We encourage you to share the call for submissions with your colleagues and students who may be interested in neuroethics.

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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. All submissions to the High School competition will be considered for publication in the neuroethics column of the IYNA Journal.

Participation in the contest does not preclude future submission of an extended version of the manuscript to academic journals.

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 at the INS annual meeting 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 3,000 members in 80 countries.