Holdstock-Piachaud Student Essay Prize 2021

Are you a student with a passion for research? Are you interested in the health aspects of violence and human rights? Do you dream of being published in an academic journal? 

If your answer to these questions is yes, then you should consider applying for the Holdstock-Piachaud Student Essay Prize 2020-2021.

The Holdstock-Piachaud Essay Prize aims to encourage students to explore the themes covered by Medact’s journal Medicine, Conflict and Survival. The journal covers themes relating to the health aspects of violence and human rights, which are also some of the issues we campaign upon.

The 2020-2021 prize has 5 potential essay titles for you to choose from and many of this year’s themes are concerned with different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever title you choose, we encourage you to base your argument on relevant literature and to develop it drawing on your own experience and reflections.

This is a real opportunity to explore your own insights and original perspectives and to play an important role in debates around health, peace and violence. 

Here are the titles for the 2020-2021 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 The US, under the Trump administration, has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and has tragically failed in its response to Covid-19.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]

The five essay questions for the 2021 prize cover some of the most pertinent global issues highlighted by the pandemic. We hope as many students as possible make the most of this opportunity to analyse the profound implications of the pandemic & seize the opportunity to further the conversation the world is having about how we recover.

Best of luck!