The 2024 Holdstock-Piachaud Student Essay Prize

About the 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. We encourage you to base your argument on relevant literature and to develop it drawing on your own experience and reflections.

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

Read this blog post with previous winners’ 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 Medact. Published quarterly by Taylor and Francis/Routledge, the Journal plays an important role in debates around health, peace and violence.

Titles for 2024 Holdstock-Piachaud Student Essay Prize:

  1. How can the protection of medical personnel and facilities under international humanitarian law be strengthened?
  2. In what ways might the concept of ‘planetary health’ lead us to think differently about contemporary global challenges? How could the resulting insights promote the changing of current practices?
  3. What are the political and ethical challenges that health professionals face in providing care to undocumented migrants? How should they respond to these challenges?
  4. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) has said that “Climate change and nuclear weapons are both man-made threats that put humanity’s very survival at risk”. What responsibilities do health workers have to address these “twin existential threats”?


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 and, optionally, may serve as a student representative on the MCS editorial board for a year.

Entry details

To get an application form and for answers to any queries, contact: [email protected]

Entries close at 17:00 GMT on 28th February, 2024.

The competition is open to all students, including those completing their studies in 2023.

The word limit is 2500 and essays should be submitted in Word.

Entrants whose first language is not English may have their entry checked by a fluent English speaker.

Entries by more than one author are acceptable, but should have only one corresponding author.

Entrants can use AI systems to help frame their entry, but what they submit must be their own original work.

The essay should be fully referenced, using the Chicago Author-Date system.

Entries must not have been previously published elsewhere.