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SYBHEL Project Short Story Competition

Synthetic Biology & Human Health: Myths, Fables & Synthetic Futures


Calling all writers, film makers, animators and artists – do you have a story to tell about the impact synthetic biology may have on future people?

Throughout history people have used their imaginations to create stories. While stories often entertain, they are also used to make sense of human experience and gain insight into philosophical questions. In the 20th century, writers such as Huxley, Orwell, Burgess and Ballard have employed futuristic narratives to explore the philosophical, psychological and moral issues raised by the interaction between technology and society.

The possible health advances from the emerging science of synthetic biology may have a significant impact on both our lives and the lives of future people. It may result in medical applications which affect human experience and the sorts of people who come in to existence. It may lead to new ways of treating diseases, such as targeted cancer treatments, which could radically extend the human lifespan. Or, it could give us new psychopharmaceuticals which allow us, or other people to change our emotions and psychological states. It may also lead to people having new physical capabilities and powers which human beings have never had before

The SYBHEL Project is instigating a short story competition in order to imaginatively consider these sorts of issues through the creation of fictional narratives. We are interested in stories told using a range of different media including, writing, film, animation, graphic novels, spoken word or music. If you would like to enter and see the prizes on offer please visit www.sybhel.org for further information, you can also follow us on twitter @SYBHEL_Project.


1st Prize £100

Two 2nd Prizes £50

In addition to the cash prize there will also be an opportunity for shortlisted stories to be published in some form on the SYBHEL website. Winners may also have the opportunity to be invited to the final SYBHEL Project event.


Read the new announcement - on the SYBHEL website

Find out how to apply - on the SYBHEL website

Nuffield Council announces new bioethics film competition

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has announced a new bioethics film competition: Box Office Bioethics. Those entering the competition need to produce a 3-5 minute film clip on a topical bioethical issue.

The competition is open to individuals or groups of students in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It may be of particular interest for students working towards an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). There are three student categories:

  • Year 11 and under;
  • Years 12 and 13;
  • Undergraduate.

Read the news announcement - on the Nuffield Council website

Find out how to apply - on the Nuffield Council website

Journal of Medical Ethics, November issue: editor's choice

Courteous but not curious: how doctors' politeness masks their existential neglect. A qualitative study of video-recorded patient consultations

Caring for patients is a deep-rooted moral obligation in medicine, but what this means is unclear. Several empirical studies have shown that doctors rarely involve their patients in the clinical decisions made about them. Other research has highlighted how doctors focus on the technical and biomedical aspects of a case, and play down patients' own values and feelings. In 2007–8, using observations and interviews, we studied how doctors handle the moral dimensions of their medical work.

View the full article - on the JME website

Revd Bryan Vernon - Treasurer

Medical Humanities

Medical Humanities journal coverMedical Humanities is a leading international journal that reflects the whole field of medical humanities. It aims to encourage a high academic standard for this evolving and developing subject and to enhance professional and public discussion.

It features original articles relevant to the delivery of healthcare, the formulation of public health policy, the experience of being ill and of caring for those who are ill, as well as case conferences, educational case studies, book, film, and art reviews, editorials, correspondence, news and notes. Like the JME, Medical Humanities has Editorial Board members from all around the world.

Journal of Medical Ethics

JME coverThe Journal of Medical Ethics is a leading international journal that reflects the whole field of medical ethics. The journal seeks to promote ethical reflection and conduct in scientific research and medical practice.

It features original articles on ethical aspects of health care, as well as case conferences, book reviews, editorials, correspondence, news and notes. To ensure international relevance, the JME has Editorial Board members from all around the world including the US, Europe, Australasia and the Far East.

Subscribers to the Journal of Medical Ethics also receive Medical Humanities journal at no extra cost. The JME is the official journal of the Institute of Medical Ethics.