The Student Voice – Essay Competition

Findacure’s annual student essay competition aims to increase the awareness of rare diseases among medical students and young scientists. The competition is based on a selection of questions that encourage students to think about the patient experience of rare diseases, the impact rare disease research has on our understanding of human biology, and the way that understanding rare diseases can change the way treatments are delivered throughout the health system.

The competition is open to medical students, biology undergraduates, and biology masters students worldwide. All are invited to answer one of our three questions in less than 1,500 words, in a style accessible to all rare disease stakeholders. Entries are judged by a panel of rare disease experts and patients. They pick a winning essay for each question, one of which is declared the overall winner.

Each winning essay receives a cash prize, and free entry to our scientific conference. Furthermore in 2015, Findacure began a partnership with  Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases, giving the winner of the competition the chance to become a published author. In both 2015 and 2016 our overall winning entry was published in the journal, while a number of the other outstanding entries were published online in the BioMed Central On Biology and On Medicine blogs. We receive so many fantastic essays that we then choose another few to appear on our own weekly blog. Past entrants have even taken up writing for our blog on a regular basis.

Essay Competition 2017

The Student Voice continues to go from strength to strength, and will return in October 2017. We want to thank all of our entrants for their time and effort, along with our sponsors who have made the competition possible.

If you’d like to get involved or support the competition we are always looking for new ideas for essay titles and competition judges. We’re also keen to find new ways to promote the event to the student community – if you have any ideas please get in touch. Finally we’re always on the look out for sponsors for the Student Voice. You can learn more about acting as a sponsor on our corporates and sponsorship page, or by contacting our Head of Research Rick Thompson on [email protected].

Past Competitions

If you’d like to learn more about our past competitions, and read some of the winning articles, you can find a wealth of useful links below.

Essay Competition 2016

The Student Voice 2016 saw a continuation of our partnership with the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. You can find out the third installment of the competition, including some excerpts by reading our blog. The winning entries can be view in full by following the links below.

Essay Competition 2015

The second edition of our essay competition saw Findacure partner with the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases for the first time. You can read our review of the competition here, or the winning entries – including our overall winner’s published article – by following the links below.

A further two entrants had their articles published as blogs on the On Biology website.

I’m a teenager – do I care if my disease is rare? – by Harriette Pearson

Rare disease research helps us understand medicine for all diseases – by Jeremy Reid

Essay Competition 2014

Our first essay competition was run in 2014. You can read the winning entries by following the links below.

Winner – Rosemary Grain
How has the study of rare diseases influenced our knowledge of more common diseases?

Runner-up – Benjamin Ng
How has the study of rare diseases influenced our knowledge of more common diseases?

Runner-up – Anne Fitzgibbon
Discuss how experiences of a patient with a rare disease may differ from those of a patient with a common disease.