Franklin essay prize opens to Medical School students

01 June 2021

An annual essay writing competition held in memory of the pioneering chemist Rosalind Franklin, has opened to students at Aston Medical School.

Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite.

The theme of this year’s competition is ‘Covid-19, Medical Education and Me’. The essays submitted will be a reflective and personal perspective on recent events and the future shape of early years’ medical education.

Aston Medical School's Rosalind Franklin Essay Prize was conceived and funded by Dr Daniel Franklin in 2020. Daniel is the nephew of Rosalind Franklin and an alumnus of Aston University, graduating twice, once in 1981 with a PhD and again in 2013, where he was awarded an honorary degree.  

Daniel, who has been executive editor of The Economist since 2003, said: "In its first year the Rosalind Franklin Essay Prize inspired some outstanding entries. It offers Aston Medical School students a chance to shine, and to receive lasting recognition."

A panel which includes Daniel and staff from Aston Medical School will judge the entries. The panel is expected to announce the winner in July and the winning essay will receive a prize of £750 and the runner up will be awarded £250.

Last year’s winners included Jamie Richards, in first place, Divanshi Trivedi in second place and Paula Adodo and Ethel Ojo, who received commendations; for their essays on ‘Covid, Learning, Medicine and Me’. The students were tasked with writing a reflection on the pandemic and how it had affected their studies; and explored their aspirations for their future medical careers.

Winning entrant Jamie said: “I was surprised and very happy to be awarded first place in the competition. Writing the essay was an enjoyable and insightful experience, it gave me the opportunity to research an evolving pandemic, a healthcare scenario unseen by my generation of aspiring medics.”

Runner up Divanshi said: “The essay was a great opportunity for me to channel my restlessness during quarantine and a way to start writing again. The writing process also helped me to reflect on the pandemic from both a personal and scientific perspective.

“Winning second place in the competition was a wonderful surprise and I am very grateful for the prize”.


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