Call for Neuroethics Essays

The International Neuroethics Society (INS) and the International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA) are pleased to announce a call for submissions for the Neuroethics Essay Contest in 2022. Now in its ninth year, the contest promotes interest in neuroethics among students and trainees around the world.

Three submission categories are available:

  • IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Essay Competition
  • General Audience
  • Academic

One winner from each category will be selected in August and receive a free 1-year INS student membership ($30 value) and a $250 prize. Winners who are able to attend the 2022 INS Annual Meeting will also have their meeting registration fee waived. (All amounts are in U.S. Dollars and may be subject to transfer fees.)

Essays must be submitted by July 1. Incomplete or late submissions will not be accepted. Please review all eligibility and submission requirements below. We especially encourage submissions from students and trainees from underrepresented groups.

Contact INS staff (administrator@neuroethicssociety.org) with questions or requests for accommodation. Contact Ashley Thommana, managing editor of the IYNA Journal (athommana@youthneuro.org), with any questions or requests for accommodation if you are submitting in the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category.

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Share the call for essays with your colleagues and students who are interested in neuroethics. We have images and documents to promote the contest available in multiple languages. Thank you for helping to spread the word.

Author Eligibility

Education Level

Participation in the contest is open to any student in high school or secondary school, any post-secondary student, and any postdoctoral fellow or similar early-career trainee from anywhere in the world. Students must be currently enrolled in school, accepted to a program for a future term, or preparing to apply to graduate programs.

Students in high school or an equivalent secondary school program during the Spring 2022 semester must submit their essays to the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category.

‘Post-secondary student’ includes those enrolled in a degree-granting program at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level. This also includes those enrolled in pre-university post-secondary institutions such as CEGEPs, sixth form colleges, lycées, etc. Examples of ‘early career trainees’ include recent graduates serving in a postdoctoral position, medical residents or fellows, judicial law clerks or articled students at law firms, research assistants, and contract or sessional lecturers/instructors in their first or second years out of graduate training.

Those included in the definition of ‘post-secondary student’ or ‘early career trainees’ during the Spring 2022 semester may submit an essay to either the Academic or General Audience categories. Authors may submit two different essays — one to each category.

Discipline / Status

There are no restrictions regarding an author’s program or area of study as long as their essay meets all requirements outlined below. The committee encourages essay submissions from authors training in fields such as neuroscience, law, medicine, philosophy, and many other social and natural sciences. Authors from all countries and regions are encouraged to participate, and we especially welcome applicants from underrepresented or marginalized groups.

Contest winners are warmly encouraged, but not required, to attend the 2022 INS Annual Meeting. Participation in the contest does not preclude future submission of an extended version of the manuscript to academic journals or other scholarly or general audience publications.

Authors do not need to be members of the INS or IYNA to submit an essay. If you have questions about eligibility, contact INS staff (administrator@neuroethicssociety.org).

Essay Topic & Requirements

Essay submissions can cover any topic in neuroethics and should address a focused problem at the intersections of the mind and brain sciences, ethics, and law. Example topics include, but are not limited to: neuroenhancement, neurolaw, moral psychology, moral philosophy, brain stimulation, ethics of neurodegenerative illness, neurogenetics, neurotechnology policy and regulation, philosophy of mind, clinical ethics in psychiatry and neurosurgery, neural imaging, big data and neuroscience, brain–computer interaction, military applications of neurotechnology, and free will.

The committee makes no in-principle restrictions regarding neuroethical topics and encourages authors to take creative approaches with their essays. We encourage you to review previous winning essays as you put together your contest submission.

IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Essay Competition

Submissions to the High School competition should explore the relationship between ethics, neuroscience, and society in plain language for the general public. Essays should be based on reliable primary and secondary sources — Wikipedia and similar sources are not acceptable. Essays must be written in English by a single author. Essay length may not exceed 1,000 words. The abstract and references do not count toward the total word count.

Essay for a General Audience

Essay submissions to the General Audience category should explore a topic or story at the interface between ethics, neuroscience, and society in plain language for the general public, as might be found in a magazine or news outlet aimed at non-specialist audiences. Essays addressing neuroethical topics of high social significance are particularly welcome. Essays must be written in English by a single author. Essay length may not exceed 1,000 words excluding references and disclosures.

Academic Essay

Academic essay submissions should critically explore a current issue in neuroethics through rigorous, evidence-based argumentation. Essays should be succinct, polished final drafts that represent original, unpublished work and are suitable for publication in a topically-appropriate scholarly journal. Essays produced for or derived from previous coursework are eligible for submission as long as they meet all other requirements. Essays must be written in English by a single author. Essays may not exceed 2,000 words excluding references and disclosures.

Submissions

Submissions must be received by July 1, 2022, at 11:30 p.m. EDT. Incomplete or late submissions will not be accepted.

Essays for the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category must be submitted to the IYNA Journal, and should follow the IYNA Format Guidelines instead of the format guidelines prescribed to the other two categories. Contact Ashley Thommana, managing editor of the IYNA Journal (athommana@youthneuro.org) with any questions about the submission process for the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category.

Essay submissions for the Academic and General Audience categories must be uploaded through the online form, and should use the essay format document (.docx) to ensure your submission includes all required information on a cover page and no identifying information on any other page so your submission can be easily anonymized for the review process. Contact INS staff (administrator@neuroethicssociety.org) with any questions about the submission process for the Academic and General Audience categories.

Selection Process

Essays will be judged on their originality and structure of argument, conceptual clarity, rigor of defense, quality of writing, and conclusions as outlined in this year’s scoring rubric.

Submissions undergo an anonymous review by two or more referees from the INS Student/Postdoc Committee or by a panel of judges chosen by the IYNA Journal Editorial Team. Contest referees include students and postdocs from the fields of neuroscience, law, medicine, philosophy, and other areas of the sciences and humanities. All decisions made by the INS Student/Postdoc Committee and the IYNA judges are final.

Notification of the contest winners — one from each submission category — will be emailed to all participating authors by September 1. See winners and honorable mentions from previous contests.

Publishing

Winning and honorable mention essays will be posted on the INS website and may be considered for publication by another institution appropriate for the topic discussed. Recent winning essays have been published online by the Dana Foundation and past winners have gone on to publish essays in other outlets such as Scientific American. All submissions to the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Competition category will be considered for publication in the neuroethics column of the IYNA Journal.

Participation in the contest does not preclude future submission of a version of the manuscript to other magazines, academic journals, or other scholarly or general interest publications.