Student Competition

~ Competition Details ~

We are very please to be able to announce the winners of this year's competition.
1st prize - David T Gregg | 2nd prize - Pishoy Gouda | 3rd prize - Emily Kidd

Their winning entries will be published on the Student 4 Best Evidence blog shortly. 

The Task

This year, the symposium's guiding theme is 'advocating for evidence'. This has two meanings: advocating on behalf of evidence, so that it is heard and respected, and advocating for the availability and quality of evidence. To tie in with this, we would like you to produce a press pack for one of three recent Cochrane reviews given below.

Press Release

  • 1: Surgery for weight loss in adults (Click for link to the Cochrane Library)
    • This one is quite topical, since NICE have recently published guidance mandating that surgery for weight loss be used, especially for people with diabetes.

  • 2: Thrombolysis for acute ischaemic stroke (Click for link to the Cochrane Library)
    • There is a sense that stroke care for people of 80+ years is lacking. This review has implications for such a situation.

  • 3: Sentinel node assessment for diagnosis of groin lymph node involvement in vulval cancer (Click for link to the Cochrane Library)
    • Cochrane mostly produce reviews of interventions, such as the two above. We also produce DTAs, or 'diagnostic test accuracy' reviews, which aim to understand the usefulness of a particular diagnostic test.. These can be a little tricky to grasp, so a good press pack would be really useful.

Hints and Tips

Press packs - the information that journalists get given by organisations to construct a story about their achievements - are important sets of information, both for scientific groups who wish for their discoveries to be widely known, and for editors wishing to fill up the pages of their newspaper or magazine. As a result, they must be both accurate, interesting, and easy to understand.

To compete for the prize, you must produce a short (less than 5 minutes) presentation of the data, fulfilling these criteria. Further details are below.

  • Summarize the evidence in plain English
  • List 3 ‘must know’ details from the evidence
  • State how good the evidence is (the Cochrane review will tell you)
  • Discuss the importance and impact of the evidence (What kind of implications and applications might arise from this data?)
  • State who they would like to target with the press pack (e.g. young parents, medical professionals, policy makers, etc.)
  • Which newspaper is it aimed at: The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Sun etc.* (You will need to appeal to their particular readers' interests)
  • Provide a snappy title for a newspaper article (Something you can imagine wanting to read yourself)

*For contributors from Ireland, you could appeal to readers of the Irish Times (highbrow), The Examiner (middle), or Evening Herald (younger audience), for example.

Translating scientific information into a form that is readable and applicable is really important. It's not just important for selling more newspapers, but also for making the information more likely to be absorbed by people, and made use of by busy medical professionals, like GPs. Your response needn't be confined to text; think about making a prezi, video, or audio recording, or a collection of small postcards or something. Anything that will be likely to grab the interest of a news-thirsty editor. Remember to be imaginative. Cochrane reviews are very formal, and often very dry. Don't be afraid to spice things up a bit if you think that will be effective as long as it is correct!

Please email entries, forms, and letters to, with 'Student Symposium competition entry' in the subject field, by the 16th February 2015.

The Prize:

The best three press packs will win their authors registration to attend the Cochrane UK & Ireland Symposium 2015, held in Dublin on the 23rd & 24th April 2015. 

All prizes to include registration, one night's accommodation (23rd April 2015) and travel expenses (standard fare).
1.  First prize £200 Amazon token + certificate
2.  Second prize £100 Amazon token + certificate
3.  Third prize £75 Amazon token + certificate
The winning entries will also be featured on the Students 4 Best Evidence blog.

Entry requirements: 


  • You must be a current student (from any discipline) at a UK- or Ireland-based university.
  • We will only accept one entry per student.
  • Alongside your entry, please supply a signed letter from your university, stating that you are indeed a current student there.
  • Please also fill in the attached form, stating your approximate travel costs (standard fare) to and from the venue.

We (UKCC) will book your accommodation for the night of the 23rd April 2015 in Dublin. We will only provide one night's accommodation. The prize does not include a ticket to the Symposium Gala Dinner, which you're welcome to buy a ticket for separately.

The winning entries will be decided by a panel of four judges. The winners will be announced on the 13th March 2015.