Calling all students: win a BGS essay prize of £500!

BGS Logo CMYKThe BGS Movement Disorders Section award an annual prize for an essay on various aspects of Parkinsons Disease (title of which is decided upon by the section) for medical students, nursing students, therapy students and science students.

The first prize is a whopping £500; second and third prizes are also substantial at £300 and £200 respectively. The winning essay is also published on the British Geriatrics Society website.

This year’s title is “If I Had Parkinsons Disease” and the deadline for entries is 1st July 2015. Full details can be found on the BGS website, and  all entries should be sent to Joanna Gough at

Essay prize Winner  Raphaella Furnivall 2014:

Knowing very little about PD, I delved into research and was quickly engrossed by the complexity of the condition, the myriad challenges faced by the clinicians treating it, and the daily trials of patients living with it. As I was writing my essay, it further struck me that I myself, or any one of my friends, might be diagnosed with PD later in life, which made finding better treatments all the more personal and relevant for me.

 I was truly honoured, therefore, when my essay was awarded a joint first prize and published on the BGS website. (The cash prize of £500 was also incredibly gratifying and happily spent on expensive new textbooks :/ …. And yes, some fun as well!) I would encourage everyone to have a go at writing an essay for the BGS Essay prize. The learning experience itself is worth the effort and the skills you gain in scouring through medical databases will certainly come in handy later in your medical career. Happy writing!

Essay prize Winner Sarah Hutchinson 2012 & joint winner 2014:

The BGS Movement Disorders Prize was advertised through my medical school and I decided to enter first in 2013 when I saw that the title was, “Living with Parkinson’s Disease in a care home.”  A relative of mine had recently had this experience, and I thought that writing the essay would be a good way to learn more about Parkinson’s Disease, as well as being a useful revision tool for my upcoming exams.

 When I received an email to say that I had won the prize I was really surprised, but obviously very happy! It felt good to have my efforts rewarded in a way that rarely happens at medical school, where even an above average performance is generally branded as nothing more than, “satisfactory.” 

I have encouraged all of my friends to enter the BGS competition again next year, but also to enter any other essay competitions that are advertised. Essay prizes look great on your CV, and are good to talk about at interviews. Even if you don’t win, you will still learn a huge amount about the subject of the essay. 

Last of all, don’t assume that you won’t win just because you’re not a literary laureate with a burning desire to be a neurologist specialising in movement disorders. I am certainly not either of those things, but with some solid reading a bit of time commitment, I have managed the win the BGS prize twice. Have a go, and you might surprise yourself! 

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