The MRC sponsored East Regional Final of the Debating Matters Competition took place at Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute and University Technical College, both on the Cambridge Biomedical campus, on Tuesday 24 May. After winning debates on the motion ‘Physician Assisted Suicide should be Legalised’ against Longsands Academy and beating Southend High School for Boys by arguing against the motion ‘Artistic Expression Should never be Censored’, the nervous final pair of debaters from Norwich High School for Girls took on Stamford Endowed School. In her feedback to the Norwich girls, Professor Sheila Bird, senior scientist from the MRCs Biostatistics Unit, praised their tenacity and ability to think quickly under intense questioning. The victorious girls argued against the final motion ‘The UK should Liberalise its Drugs Policy’ and now go on to compete again at the competition’s National Final at The British Library in June.
Also judging debates during the daylong event were Carmel Turner, Chief Press Officer at the MRC, Bene’t Steinberg from Cambridge Assessment, Barrister and Journalist Rupert Myers, Sean Lang from Anglia Ruskin University and Bob Satchwell, Executive Director of the Society of Editors. The day opened with a welcome address from Adrian Penrose, the MRC’s Industry Partnerships Communications Manager who is also based on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
Norwich High School for Girls have entered the Debating Matters Competition for the last 7 years and this is the first time they have won through to the National Final stage. Teacher Rebecca Musson said “I can’t quite believe we’ve finally done it, we’re all in shock”.