The human brain, human enhancement technologies and exploring the insides are up for debate by students as they take part in the next European Youth Parliament regional meeting in the city this week.
Sixty students aged 16 to 19 from across Nottingham will take part in the Debate Science! The Future of the Human Being event, at the Council House tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday.
The idea behind the European Youth Parliament is to promote the exchange between scientists and young students, while getting valuable feedback on issues affecting science and society.
Students will explore five topics linked to human development including neurology and dementia, healthy eating, in vitro fertilisation, human augmentation and synthetic biology.
Over the two-day event, expert witnesses from Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham will give evidence to the five workshop groups. They will explore the arguments and develop resolutions about their topics which will then be debated and voted on during the Friday afternoon final debate session – just like real-life parliamentary sessions.
The event is one of 17 student parliaments taking place across Europe between January and April, with Nottingham being the only venue in England. As the culmination of the project, around 100 students from across Europe will be invited to the Final European Student Parliament, which is being held in Manchester in July. Five students from the Nottingham Parliament will be selected to attend the event in Manchester.
Students from Central, NCN colleges, Bilborough College, Trinity School, Bluecoat School, Joseph Whitaker School and Nottingham Trent University are taking part in the event, which has been organised by the city’s Stemcity engagement partnership and Nottingham Trent University.
Nottingham City Council’s Youth Cabinet has been heavily involved in the planning and delivery of the event.
Youth Cabinet member Theresa Jennings, a Sixth Form student at Trinity School said “Debate Science! is a fantastic forum for exploring different themes around human development. For the youth delegates it’s an amazing chance to grow their understanding and build their skills while making sure the voice of young people is heard on these vital topics.”
Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Skills at Nottingham City Council, will be joining students for the debate. He said: “This event is a great way for young people in Nottingham to talk about the future of science and industry in the city. Nottingham itself is a science city so it’s a perfect location to engage with and discuss scientific issues that affect the world today. It’s also a great way for local teenagers to listen to, work with and learn from experts in the field as they decide on further education or employment.”
Dr Karen Moss, Director of the Centre for Effective Learning in Science (CELS) and Reader In Science Education at Nottingham Trent University, said: “The Debate Science European Youth Parliament event which is being held in Nottingham this week provides scientists from Nottingham Trent University with the opportunity to engage with students and help them to consider science for their further studies and careers.
“We are looking forward to opening this science debate with the students and giving them a broader view of what science is all about. It is important for us to open their eyes to the fact that science is something that is happening every day in society, and is not just conducted in labs behind closed doors.
“It is particularly important for the event to take place in Nottingham as it is a science city, well-known for its excellence in science and technology, especially for its research and successful companies in areas such as life sciences, clean energy and digital content.”
The project Debate Science! European Student Parliaments is funded by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Bayer Science and Education Foundation.
The overall topic is The Future of the Human Being. Sub-topics are:
- The human brain
- Living and eating healthy, but how?
- The changing reproduction of mankind
- Stem cells – the potential all-rounders?
- Exploring the inside
- Augmented human: optimising the human
- Imitating nature
The Nottingham event is being organised by Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Trent University.
The event is part of the Festival of Science and Curiosity taking place this week. For more details go to www.stemcity.co.uk