Rules and Entry Form:
The Society for the Social History of Medicine invites submissions to its 2021 Roy Porter Student Essay Prize Competition.
One prize will be awarded for the best original, unpublished essay in the social history of medicine. The winner will be awarded £500 and will be offered the opportunity to deliver a keynote at the SSHM conference. If the winner chooses to accept, they will be awarded free registration and travel/accommodation expenses of £240, £360, or £500, depending on the distance they are travelling. They will be invited to to apply for a bursary for two-thirds of the remainder of costs, if needed and if they are eligible under that scheme to do so.
Those shortlisted for the Roy Porter Prize will be awarded £100 each and, along with the winner, will be presented with prize certificates.
The winner and any shortlisted entrants may also be invited to submit to the journal, Social History of Medicine, subject to the usual reviewing procedures. In addition to their other awards, the winner and those shortlisted will be offered publishing mentoring and guidance by the Chair of the Roy Porter Prize Committee, Dr Rebecca Wynter.
The Prize will not be awarded if the Panel considers that none of the essays reaches an acceptable standard.
The Panel will consist of the Chair of the Society, one of the Editors of SHM and at least two members of the Executive Committee of the Society, with the assistance of members of the editorial board.
Undergraduate or postgraduate students, part-time or full-time either registered at the deadline for submission of entries or awarded their degree in 2021.
All entrants must be members of the Society by the date of submission and state their membership number on the Entry Form. You can join the Society by subscribing at https://academic.oup.com/shm. (The membership requirement may be waived for residents of developing countries, as listed on the OUP website. Please contact the Executive Secretary for further guidance).
Members of the Executive Committee of the SSHM or the Editorial Board of Social History of Medicine may not enter the competition, even if otherwise eligible.
Candidates who are uncertain as to their eligibility should contact the Executive Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) before preparing their entry.
Essays must be:
unpublished and not submitted to any other competition at the same time
written in English
anonymous (authors must identify themselves only on the Entry Form stating SSHM membership number)
5000-9000 words in length (including footnotes)
referenced in accordance with conventions of Social History of Medicine, available at http://shm.oxfordjournals.org under ‘Instructions for authors’
not previously submitted to this competition
submitted before the final deadline of 5pm UK time on 1 February 2022.
Announcement of the Winner
A decision will be made by 30 June 2022 and the prize winner will be announced in summer 2022. All entrants will be notified of the outcome, but the panel regrets it is unable to provide feedback on unsuccessful entries.
2020 Roy Porter Student Essay Prize Competition
One winner and three shortlisted essays were selected from the anonymised entries.
Congratulations to this year’s Roy Porter Prize winner John Beales (Keele University and the Imperial War Museums) fpr his winning entry ‘Of One Blood?’ Challenging perceptions of wartime blood donor motivation and behaviour: a case study of Bristol and the South West, 1939-1945’.
Shortlisted entries, which will also be invited to be submitted to the journal, were received from: Marsha Wubbels (University of Exeter), ‘A Weighty Matter: understanding fatness, weight-watching and the ‘healthful Standard’ in eighteenth-Century England’; Lauren Killingsworth (Yale University), ‘“With Maps Illustrative of the Disease”: Medical Cartography in Late Nineteenth-Century Colonial India’.
2019 Roy Porter Student Essay Prize Competition
Congratulations to Elizabeth Evens (UCL) for her winning entry: ‘Playboy Yearbooks and the backlash to women’s increased presence in the U.S. medical schools’.
Shortlisted entries, which will also be invited to be submitted to the journal, were received from: Helen Esfandiary (KCL), “Nurture prevailes more than nature’: the role of preventative medicine in early modern child-rearing’; Sarah Murphy-Young (University of Leeds), ‘The ‘modern’ chemist’s window: material practice and professional advocacy in British retail pharmacy, 1920s-1930s’; and Kristin Brig (Johns Hopkins), ‘The economics of sick cows: the use of cows for smallpox vaccine lymph production, 1870s-1900s’.
2018 Roy Porter Student Essay Prize Winners
Congratulations to Mateusz Zatonski (LSHTM) for his winning entry: ‘Lighting up under the “No Smoking” sign: tobacco control regulation in Communist Poland’.
Shortlisted entries, which will also be invited to be submitted to the journal, were received from: Sara Caputo (Cambridge) for ‘Treating, preventing, feigning, concealing: sickness, agency and the medical culture of the Georgian naval sailor’; Jack Greatrex (HKU) for ‘The rat, the cow and the cockroach: Hong Kong and the vanishing animals of plague research’; and Brianne Wesolowski (Vanderbilt) for ‘Knowledge in motion: the practices, technologies and mentalities of Joseph H. Pilates’.
2017 Roy Porter Student Essay Prize Winners
Congratulations to Kit Heintzman (Harvard University), for her winning essay for the Roy Porter Prize 2017-18: ‘Bedrooms and Barnyards: Two Medicines in Revolutionary France’. The judges felt that this was ‘a very interesting and well-researched paper, which utilises the concept of One Health to pick apart relationships of scientific and healing communities within the state in Revolutionary France’.
Thanks to the other entrants also for the high standard of essays received. Due to the quality of their submissions, two other essays were also ‘highly commended’:
Peder Clark (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine): ‘”Problems of today and tomorrow”: Prevention and the National Health Service in the 1970s’
Michelle Webb (University of Exeter): ‘ “Spotted all over”: The afterlife of leprosy in Early Modern England’
We hope to see the entrants’ essays published in SHM in due course.
List of previous prize winners, from 2003 onwards with links to published articles
Undergraduate Essay Prize
The SSHM Undergraduate Prize Competition awarded prizes for the best unpublished original research essays in the social history of medicine, from two groups of undergraduate students: humanities and social science students; and medical, healthcare and allied science students. Previous winners have written blogs based on their essays, which can be found HERE.
This prize is discontinued, but undergraduates can enter the Roy Porter Student Essay Prize competition.