IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Essay Contest

Call for Neuroethics Essays

The International Neuroethics Society (INS) and the International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA) are pleased to announce a call for submissions for the 2021 High School Neuroethics Essay Contest. Now in its third year, the contest aims to promote interest in neuroethics among high school students around the world. NOTE: This submission portal is only for high school students participating in the INS Neuroethics Essay Contest. If you are a college or graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, or early-career trainee, please read this Call for Essays on the INS website instead. One winner will be selected in August and recognized at the 2021 INS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC — the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to neuroethics. The winner will receive a free 1-year INS student membership ($30 value), free admission into the virtual 2021 INS Annual Meeting (up to a $330 value), and a $250 Michael Patterson Travel Stipend to help with expenses (all amounts in U.S. Dollars and may be subject to transfer fees).

Author Eligibility

Submitting authors must be in high school or an equivalent secondary school program during the Spring 2021 semester. Authors from all countries and regions are encouraged to participate. Authors do not need to be members of the INS or IYNA to submit an essay. The contest winner is warmly encouraged, but not required, to attend the 2021 INS Annual Meeting.

Essay Topic & Requirements

Essay submissions can cover any topic in neuroethics and should address a focused problem at the intersections of the mind and brain sciences, ethics, and law in plain language for the general public. Example topics include, but are not limited to: neuroenhancement, brain stimulation, ethics of neurodegenerative illness, philosophy of mind, clinical ethics in psychiatry and neurosurgery, neural imaging, big data and neuroscience, brain–computer interaction, military applications of neurotechnology, and free will. The committee makes no in-principle restrictions regarding neuroethical topics and encourages authors to take creative approaches with their essays. We encourage you to review previous winning essays as you put together your contest submission. Essays should be based on reliable primary and secondary sources — Wikipedia and similar sources are not acceptable. Essays must be written in English by a single author. Essays must adhere to the IYNA-INS High School Neuroethics Essay Contest Format Guidelines. Essay length may not exceed 1,000 words excluding references.


Submissions must be received by July 12, 2021, at 11:30 p.m. EDT. Incomplete or late submissions will not be accepted. Please review all eligibility and submission requirements below. Contact the Editor-in-Chief at the IYNA Journal (swagle@youthneuro.org) with any questions or requests for accommodation.

Selection Process

Essays will be judged on their originality and structure of argument, conceptual clarity, rigor of defense, quality of writing, and conclusions. Submissions undergo a blind review by two or more referees from the INS Student/Postdoc Committee and/or by a panel of judges chosen by the IYNA Journal Editorial Team. Contest referees include students and postdocs from the fields of neuroscience, law, medicine, philosophy, and other areas of the sciences and humanities. All decisions made by the INS Student/Postdoc Committee and the IYNA Judges Panel are final. Notification of the contest winner and honorable mentions will be emailed to all participating authors by August 17, 2021.


The winning essays will be considered for publication on the INS website or by another institution appropriate for the topic discussed. Recent winning essays have been published online by the Dana Foundation. All submissions will also be considered for publication in the neuroethics column of the IYNA Journal. Participation in the contest does not preclude future submission of an extended version of a submitted essay to academic journals.


The INS started the Neuroethics Essay Contest to promote academic interest in neuroethics among students and early-career trainees around the world. The contest has recognized at least two authors for outstanding scholarship each year at the INS annual meeting since 2014. In 2019, eligibility was extended to high school students with the help of the IYNA. Since its inception, the contest has been supported by Dr. Michael Patterson, former editor of the Kopf Carrier and long-time supporter of neuroethics.


The International Neuroethics Society is an interdisciplinary group of scholars, scientists, clinicians, and other professionals dedicated to encouraging and inspiring research and dialogue on the responsible use of advances in brain science. People at all stages of their career join the Society to interact, learn, and participate in dynamic discussions that further the growing field of neuroethics. The International Youth Neuroscience Association is a global, youth-led nonprofit which supports and advocates for neuroscience education. The IYNA Journal publishes articles on neuroethics and other neuroscience topics. Since its founding at the 2016 USA National Brain Bee, the IYNA has expanded to represent over 5,000 members in 112 countries.