Geoff Hall Scholarship
Full information re the Geoff Hall Memorial Scholarships
Two scholarships have been created in memory of one of the founding fathers of EMWA, Geoff Hall, who sadly passed away in 2010. Geoff was not only a founding member of EMWA, but was also a past president, wrote the original EMWA constitution, was an extremely experienced workshop leader, and a stalwart of the social scene. Geoff felt very strongly that the future of EMWA lies with younger members joining and moving through the organisation to become workshop leaders and members of the EMWA committees, and so the scholarships are an ideal way to honour Geoff and his huge contribution to EMWA.
Geoff Hall Scholarship 2023
Up to two scholarships are available in memory of one of the founding fathers of EMWA, Geoff Hall, who sadly passed away in 2010.
The essay title for 2023 is ‘Can scientific documents be easy to read?’
The submission deadline for entries is 30 September 2023.
Eligible applicants must be new medical writers: that is, they intend to enter the profession or have been employed for no longer than one year as a professional medical writer, including freelance work. They need not be current members of EMWA.
Applicants must include a short statement declaring what work they do or have been doing and that they meet the eligibility criteria.
Eligibility of applicants
- Eligible applicants must be new medical writers: that is, they intend to enter the profession or have been employed at the time of the submission deadline, for no longer than one year as a professional medical writer, including freelance work and internships. They need not be current members of EMWA. Previous scholarship holders are not eligible.
- Applicants must include a short statement declaring what work they do or have been doing and that they meet the eligibility criteria.
- The essay must be in English and not longer than 1000 words, excluding the title and any references, but including any subheadings. Essays may also include tables and figures, but each table or figure will be counted as 250 words. Longer entries will be rejected.
- Please submit a short statement regarding eligibility along with the essay to firstname.lastname@example.org. This statement must include the amount of time that the entrant has worked in the field of medical writing or any similar activity. If an entrant is unsure of their eligibility, they must provide full details of potentially relevant past experience to the Geoff Hall Scholarships Committee. Failure to do so may lead to withdrawal of the scholarship.
- Essays must be submitted as a Word document, with the word count clearly stated. The word count will be verified before the essay can be considered eligible.
- The Geoff Hall Scholarships Committee will judge the entries based on inspiration, originality and logical thought rather than a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.
- The same committee will also judge the editorial standard of the essay. As a guide, the essay must be of a standard fit for publication in EMWA’s journal, Medical Writing, or another reputable English language journal, with at most only minor copy editing needed to correct language and to adapt the format to the journal’s requirements. All entries will be subject to plagiarism-checking software.
- If no entries are of sufficient quality, no scholarship will be awarded in that year. The decision of the Geoff Hall Scholarships Committee is final.
Read the official Rules and Regulations here.
What could a Scholarship Award winner receive?
- Free membership for 2 years from January of the following year or from the first renewal of membership after the time of the award
- Free conference registration (4 conferences) over a maximum of 3 years starting from the time of the award
- One (1) free Foundation Workshop at the first conference
Submission of entries and announcement of winning entries
- The submission deadline for entries is 30 September in any given year. Eligible applicants may re-apply in subsequent years.
- The winners will be notified by the Chair of the Geoff Hall Scholarships Committee, as close as possible to the beginning of February of the following year, with a view to attending the EMWA Spring Conference in the same year to be presented with the award.
- The winning entry or entries will be subsequently published on the EMWA website and in the next edition of the EMWA journal Medical Writing.
- The winners agree not to disclose publicly that they have been awarded a scholarship until the announcement is made by EMWA. EMWA reserves the right to withdraw the award if this rule is broken. The winners will be reminded of this in the email informing them that they have been awarded a scholarship.
The Geoff Hall Scholarships (GHSs) are given in honour of a former President of EMWA. The Scholarships are awarded annually on the basis of an essay competition, and the title of this year’s essay was ‘How to keep your reader interested from start to finish’. This year the scholarships were awarded to Hanna Kurlanda-Witek and Sara Mostafa.
Hanna graduated from the University of Warsaw (Poland) with a master’s degree in environmental science in 2008. She then completed her PhD degree in geosciences at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. After working in an engineering consultancy in Warsaw for a few years, Hanna became a freelance science writer. Sara obtained her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Khartoum, Sudan. She moved to the UK in 2018, and after a break in her clinical career, has recently embarked on her journey as a freelance medical writer.
Hanna’s and Sara’s winning essays are presented in the June issue of MEW, and this year’s essay competition is now open. The title is ‘Can scientific documents be easy to read?’
The title of this year’s essay was ‘The Ethics of Medical Writing’. The committee has the ability to award up to two scholarships each year. This year they decided to award a single scholarship - to Sampoorna Rappaz.
Sampoorna received her master’s degree in human genetics from the University of Leeds in 2008 and completed her doctoral training in cancer biology at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, in 2014. After a career break, she restarted her professional life as a freelance scientific editor in 2019.
She found deep satisfaction in helping authors effectively communicate complex and important science. During 2020-21, as our world was awash with health-related information, she became even more keenly focused on training to become a professional medical communicator.
Sampoorna’s winning essay is published in the June 2022 edition of Medical Writing, and we wish her the very best at the start of her very promising medical writing career.
The title of this year’s essay was “Do you have what it takes to be a medical writer? Discuss three attributes or skills that best qualify one to be a medical writer”. This year’s scholarship winners were Johanna Svanberg Larsson and Alexandra Smith.
Watch the video here:
The title of the 2019 essay was ‘How would you go about identifying a predatory journal?’ This year’s scholarship winners were Adriana Rocha and Petal Smart.
Adriana Rocha has a degree in Biochemistry from Portugal, which was followed by a PhD in Medical Neurosciences in Germany. After a postdoc in the USA she decided to leave academic research and transition into industry. She is now a freelance medical writer.
Petal Smart is a veterinary surgeon by training. Over the past five years, she has been a medical/science editor serving primarily non-native English-speaking authors. She has a keen interest in regulatory affairs as they relate to medical devices, both those intended for human use and those intended for veterinary use.
Adriana’s and Petal’s winning essays are presented in the June issue of Medical Writing, and we wish them the very best at the start of their very promising medical writing careers.
The title of the 2018 essay was ‘The medical Writer: Partner or Servant?’
The scholarships committee decided to award only one scholarship, to Abbie Fearon. Abbie received her PhD in tumour biology in 2015 from Barts Cancer Institute, in London. She then moved to Switzerland to take up a role as a postdoctoral research scientist at the ETH, Zürich, and Abbie is still there today. She also has a real love of science communication and is now focused on combining her research career with scientific writing for the general public.
John Carpenter presented Geoff Hall Memorial Scholarships to Marisa Granados (left) and Amy Joughin Parr (right). A networking reception was then held and gave everyone a chance to meet up with old friends…and to make some new ones.
The Geoff Hall Scholarships are given in honour of a former President of EMWA. Geoff was a very special person, an extremely valued member of EMWA, and a very good friend to many EMWA members. He firmly believed that the future of EMWA lies in our new and potential members, and so it’s a very fitting legacy that we have the Scholarship Awards in his memory.
The title of this year’s essay was ‘Good Medical Writing Saves Lives’. There were a record number of entries, and the winners were Sophia Whitman and Cirsten Verleger.
Sophia Whitman obtained degrees in immunology and psychology, and then left this career to become a doctor. Following the birth of her son, she took part time work as an intern medical writer with St Giles Medical. Cirsten Verleger trained as a doctor in Germany, and then became a translator for medical and pharmaceutical texts with a degree in business translation.
Sophia’s and Cirsten’s winning essays are presented in the next issue of Medical Writing, and Cirsten was able to receive her award in person on the stage at the opening ceremony of the 2017 EMWA Spring Conference in Birmingham.
We wish them both the very best for what promises to be two very exciting careers in medical writing.
Cirsten (left) being presented with her award by Lisa Chamberlain James of the Geoff Hall Scholarships Committee.
The 2014 winners were Andreas Sakka and Nicholas Churton. Read an excerpt here.
The 2013 winner was Menorca Chaturvedi of the University of Bonn, Germany. You can read her winning entry here.
Andreas and Nicholas being presented with their awards by Lisa Chamberlain James of the Geoff Hall Scholarships Committee.