2021 Winner

2021 Winner – Eoin Murphy

DCU student Eoin Murphy is the 2021 winner of the €2000 Mary Mulvihill Award, the science media competition for third-level students that commemorates the legacy of science journalist and author Mary Mulvihill (1959–2015).

Download a copy of Eoin Murphy’s winning entry: Black Market Oxygen – The Peru Project

2021 Highly Commended

TCD student Matthew Thomas, received the judges’ highly commended award, which comprises a €500 cash prize.

Download a copy of Matthew Thomas’ highly commended entry: Matthew Thomas – Compromised: Lessons learned from the AIDS epidemic

Read the press release following the 2021 award announcement.

About the Award

Now in its fifth year, the competition invited entries this year on the theme of ‘Virus’. Entrants were encouraged to consider the concept in its broadest sense – not only in terms of infectious agents, such as SARS-CoV-2, which has come to dominate our lives – but also in terms of computer viruses and other metaphorical uses, notably the media phenomenon of ‘going viral’.

The diverse entries included considerations of different aspects of virology, such as human endogenous retroviral sequences, which play essential roles in human biology, and bacteriophages, the viruses that attack bacteria, which have therapeutic potential as next-generation antibiotics, also an analysis of the ‘infodemic’ that has accompanied the present pandemic, and another on the difficulty faced by asylum-seekers in direct provision trying to maintain social distance in over-crowded accommodation.

The formats employed were equally diverse. They included an illustrated children’s book on viruses rendered in verse, a dedicated website on HIV with an embedded podcast, and a sampler for a graphic novel, as well as entries in various other text, audio and video formats. Students from nine third-level colleges across Ireland submitted entries.

“The judges were greatly impressed with the volume and variety of this year’s entries,” said Anne Mulvihill, a sister of Mary’s and a member of the judging panel from the inception of the competition. “Eoin Murphy’s excellent audio piece was a unanimous winner and, given that Mary did a lot of audio work, it’s additionally fitting that the piece is in this medium. There was also consensus amongst the judges on giving the highly commended award to Matthew Thomas’s strong essay. We congratulate both winners and send our thanks and appreciation to all the entrants who took part in this year’s competition.”