Year 12 pupil Ben Highly Commended in Oxbright Competition

Posted on: November 27th 2023School News

Ben Zhou 1

Congratulations to year 12 pupil Ben who entered the OxBright Essay Competition and was Highly Commended. Over 1000 pupils entered this competition, and only a select number of pupils in the top 20% received a Highly Commended award. The OxBright Essay Competition was set up to “give pupils the chance to think about the future, challenge themselves beyond the school curriculum, and consider their subject through a wider lens”.

Ben spoke about his experiences: “I first found out about the OxBright Essay Competition whilst browsing the internet. Entering the competition was a wonderful experience – it allowed me to improve my research skills as well as deepening my knowledge in medicine. My essay focused on frugal innovations for global health, which involves using minimal resources to provide effective solutions to illnesses and diseases particularly in less economically developed countries. This includes creating new, simpler technology with reduced costs to be used in harsh environments. The essay competition allowed me to use a wide variety of sources, from articles which I found on The Lancet to other miscellaneous websites where I gathered and synthesised information into a concise 500 word essay”.  

He added: “My essay outlines how crucial development in frugal technologies are in medicine – one particularly prominent development that I covered in my essay is the Jaipur foot, which is a rubber prosthetic to replace a lost foot. The Jaipur foot can be mass produced and costs roughly $40, compared to the $8000-12,000 required for a prosthesis used in high-income countries – this allows those living in harsh conditions to still be able to continue to move as well as possible. Developments in frugal technology can also crucially spread ‘backwards’: low cost technology may replace technologies used in hospitals in high-income countries and therefore benefit all medical institutions around the world, illustrating the importance of the development of these technologies”.  

Ben concluded: “One of the requirements of the essay competition was that submitted essays must be limited to 3800 characters or less (approx. 500 words), meaning that entries must be concise, yet convey vast quantities of evidence. This was very challenging, since I had to create a short but powerful response to the difficult essay title of how long-term thinking in medicine fosters optimism for the future.  I am proud to have been highly commended for my essay; doing the essay competition was a valuable experience and it furthered my knowledge in my area of interest”.