Debating Matters


This project aims to stimulate debate in the classroom and encourage participation in the Debating Matters competition.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, Debating Matters seeks to offers a fresh, accessible and engaging format for debating contemporary issues. A national competition, run successfully since 2003, it takes ideas, argument and young people seriously. The focus is on content and substance over style, encouraging young people to engage in an intelligent contest of ideas and holding up their ideas to critical scrutiny.

Basic information

Country: United Kingdom

Coordinator: Institute of Ideas,

Programme: Other

Project Acronym:

Target groups: secondary school students, teachers

Topic: Astronautics, Applied sciences, Biotechnology, Earth science, Ecology, Environmental sciences, Genetics, Medical sciences, Education

Start year: 2003


Contact person: Debating Matters Team, debatingmatters (at)

No research material is currently available for this project. The Debating Matters team are interested to work with others on this and related projects. For more information, see the project’s website.

As part of the project a series of topic guides have been produced that can be used to stimulate debate in the classroom and encourage participation in the Debating Matters competition. Each guide sets the background and the context for the debate, links to essential reading which covers the science linked to the topic, reading which gives opinions for both sides of the debate, in depth articles, background reading and related news articles. Topic guides look at subjects which include:

  • animal experimentation
  • biofuels
  • cheap flights
  • clinical trials
  • energy
  • drugs in sport
  • recycling
  • space exploration
  • organ donation
  • assisted dying
  • access to medicine
  • ageing
  • nuclear power
  • older mums
  • in vitro fertilisation
  • medical records
  • health care provision and lifestyle choices
  • GM food
  • greenhouse gas emission targets
  • genetic screening
  • fertility tourism
  • factory farming
  • clinical trials
  • three parent babies
  • space exploration
  • smart drugs


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