Trinity Student Announced as Winner of Financial Times ‘The Future of Europe Project’

Marie Sophie Hingst, a PhD candidate at the School of Histories and Humanities and a graduate fellow at the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute from 2015 to 2017 has been chosen as the winner from Trinity College in the Financial Times competition ‘The Future of Europe Project’.


Hingst wrote her winning article, entitled “Europeans should not abandon a collective identity”, which was published by the financial times on November 23. The article which looks at the idea of a common European identity and Europe’s four founding freedoms was selected as one of the six winning submissions, each chosen by a panel consisting of both Financial Times journalists and external judges.


The competition named ‘The Future of Europe Project’ was a collaboration between the Financial Times, the participating students and their professors, aiming to give a voice to some of Europe’s brightest young minds, whilst allowing them the opportunity to engage in the ever growing conversation concerning the future of Europe. Six European universities participated in the competition, Sciences Po in Paris, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Bocconi in Milan, Trinity College Dublin, The Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and The Athens University of Economics and Business.


Professors from each university supplied students with the chance to write on one of four questions regarding the future of the EU. The four options to chose from asked: Should the next frontier for Europe be deeper integration, or handing back some power to nation states? Would it be wise to reconsider the four founding freedoms in the EU treaties? Is it time to concentrate on the Eurozone rather than the broader EU27? And to what extent is German leadership of Europe desirable or necessary? The departments in each college selected three articles for submission to the Financial Times, leaving a total of 18 finalists for the judges to pick just six winners from.


In her winning article, Marie Sophie Hingst asks if there is a common European way of life and discusses how we can see both a common European identity and a set of shared European values. She discusses how this shared identity can be used as a way of linking Ierapetra in Crete, the EU’s southernmost town with the small Irish Port of Dingle in County Kerry, the EU’s westernmost settlement. Her essay looks back more than two centuries to Edmund Burke’s 1796 statement on Europe for inspiration, written during a time when the continent found itself in a crippling period of violence and war, despite which he still said “No European could be a complete exile in any part of Europe”.
With the words of Burke acting as influence, Marie Sophie Hingst argues Europe isn’t “a religious, a political or historical construct but a call for a constant civilizational sensibility for each other. A sense of urgency that links the cheese-monger in Kerry with the winemakers of Bordeaux.” The winning article finishes by reminding us that Burke’s words are as true today as they were in the 18th Century. “The four founding freedoms of the European Union are as debatable as they are unquestionable: giving them up for reconsideration would make every single one of us an exile in any part of Europe.”

By Shane Hughes

Irish Scientists Identify Genetic Factor in Schizophrenia Diagnosis

Researchers from the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity College Dublin and the Department of Psychiatry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have identified a genetic factor which contributes to the development of schizophrenia.

In conjunction with scientists at Cardiff University, Stanford University, Stanley Medical Research Institute and Duke University, the Irish team established that there exist abnormal vessels which essentially threaten the structure which delivers blood to the brain – a factor which can give rise to the development of the mental health disorder.

Focussing on a chromosomal abnormality known as 22q11 deletion syndrome, researchers ascertained that changes to these genes can affect the blood brain barrier, and leaves those with the syndrome 20 times more likely to develop schizophrenia.

Dr Matthew Campbell, Assistant Professor in Neurovascular Genetics at Trinity, provided an insight into the significance of the discovery, and the impact it can have on those living with the condition.

“The concept of tailoring drugs to regulate and treat abnormal brain blood vessels is a novel treatment strategy and offers great potential to complement existing treatments of this debilitating disease,” he said.

Elaborating on the use of cardiovascular drugs in the treatment of cerebral conditions, he added: “While it is very well accepted that improving cardiovascular health can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks, we now believe that drugs aimed at improving cerebrovascular health may be an additional strategy to treating brain diseases in the future.”

The findings have been published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry.

by Niamh McClelland