Scientific Blitz

Evidence-based debates on contemporary health issues

For an hour at the start of each day of the Joint Advanced Seminar 3 (JAS 3), all the Fellows and facilitators participate in this structured debate on a provocative and relevant topic.


  1. To mark the punctual start of each day
  2. To engage Fellows in scientific debate
  3. For Fellows to use their database search skills to identify relevant literature/materials
  4. To alert Fellows to the broader social and scientific context of their research
  5. For Fellows to quickly read through literature to support the claim that they will have to defend



  • Become competent in rapidly covering the background to an important research question
  • Are able to identify background material in databases and condense them into short oral contributions
  • Become comfortable with the concept and practice of scientific debate
  • Reflect and critique the social and scientific context of specific research


  • One Fellow is identified as the lead speaker for that day’s Blitz. At least one Fellow is identified as the opponent
  • At the beginning of the first one-month Joint Advanced Seminar (JAS1), all Fellows are informed of the day they will lead a scientific blitz and the day they will oppose a lead speaker in a blitz, as well as the title of the session for each day
  • Coordinators hand out the key material for each Blitz to all Fellows one day in advance. All the materials are identified in advance, but shared with the group, including presenter and opponent, only the day prior to the blitz
  • Coordinators furnish speakers with one key reference
  • Speakers expand their knowledge on the subject by searching relevant databases
  • Fellows are expected to read around the selected topic, and not rely only on the article provided as the basis for their presentation for or against the topic


  • The lead Fellow has 10 minutes to introduce the topic, describe the controversy and marshal their views
  • The opponent has 2 minutes to present their views
  • The lead speaker has 5 minutes to respond to the opponent/s and defend their view
  • The facilitator opens the floor for an 11-minute general discussion