Lancaster epidemiologist on longlist for 2023 Ideas Prize

Dr Thomas Keegan
Dr Thomas Keegan

Dr Thomas Keegan from Lancaster University has been chosen as one of 10 potential authors by the judges of the Profile Books and Alexander Aitken Ideas Prize 2023.

Dr Keegan from Lancaster Medical School has been longlisted for his book proposal “Porton Down and the Search for Epidemiological Truth”.

The Ideas Prize is an award for the best debut trade non-fiction proposal from an academic. The Prize offers a £25,000 book contract with Profile Books, as well as representation with Aitken Alexander Associates, for the winning book proposal.

Dr Keegan said: “I am delighted to be included in the longlist for the 2023 Ideas Prize. My entry, titled ‘Porton Down and the Search for Epidemiological Truth’ is an idea for a book that combines the story of human testing at Porton Down with lessons in epidemiology. It is an honour to be chosen to get to this stage and to be among the ten excellent ideas selected.”

His book proposal is based on his research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology carried out in partnership with the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) at King’s College London and the University of Oxford.

The researchers found that military veterans involved in chemical warfare agent research at Porton Down faced a 6% higher mortality rate than similar veterans who were not involved.

Porton Down first opened during World War I in response to the use of chemical weapons. Since 1916, over many thousands of service personnel have been exposed to low doses of chemical warfare agents and their antidotes, some of which are known to be carcinogenic.

The idea put forward to the prize is for a book that tells the story of the human testing programme at Porton Down in the 50 years following the second world war. Woven through this tale will be lessons in how the study of health of the kind that underpins this research has been used over time for the benefit of human health.

Izzy Everington, Editorial Director at Profile Books, commented: ‘We have seen an extraordinary range and breadth of submissions this year, and the quality has been astounding. Many thanks to all who applied, and a huge congratulations to our longlisted authors: each of your submissions was filled with ambition, creativity and panache.’

The shortlist will be announced towards the end of March.

Back to News