Competing against speakers from other universities and educational institutions, Niall delivered a paper opposing the sharing of DNA information without permission.
The competition, organised by the Young United Kingdom and Ireland Programme 2010, took place over the course of a weekend. It involved the delivery of a prepared presentation lasting six minutes followed by questions, and a three minute 'on the spot' presentation on a moral or ethical question.
Speaking of the experience, Niall said, "I found the programme to be most enjoyable and thought-provoking.
"It is rare to have the opportunity to meet up with a group of educated and interesting strangers who can give broad and often differing perspectives on topical issues.
"It was also a useful networking event where I was able to make contacts with staff from other universities and organisations."
Niall will now join the other categories of Young Thinkers at the final of the Young UK and Ireland Programme being held in Lancaster towards the end of February.
Emma Giles, another Newcastle University graduate, currently studying for a PhD in the School of Agriculture Food and Rural Development, also took part in the weekend competition.
The Young United Kingdom and Ireland Programme sets out to "stretch the minds, stir the consciences and broaden the horizons" of people who have left full-time education and are in the early stages of their professional lives.
It aims to recapture the idealistic spirit of Inveramsay - a remote railway station in rural Aberdeenshire where young people in the 1920s created an informal library and meeting room in a shack on the station platform and engaged in long debates and discussion.
published on: 26th January 2010