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UK Energy Policy

The UK energy system is going through a period of rapid change. The implications of the vote to leave the EU and subsequent changes within government are largely unknown. Uncertainties about the future of the energy system were already high; these changes have compounded them. The UK Energy Research Centre has produced an evidence-based commentary – addressing heat, transport, electricity, gas, and other major components of the energy system – which aims to take stock of UK energy policy ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Industrial Strategy and the Emissions Reduction Plan, and make recommendations for action by government. read more

Higher Education and Research Bill

There are some things that the scientific community are generally agreed on. That we need a stronger voice for science in government, most especially after Brexit, that what government spends on science is still too low (0.49% of GDP compared to the EU average of 0.67%) and that decisions about what research is conducted need to be free from government interference. But is the new U.K. Higher Education and Research Bill going to deliver all these goals? Unusually the scientific community is divided with Paul Nurse and the Royal Society believing that the bill presents the best chance of achieving some of the changes desperately needed, while others think it poses new risks. A strongly worded leader in Nature this week called on scientists to oppose the bill on the grounds that it opens the door to political interference and called on the scientific community to address the issues in public as well as negotiating behind closed doors. read more

the NHS weekend effect: what does the evidence say?

The observed ‘weekend effect’ in the NHS, where patients admitted to hospital over the weekend have worse outcomes than patients admitted during the week, has underpinned many rows and debates about how hospital services should be funded and structured. The move towards a ‘seven day NHS’ with equal levels of senior staffing across all days has become a hot political topic, but are the claims about the weekend effect accurate and evidence-based? It is a challenging area to research, but the emerging picture is that the weekend effect is much more complex than it appears. One key group conducting research in this field is the HiSLAC project, which is investigating the impact of specialist-led care on emergency admissions. read more

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