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When science hits the news agenda, it’s our job to pass on to journalists as much accurate information as we can, as quickly as possible. In order to do this we send out quotes from experts, statistical analyses of scientific studies and Factsheets, in addition to running regular press briefings on the latest hot topic. Find our most recent Roundups and Rapid Reactions, briefings, Factsheets and ‘Before the Headlines’ analyses below, or use the icons on the right.

As well as working with experienced specialist reporters, we also provide support to new reporters, editors and generalists through a series of publications, including ‘Briefing Notes’ on controversial topics, and guidelines on science and health reporting, and by working with the National Coordinator for Science Training for Journalists.

see publications for journalists

Need an expert to interview? The SMC’s database is not quite like any other. Those on it are selected not just for their proven expertise, but also for their willingness and ability to engage with the media when their area of work hits the headlines. The quality of our experts is important to us. The SMC recruits scientists, engineers and others who work for respected institutions, publish in peer-reviewed journals and have a track record of quality research in their specialist field.

The SMC was established to provide assistance to the national news media when covering controversial science stories or breaking news. As such the SMC’s priority remains to support new reporters at UK national news media outlets. We prioritise working with science, health and environment specialists on controversial news pieces, but also provide support for journalists pursuing original and long-form pieces by advising on the best experts to approach and helping to set up visits to institutions.

You can get in touch with using the details below. Please be aware though, if your enquiry does not fit our remit we may not be able to help or may refer you on to external scientific institutions.

 

t: +44 (0)20 7611 8300

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expert reaction to the effects of different neonicotinoids on bumblebees

There is growing concern over the impact of the neonicotinoids to insect pollinators and how their loss may limit the ecosystem services that are vital to our food production (globally worth US$215 billion) and the stability of our natural environment. In a new study, published in Scientific Reports, researchers directly relate the effects of three neonicotinoids, at the level of individual brain cells to their impact on whole colonies of bumblebees placed at 5 different sites across Scotland. read more

new study on neonics and impact on bumblebees

There is growing concern over the impact of the neonicotinoids to insect pollinators and how their loss may limit the ecosystem services that are vital to our food production (globally worth US$215 billion) and the stability of our natural environment. In a new study, published in Scientific Reports, researchers directly relate the effects of three neonicotinoids, at the level of individual brain cells to their impact on whole colonies of bumblebees placed at 5 different sites across Scotland. The conclusions from this study demonstrate that these three neonicotinoids must be considered individually for their risk to bees. Most importantly, the research asks whether they are all toxic (when exposed chronically to field-relevant levels) to bumblebees under the conditions of a field experiment. read more

expert reaction to study commenting on Mediterranean diet, Western diet, and risk of heart attack and stroke in people with existing heart disease

Publishing in the European Heart Journal, a group of researchers have examined the effect of diet on patients with coronary heart disease and report that greater consumption of healthy foods (such as in a typical Mediterranean diet) may be more important than avoidance of unhealthy foods (such as in a typical Western diet) for prevention of further instances of heart disease. read more

expert reaction to report on diesel vehicle emissions testing programme

The Department of Transport (DfT) has published its research into emissions levels from diesel cars following a scandal which revealed that several companies had been manipulating emission controls. The DfT report that, for all vehicles which they tested, nitrogen oxide conditions were higher in real world conditions than in laboratory conditions. read more

Future of Psychiatry – Professor Jeffrey Lieberman

Professor Lieberman was President of the American Psychiatric Association for DSM-5, the latest edition of the controversial diagnostic manual used in the US that caused a transatlantic row, he was involved in the early development of the antipsychotic drug Clozapine, led world-leading studies into treatments for schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s and worked on the US government’s Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. read more

House of Lords report: EU membership- Good or bad for UK science?

The EU Referendum continues to dominate the airwaves as Britain prepares itself to vote on the 23 June, and there has been a lot of back and forth about what impact an exit could have on the UK and what a post-EU Britain would look like. Science and innovation is a major thread in this debate. On Wednesday 20 April, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published its report on the relationship between EU membership and the effectiveness of UK science. The committee inquired into how a possible British exit from the EU would impact on UK science and the scientific community, including how research funding, collaborations, and regulation might have to change. read more

expert reaction to UK dementia rates

In a new study, published in Nature Communications, researchers compared the actual number of dementia cases in the UK to earlier decades and previous predictions. They report a 20% drop in incidence of dementia between their two samples (1989-1994, 2008-2011) which they attribute mainly to a reduction in men. read more

dementia rates in the UK

As ageing populations increase, fears of a dementia ‘tsunami’ have grown, with some suggesting that dementia will be the main threat to future health and leading the Prime Minister to announce his dementia 2020 challenge. However, recent research has suggested that the number of cases may be more complicated than we initially thought. read more

expert reaction to today’s clarification of the anti-lobbying clause

The government has clarified in the House of Lords that it does not intend for the proposed anti-lobbying clause to cover academic researchers funded through the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, the research councils or national academies, and will consult further and make another announcement by May 1st. read more

expert reaction to IL-33 protein for dementia in mice

Finding the causes of, and treatments for, Alzheimer’s disease is important to reduce the burden of ageing, and the authors of a paper published in the journal PNAS report the use as a therapy of a particular protein which is involved in inflammation. read more

the world’s largest imaging (scanning) study gets under way

Taking pictures of the inside of the body is well known as a clinical diagnostic tool, but it also holds tremendous promise for health research and a better understanding of a wide range of diseases, like dementia, cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis and stroke. Scientists in the UK are now embarking on the world’s largest ever imaging research study. Its goal is to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other state-of-the-art imaging methods to scan 100,000 people (at least 10 times bigger than any previous imaging study) in the coming years and provide the most detailed examination yet of major organs. These images will allow scientists all over the world to discover new early signs and risk factors of disease, to better understand why some people develop major diseases and others do not, and to develop interventions (such as new drugs, or changes in lifestyle) that could prevent these diseases. read more

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