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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 behavioural activation therapy for depression

A comparison between cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and behavioural activation (BA) for the treatment of depression is made in a study published in The Lancet journal. The authors report that the two treatments are equally effective at treating depression in adults and that BA can be delivered by junior mental health workers at a lower cost. read more

Zika virus and the Rio Olympics

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, will begin in early August. The Zika virus outbreak is ongoing in some parts of Brazil (among other countries in the Americas and the Pacific). read more

the future of cancer research – how can we outsmart cancer?

Cancer is the UK’s biggest killer, claiming around 160,000 lives every year. Survival rates have improved enormously in some types of cancer, but patients with other tumour types continue to do very poorly, and once the disease has spread round the body it is still often incurable. Researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden have been working over the last year to identify the biggest challenges we face in treating cancer, and come up with an action plan to overcome them. The ICR will be launching their action plan. read more

pause in Antarctic Peninsula warming

The rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula, which occurred from the early-1950s to the late 1990s, has paused. The stabilisation of the ozone hole, changing wind patterns and natural variability were significant in bringing about this change. Together these factors have caused the peninsula, which makes up 1% of the Antarctic, to enter a temporary cooling phase. Temperatures remain higher than measured during the middle of the 20th Century, so glacial retreat is still taking place. Scientists predict that if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise at the current rate, temperatures will increase across the Antarctic Peninsula by several degrees Centigrade by the end of this century. read more

annual Home Office statistics on animal research

On Wednesday 20th July the Home Office published its 2015 statistics on animals used in scientific procedures as well as the Animals in Science Regulation Unit (ASRU) annual report. Journalists came along to hear the latest figures from two Home Office officials, along with responses from three leading experts who have a broad overview of animal research and gave their thoughts on the reasons behind any rise or fall in the statistics or issues raised in the report. 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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