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roundups & rapid reactions
before the headlines
Fiona fox's blog

for journalists

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.

Get in touch 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


bisphenol-A and till receipts

A study published in the journal PLOS ONE has investigated the levels of exposure to bisphenol-A through the handling of till receipts, eating, and use of hand sanitiser. read more

what can animals tell us about psychiatry?

Psychiatry has made huge leaps in recent years as it has become ever more scientific in nature. Our understanding of disorders, drugs and therapies has grown dramatically, much of it through research with animals. But are mice and rats good models for these complex diseases, can depression in dogs really equate with depression in people, and how much does that matter? read more

expert reaction to side-effects of Parkinson’s drug

Researchers investigating previously known side effects of pharmaceuticals used to treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease have suggested that more warning labels should be included in packaging of these medicines. read more

gain-of-function flu research – what is it for?

We’ve heard about lab experiments on influenza that mutate the virus to investigate how genetic changes could alter how infectious or deadly it is. But what are these gain-of-function experiments, how and where are they conducted, and what have we learned from them so far? read more

expert encounter: why are young people born in the UK attracted to supporting terrorism?

As one set of parents continue to issue heartfelt pleas to their daughter to come back from Syria, politicians and community leaders struggle to understand why young people would be tempted to leave comfortable secure homes and travel to war zones to lend support to a variety of fighting groups. Few people in the UK can give answers but one academic is attempting to understand the roots of radicalisation and psychology behind it, so we may begin to take a public health approach and prevent it before it happens. read more

expert reaction to new study on plants and CO2

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has suggested that differences in carbon dioxide concentrations inside plants may account for errors in estimations of their capacity for carbon storage. read more

expert reaction to broccoli and autism

Researchers publishing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences have reported beneficial effects of the use of a broccoli extract on a small number of patients with autism spectrum disorder. read more

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