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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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brexit: now what for science?

The UK voted to leave the EU in the referendum on 23 June, a decision that will have many consequences and mean many changes across all industries and professions. Science had voted overwhelmingly to stay within the EU, citing the benefits it provides to UK research including on funding and collaboration.

Three senior figures from the scientific community will be at the Science Media Centre to discuss what the Brexit might mean for UK science- what the reaction has been from researchers and institutions, what the challenges facing science will be, and what can be done to ensure the continued strength of UK research. read more

Professor Rod Smith on HS2

Professor Rod Smith FREng is Research Professor of Railway Engineering at Imperial College London and Chair of the Future Railway Research Centre. He was Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department for Transport from 2013 to 2015, and in 2011 he was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Prof. Smith is a strong supporter of HS2. But on 30 June he will make a major presentation at the High Speed Rail in the UK Conference in Birmingham where he will describe his serious concerns about the way it’s been designed, arguing that it is a recipe for high costs, low capacity and slow speeds. read more

the perception of statins and the impact of intense debate on statin use

In 2014 the UK went through what one commentator described as ‘statin wars’ after NICE recommended that this now cheap off patent drug be offered to people with a lower risk of heart disease. The frenzied debate that ensued was marked by claim and counter claim about ‘ over-medicalisation’ and the dangerous side effects of the drugs. So what impact did this public row have on patient attitudes to statins and to the take up of the drug? Two new studies which asked this question in different ways are published together. read more

socioeconomic status and brain tumours

Socioeconomic status and risk of developing brain tumours is investigated in a paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health with the authors reporting a higher risk of glioma for those with measures of higher socioeconomic status. read more

expert reaction to study looking at LDL cholesterol levels and heart events in people that have heart disease and are taking statins

A group of scientists have published their work in JAMA Internal Medicine which reports that, in patients with preexisting ischemic heart disease, those with ‘moderate’ levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol had lower risk of adverse cardiac outcomes when using statins compared to those with ‘high’ levels of LDL cholesterol. However no additional benefit was seen for those with levels defined as ‘low’. read more

Food safety & authenticity: Laboratory of the Government Chemist conference

The annual conference of the Laboratory of the Government Chemist (LGC), an independent company that carries out food testing and analysis, will take place on 21-22 June 2016. This meeting brings together scientists, regulators, enforcement agencies, industry, and policy makers to discuss food fraud, authenticity and safety. Ahead of the conference, a panel of experts came to the SMC to discuss these issues and update journalists on the progress made in food safety and authenticity in the years since the horse meat scandal. read more

expert reaction to IARC Evaluation of the carcinogenicity of Coffee, Maté and Very Hot Beverages (IARC Monographs volume 116)

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has issued its latest report which classifies hot drinks as group 2A carcinogens, meaning they are “probably carcinogenic to humans”, while coffee and maté (a herbal drink) served cold are in group three, which means there is insufficient evidence to believe that they cause cancer. read more

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