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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 as much accurate information to journalists 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


expert reaction to autism, schizophrenia and birth size

Researchers have reported a link between birth size and two mental health conditions: low birth weight correlated positively with schizophrenia and negatively with autism, while the opposite was true with high birth weight. The study, reported in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B looked at a large cohort, but saw small changes in absolute risk. read more

Icelandic volcanoes

The ongoing eruption of the Icelandic volcano Bárðarbunga continues to raise concerns from the public. read more

proton beam therapy

The SMC hosted a briefing with five experts about Proton Beam Therapy: what it is, how it works, who it’s appropriate for and under what circumstances. Proton beam therapy has been brought to the attention of the public and the media through the case of Ashya King, a child with medulloblastoma, and two UK centres aim to treat patients with proton beam therapy by 2018. Panellists were not able to answer questions specifically about Ashya King’s care programme, but spoke more generally about the effectiveness of PBT. read more

e-cigarettes: a critique of the WHO reports

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published two reports calling for further regulation and the banning of e-cigarette use indoors. Experts critiqued the evidence behind the claims in a report published in the journal Addiction. read more

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