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The Science Media Centre is not restricted to reacting to the headlines, and has helped scientists to more proactively set the agenda by bringing new science or evidence to journalists. This comes from our regular briefings, which take a variety of forms and cover a wide range of topics. Many are background briefings introducing journalists to the best experts and science on controversial issues like nuclear waste, nanotechnology, emerging diseases, or animal research, for example. They may also be news briefings where the SMC works with scientists to give the national media a new story on developments within science, whether it’s a report on climate change, a paper on stem cells being published in a leading journal, or science funding cuts in the latest budget. In addition, the SMC encourages leading experts to ‘speak out’ to the media about developments they believe may pose a threat to scientific research – not something science has been renowned for.

problematic internet use

Concerns about social media and internet use are igniting debate across society. It is never far from the news and there is growing interest in what we’re looking at. read more

foundation for responsible robotics report on drones in the service of society

Like all new technologies drones can be used for good or ill. Drones are frequently used to target militants in conflict, but they can also find and save casualties during environmental catastrophes. The Foundation for Responsible Robotics  turned their attention to the risks and benefits of drones and to that end published a consultation report in the Hague. read more

Water, weather and climate change

This summer’s much vaunted hosepipe ban was called off at the eleventh hour as was the SMC’s emergency briefing on the ban. The briefing was adjusted to discuss broader issues including the likelihood of future bans, the influence of climate change and what is being done to protect water resources. read more

greenhouse gas removal – a joint report

A joint report by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society presents an ambitious plan for how the UK can lead the way in deploying greenhouse gas removal (GGR) technologies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is the first time that a range of GGR technologies have been assessed for their real-world potential in being used together to meet climate goals in the UK over the next 30 years. read more

ADHD medications – How well do they actually work?

The use of medication for ADHD, particularly in children, is very controversial with lots of public concern about over-prescribing and side-effects from the drugs. Added to that, previous well-publicised research has suggested some of these drugs may not be as good as we thought. read more

Pre- ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) conference briefing

The annual meeting for the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) will take place in Barcelona from 1 – 4 July 2018.  This briefing will offer an opportunity for journalists who plan to cover the key stories from the meeting the chance to hear from four leading fertility experts who will be familiar with the abstracts and can answer your questions on the studies, as well as offer comments on the significance or otherwise of the research, the strengths and limitations, and wider context and implications. read more

Genome editing and animal research

Many scientists have predicted that genome editing will revolutionise the way we do biological science in coming years as more and more scientists use the technique as a research tool and potential treatment.  read more

Screen time: what does the science say?

Although they’re an intrinsic part of modern life, a lot of concerns have been raised about the widespread use of screens, particularly among children and teenagers, with claims about their impact on mental health, behaviour, and neurodevelopment being made. read more

Cannabis products: the future for epilepsy and other conditions

The case of Billy Caldwell has grabbed the attention of the country as debates have raged around whether cannabis should be legalised, if cannabis products should be available on the NHS, who should have the final say on medical matters and whether the UK has the right approach to illegal drugs. A lot of this debate assumes that cannabis and its products have an important role in modern medicine, and epilepsy in particular, but the science is not that straightforward.

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AI in healthcare: reality vs science fiction

Artificial intelligence (AI) represents a fascinating new frontier in medicine, promising faster and more accurate diagnoses, an increased ability to identify and treat vulnerable patients, and a more efficient and streamlined service that can free up the time of health care professionals. read more

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