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Briefings Archive

earliest Record of Human Activity in Northern Europe

Revolutionary dating techniques have suggested that a collection of stone tools from East Anglia show human activity in Northern Europe 200,000 years earlier than scientists previously thought. With results published in ‘Nature’ this week, researchers explain how this challenges the current understanding of how humans moved from Southern Europe to colonise areas of Northern Europe including the UK. read more

stem cellbanks – an alternative to cloning?

Recent progress in stem cell research has fuelled hopes of stem cells becoming a treatment for a wide range of diseases from Alzheimer’s disease to spinal chord injury. Scientists briefed the media on new research published in the ‘Lancet’ which looks at the feasibility of an alternative to cloning – to use stem cell banks instead. read more

Oxford University announces…

Oxford University has resumed building work on its new laboratory complex on South Parks Road. The University’s Registrar, Mr David Holmes briefs the press on this controversial new biomedical research facility. read more

could the Atlantic current switch off?

To coincide with new data published in a ‘Nature’ article, researchers from the UK’s National Oceanography Centre brief the media on the weakening of currents derived from the Gulf Stream, which could cool European weather within decades. read more

children and mental health

To coincide with the conference ‘The Child is Father of the Man: Lifespan Perspectives In Psychiatry’, at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, we brought six of the leading experts to talk on a wide range of issues including whether treatments like anti-depressants and double psychotherapy should be given to children and whether ADHD is under or over diagnosed. read more

genomics research

To announce the results of a £multi-million programme to accelerate genomic applications of healthcare, four recipients of funding briefed the press on the Applied Genomics LINK Programme which has provided £30 million between 21 projects and is sponsored by the BBSRC, DTI and MRC. read more

plugging the UK Energy Gap

Can Renewables fill the gap, or does nuclear power have to be back on the agenda? The Geological Society of London hosted a conference on the impending energy gap, and the SMC held a briefing for journalists on the resulting report, detailing suggestions for UK governmental energy policy. read more

future of manned space travel

Since the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003, successive UK governments have decided against taking part in human spaceflight, but now the Royal Astronomical Society commission re-examines the evidence and presents its findings in the report “The Scientific Case for Human Space Flight”. read more

tissue regeneration

The Science Media Centre and the Healing Foundation brought together leading experts in plastic and reconstructive medicine to discuss the implications of their research for the future of medical science. read more

psychology of disfigurement

The Healing Foundation announced a new national research project aimed at better understanding why some cope with disfigurement and serious appearance concerns better than others. read more

the science of verifying nuclear tests

Experts come to explain the science behind an International Monitoring System developed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation to monitor whether countries are breaking the ban on nuclear testing. read more


Psychiatrists attending an international conference in London brief journalists on their plans to use phenomenology to take a fresh look at mental illness. read more

adult stem cells

As the debate rages on concerning the use of adult versus embryonic stem cells, scientists launch new research on umbilical c
ord stem cells. read more


The use of animal-human chimeras have sparked controversy. Scientists come to the SMC to discuss what chimeras are, why they are used and the ethical issues surrounding their use. read more

heat and health

As the summer hots up, physiologists and meteorologists come to the centre to explain why heatwaves can be dangerous to health, whether we are likely to experience more of them in future and how we should prepare for them. read more

transgenic animals

As the Home Office figures for the number of animal procedures carried out in scientific research are expected soon. Scientists expect to see an increase due to the use of transgenic animals – each breeding counts as a procedure – which are being used to understand the function of different genes. read more

alternatives to animal research

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research announces its first grants for promising new research projects into alternatives to animal research. read more

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