Just Good Friends?

If opposites really do attract, then industry and academia must be made for one another. But should we be paying closer attention to the businesses that our best-loved institutions are getting into bed with? Today, in case you hadn’t noticed, marks the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Athletes from around the globe […]

Silence Isn’t Golden

Failure to consult the public on a new drug-pricing policy may store up trouble for the future. Somewhere, in the depths of Whitehall, an elephant has taken up residence. This big, pink, imaginary elephant – let’s call her Nellie – is currently standing in a bustling project room, squeezed, I imagine, somewhere between a conference […]

Access Denied

Giving the public access to the research that they fund is about much more than eliminating journal pay-walls. Open access is a hot topic right now. For months, academics have been taking an uncharacteristic interest in the detailed financials of the publishing world, and, for many scientists, the fight for our right to party – […]

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the greenest of them all? Eco-conscious consumers are increasingly trying to make decisions based on a company’s green credentials. But beneath all the marketing rhetoric, how can we really tell the environmental heroes from the villains? I’m not very good at recycling. Quite frankly, I struggle to see the […]

The Great Gulf Experiment

Two years ago today, a huge natural experiment was set in motion. Its costs were enormous. The explosion of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon rig resulted in the loss of eleven lives and the spillage of an unprecedented 4.9 million barrels of oil into the surrounding Gulf waters, leading BP to put aside $20 billion to […]

Speaking Different Languages

This post originally appeared on Refractive Index, Imperial College London’s Science Communication Group blog. It can be tough being a member of ‘the public’. Imagine for a moment that you are on your lunchbreak and, being the responsible British taxpayer that you are, you decide to have a quick look at how your really quite-significant […]

Does Size Matter?

Last month, on Friday 13th, almost exactly 100 years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Costa Concordia cruise ship hit well-charted rocks off the coast of Italy and sunk, with the loss of at least 17, and perhaps as many as 32, lives. While those of a superstitious ilk might be pondering otherworldly causes […]

Part 2: Footing the Bill

Beauty clearly doesn’t come cheap. In order to “get their PIPs out”, in the words of one Harley Street protester last weekend, an estimated £150m will need to be found in the UK alone. So, with the country’s largest cosmetic surgery group claiming that this is a price it just can’t afford to pay, I’ve […]

Part 1: Treading the Line

The recent alarm over use of sub-standard breast implants has exposed serious flaws in the European health regulatory system. But leaders must ensure that they strike a balance between managing risk and stifling innovation in coming up with a better model. Nearly two years ago, in March 2010, the French health regulatory authorities conducted a […]

A Win-Win Deal for Drugs?

In early December the coalition government launched its new Life Sciences Strategy, described by the Prime Minister as an attempt to improve patient care, foster innovation and catalyse the medical breakthroughs necessary for the industry to remain “a jewel in the crown of our economy”. While the UK’s economic crown is looking a little tarnished […]