Post-Brexit science to be discussed at parliamentary summit

I see that the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has entered 2018 with a call for a summit focused on science in the UK post-Brexit. Whatever their personal views of Brexit, including whether EU withdrawal will actually happen, the committee members are doing their job, and one hopes that the summit comes up […]

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Brexit transition period limited by EU – cue sound and fury

The EU’s lead Brexit negotiator Michelle Barnier has in a press conference this morning said that the UK’s transition period out of the union will end on 31 December 2020. This is the official view of the European Commission, and Barnier’s announcement is likely to be met with the usual hot air and indignation in […]

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On the Brussels Brexit breakthrough that isn’t

My reading of the ‘breakthrough’ agreement between the UK and EU is that there is a little progress on the rights of EU27 citizens in Britain following Brexit, and this is welcome. But, when it comes to the detail, England’s lame-duck leader and her Brussels interlocutors are kicking the can down the road. Brexit is […]

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On journalists taking sides

John Harris’ article in the Guardian today has sparked a discussion within the NUJ’s Ethics Council, of which I am a member. The subject is the line between journalism as impartial reportage and opinion. What follows below is a reworking of my reaction to Harris. Harris raises some interesting points about the line between analysis […]

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Graphene in Cambridge post-Brexit

Given the omnishambles of current English politics, a cynic might argue that Brexit is now little more than a hypothetical scenario, and an utterly absurd one at that. Still, for the sake of an interesting narrative, let us be generous to the Brexiteers and assume that England’s departure from the EU proceeds as unplanned. My […]

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Victory on 8 June will be pyrrhic for whoever wins the election

This evening, less than a week before a snap general election, Royston, a once notable but now economically stagnant town in the east of England, will stage an election hustings at which all candidates for the parliamentary seat of North East Hertfordshire should be present. Royston politics are such that a brick decorated in a […]

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Should the EU’s next research programme be ERC writ large?

A new report from research and innovation advisory group RISE recommends that the the European Commission move away from funding large-scale R&D projects, and instead focus more on supporting individual researchers. Such a change in research infrastructure would shift the model of Europe’s next framework programme FP9 – successor to the current Horizon 2020 – […]

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On climate change, nudge theory and the nanny-state

I have been approached by a hydra-headed PR agency working for an unnamed client which may or may not be a pseudo-libertarian climate-sceptic lobby group known as the Institute for Public Affairs. I say this, as an IPA statement on plain-packaging laws is linked to from the missive. In the message received today, it is […]

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