18 Nov 2016
In the news this week:
MPs on the UK Science and Technology Committee have released their report, Leaving the EU: implications and opportunities for science and research, demanding an end to uncertainty and an immediate commitment to exempt EU scientists and researchers already working in the UK from wider potential immigration controls.
Concerns raised included the lack of a Chief Science Adviser to the Department for Exiting the EU and the lack of clarity in communication. An ambitious vision for science and an increase in expenditure on science R&D to 3% of GDP (from 1.67%) were suggested.
The full report is available to read here. SCI’s summary is available here.
The heads of 12 royal medical colleges and other leading medical professionals used World Antibiotic Awareness Week to call on the Government to step up the fight against antimicrobial resistance by prohibiting the use of medicines on animals after the country leaves the EU.
The Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham, supported by the Wellcome Trust, have launched a doctoral training programme to train highly skilled AAMR scientists in the UK. SCI interviewed Professor Paul Williams, one of the founders of the course, to find out more about it.
Read more here.
Nottinghamshire council has approved the iGas planning application to drill two wells at Misson, the first step towards the site being available to frack in the future and the third UK site to be approved for exploration this year. Unlike fracking sites approved in Lancashire and Yorkshire earlier this year, iGas will need to make a further planning application if it wants to employ hydraulic fracturing to recover shale gas at the former cold war missile base.
Stephen Bowler, CEO of iGas, said, ‘I am pleased that the committee has made this positive determination following the recommendation by the planning officer. It has been a long process and everyone has been extremely thorough.’
Read more here.
A scientist at the University of Central Florida has developed filaments that harvest and store solar energy and can be woven into textiles. Associate Professor Jayan Thomas, a nanotechnology scientist at UCF’s NanoScience Technology Centre, said he was inspired by the film Back to the Future: Part II. The filaments could be laced throughout jackets or other outwear to power phones, personal health sensors, and other tech gadgets.
Thomas believes, ‘A major application could be with our military. When you think about our soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, they’re walking in the sun. Some of them are carrying more than 30 pounds of batteries on their bodies. It is hard for the military to deliver batteries to these soldiers in this hostile environment. A garment like this can harvest and store energy at the same time if sunlight is available.’
Read more here.
German researchers have compiled a 400-species database to encourage people to consider biodiversity when planting trees in urban areas, rather than just aesthetics. Access the database and find out more about it here.