Media Relations

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The UCL Media Relations team is the university’s central press office.


We connect journalists to expert academics and promote UCL research and teaching throughout the global media.


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Opinion

Anti-psychotic drugs designed to treat mental illness are being used to manage challenging behaviour

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Intellectual disability is characterised by impairment in cognition (intellect) and difficulties in day-to-day life skills. It is fixed and lifelong, although with the right support most people with intellectual disability can lead active and fulfilling lives, writes Dr Rory Sheehan (UCL Psychiatry) in The Conversation.

My laboratory would fall apart if Britain left the EU

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While the latest immigration figures are grabbing the headlines, researchers like me are trying to not think about their potential political repercussions, writes Professor Stephen Moss (UCL Ophthalmology) in the Guardian Higher Education Network.

The case for re-nationalising Britain’s railways

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Labour leadership hopefuls Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham have both spoken of re-nationalising the UK’s railways. National ownership of such a crucial piece of a country’s infrastructure is the source of much debate, writes Nicole Badstuber (UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering) in The Conversation.

Does developing bad behaviour in primary school affect a child’s grades?

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A few mischievous children acting out in a classroom and disrupting an entire lesson is a common scenario that teachers deal with. However, trouble-making children who hit out and misbehave are not only disruptive to teachers and classrooms, they are also likely to get lower grades, says Praveetha Patalay (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

Ignore the doom-merchants: History shows why robots won’t destroy our jobs

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Ormerod

Economics is often described as the dismal science, but it regularly contains cheerful material. A paper by the leading US economic historian Joel Mokyr made for exuberant holiday reading. Written for the top Journal of Economic Perspectives, it is entirely in English and contains not a single mathematical symbol, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in City AM.

Autistic people are more creative than you might think

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Anna Remington

Autism is commonly, if mistakenly, associated more with logical thinking than creative expression. But new research suggests we might need to rethink our views on creativity and autism, writes Dr Anna Remington (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

First wave of academy schools created under Labour boosted grades

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Struggling schools that were given more autonomy by being converted into academies under the former Labour government have seen improved exam results compared to similar schools that did not become academies, according to our new research, writes Professor Stephen Machin (UCL Economics) in The Conversation.

No surprises on A-level results day – and that’s a good thing

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A-level results day is here and with its dawn have arrived pictures of jubilant young people jumping for joy. The most amount of students ever were accepted into university on A-level results day according to the University and College Admission Service, write Dr Mary Richardson and Dr Tina Isaacs (both UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

Now universities can accept as many students as they want, will there be a free-for-all in clearing?

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Another university admissions cycle is reaching its climax with A-level results envelopes opening, university places confirmed and the clearing process for those who did better or worse than they’d hoped kicking into action. Amid all this, the government is having a third go at creating a real market in higher education, writes Professor Peter Scott (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

The ‘Gove generation’: first pupils to live through A-level reforms wait for results

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Those teenagers who receive their A-level results on August 13 are the first cohort of young people living through a wave of changes to the UK’s school exam system. These reforms, which started under the former secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, were aimed to embed what he termed “the art of deep thought” into post-16 education, write Dr Mary Richardson and Dr Tina Isaacs (both UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

Universities can learn from schools when it comes to improving teaching quality

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The new universities minister Jo Johnson has called for a renewed focus on teaching quality in higher education, with the establishment of a new teaching excellence framework (Tef) to measure and monitor university teacher quality. How it will work is yet to be decided, but it will be shaped by responses to the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (Hefce) current consultation, writes Dr Gillian Wyness (UCL Institute of Education) in the Guardian.

As a neuroscientist who’s done standup, I know performance anxiety is no joke

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Sophie Scott

A fear of speaking aloud in public is one of the most common social phobias, and is estimated to affect up to three in every 10 people. It’s probably not surprising, therefore, that comedians and performers at the Edinburgh fringe experience high levels of stress, writes Professor Sophie Scott (UCL Cognitive Neuroscience) in the Guardian.

#ILookLikeAnEngineer shines a welcome light on industry’s diversity

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When a software engineering firm revealed on billboard adverts that at least one of its employees was a young woman who liked her job, the predictable outpouring of sexist trolling was promptly drowned out by a torrent of positive responses. But in truth it should never even have raised an eyebrow, writes Ellie Cosgrave (UCL STEaPP) in The Conversation.

Forget reparations, Britain, release the files

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Phiroze Vasunia

So much has been said and written about the speech that Shashi Tharoor delivered at the Oxford Union in May that we may wonder whether there can be anything left to add to the discussion. But one point that does not seem to have been made, or not made loudly enough, in relation to what is a complicated subject has less to do with reparations and more with the preservation and study of the colonial record, writes Professor Phiroze Vasunia (UCL Greek & Latin) in NDTV.

Researchers are looking to a surprisingly old idea for the next generation of ships: wind power

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In many ways, it’s an obvious solution. For many centuries, world trade over the oceans was propelled by wind power alone. Now that we’re seeking an alternative to the fossil fuel-burning vehicles that enable our modern standard of living, some people are turning again to renewable solutions such as wind to power our tankers, bulk carriers and container ships, write Dr Tristan Smith and Dr Nishatabbas Rehmatulla (both UCL Bartlett School Environment, Energy & Resources) in The Conversation.

Response to Cecil the Lion’s death is a sad lesson in the irrationality of public opinion

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Ormerod

Alas poor Cecil! Close personal friend of mine, sadly dead now. The catchphrases of the Scottish comedian Bob Doolally capture the outpourings of grief among the Twitterati at the death of the now famous lion, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in City AM.

A year after massacre by Islamic State, Iraq’s Yazidis are clinging on

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When Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, fell to Islamic State (IS) in June 2014, the aspiring caliphate stepped up its campaign to expand and consolidate its control over the region. It did this in part by trying to exterminate the thinly protected enclaves of assorted ethnic and religious groups on the Nineveh Plains, writes Dr Tyler Fisher (UCL SELCS) in The Conversation.

Four legs too many?

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Susan Evans

A classic Gary Larson cartoon shows a robed and bearded figure rolling out clay strips, with the caption: “God makes the snake.” Body elongation was certainly fundamental in the evolution of snakes from lizards, as was the shrinking and ultimately the loss of limb pairs. However, informative early fossils are rare, and many details of the transition remain unresolved, writes Professor Susan Evans (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) in Science (£).

Against excellence

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Excellence is everywhere. Following the REF, the UK’s Universities are all rushing to take credit for their ‘excellence’. The Government’s recent science and innovation strategy talks about “the importance of achieving excellence”. Who’d be against that? If quality is good then surely excellence is better? I’m not so sure, writes Dr Jack Stilgoe (UCL Science & Technology Studies) in The Guardian.

The great beyond: will the UK science budget be cut by 40%?

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Jennifer Rohn

Back in 2010, UK science dodged a bullet – sort of. Following a global recession, the scientific community was warned to expect cuts of up to 40% to the core research budget. We rallied, presenting strong arguments for the role of science in fueling the economy, writes Dr Jennifer Rohn (UCL Clinical Physiology) in the Guardian.

Have young people stopped fearing sexually transmitted infections?

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Rosie Webster

The good news is that rates of teenage pregnancies are at record lows. In 2014 in England and Wales they were at the lowest rate since 1946, with only 15.6 pregnancies per 1,000 women younger than 20. Unfortunately, rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are still very high, writes Dr Rosie Webster (UCL Primary Care & Population Health) in The Conversation.

UK satellite Twinkle will boost search for Earth-like exoplanets

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Giovanna Tinetti

NASA’s recent discovery of 12 more exoplanets, including the most Earth-like yet, brings the number of exoplanets – those outside our solar system – discovered to nearly 2,000. It’s now thought that almost every star has a planetary system, with Earth just one of several billion planets in our galaxy alone, writes Dr Giovanna Tinetti (UCL Physics & Astronomy) in The Conversation.

Base science funding on performance, not postcodes

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Graeme Reid

Two themes dominate the Conservative government’s approach to science: research excellence and local economic growth. Are they compatible? Chancellor George Osborne is living up to his avowed commitment to science. He talked about radio astronomy in his speech to the CBI, an industry lobby group, and even mentioned science in his Mansion House speech to City grandees. This month’s budget and productivity plan make unequivocal commitments to excellence, writes Professor Graeme Reid (Office of the UCL Vice-Provost, Research) in Research Fortnight (£).

Scientists at work: understanding human cooperation in a changing world

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Matthew Gwynfryn Thomas

Deep into the Arctic Circle in the far north of Norway, Finland, Sweden and north-west Russia, a few thousand indigenous minority people known as the Saami continue to follow a lifestyle of reindeer husbandry. But their profession is increasingly under threat from a number of developments ranging from climate change to globalisation, writes Matthew Gwynfryn Thomas (UCL Anthropology) in The Conversation.

Cricket is like spam: The real reason batsmen are piling up higher scores

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Ormerod

The holiday season is getting into full swing, but a shadow has been cast by the abysmal failure of our boys to get anywhere near the enormous target of 509 which Australia’s cricketers set them to win in the second Test match. It may seem preposterous even to have thought they would. But a revolution seems to be taking place in the ability of teams to make large scores in the fourth innings, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in City AM.

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