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

Why crime is falling – and it’s nothing to do with the slow death of capitalism

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Ormerod

Economic statistics are the bane of forecasters’ lives. Cynics might say that this is because the data reveal how bad their predictions are. But a big practical problem is that initial estimates of the state of the economy can be revised substantially, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in City AM.

The Independent Review of the Implementation of the RCUK Open Access policy

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David Price

Research Councils UK (RCUK) has today released the Report of an independent review body on the implementation of its Open Access policy. It is not a review of Open Access policies and their implementation in the UK. The Report is quite clear about this – it is a review of the impacts of the implementation of the RCUK Policy on Open Access for its funded research outputs, writes Professor David Price (Vice-Provost, Research) in Richard Poynder's blog.

Modern war, ancient casualties

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Eleanor Robson

“Islamic State cowards have destroyed the Assyrian empire” ran one headline in the Guardian on March 16. “‘Ancient statues’ destroyed by ISIS in Mosul were FAKES”, suggested the Daily Mail on the very same day. The truth is somewhere in between, but it will take many months of careful analysis to determine exactly how much of northern Iraq’s cultural heritage has been lost since the invasion in June 2014, writes Professor Eleanor Robson (UCL History) in TLS.

Weighing the evidence for banning skinny catwalk models

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Sarah Jackson

The French government is backing parliamentary plans to ban unhealthily thin models from catwalks. Under two proposed amendments to recent health reforms, anyone employing skinny, undernourished fashion models or “glorifying anorexia” could face fines of up to €75,000 (US$80,000; £54,000; A$104,000) and a six-month prison sentence, writes Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) in The Conversation.

How the energy grid handles the surge after a solar eclipse

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quad

The solar eclipse due to cover much of Europe on March 20 will be the continent’s first for 16 years. Back in 1999, as people stopped staring at the sun and got back on with their day they caused a power surge which still stands as a UK record – greater than anything after a football match or royal wedding, writes Dr Catalina Spataru (UCL Bartlett School Environment, Energy & Resources) in The Conversation.

How not to tackle race Trevor Phillips style

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Three years ago, I attended my first race equality training. A pair of warm-hearted, well-meaning liberals gave us a list of words relating to race, gender, sexuality and class, and asked us to divide them into three categories: acceptable, unacceptable and not sure. Many of us were, understandably, appalled by this superficial and patronising approach to race equality, writes Adam Elliott-Cooper (UCL Philosophy) in The Voice.

What should the UK do about foreign aid?

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Henrietta Moore

The International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill is on the cusp of becoming law. It means that 0.7% of the UK's gross national income (GNI) will be ringfenced for international aid spending. The target will be legally binding on future governments. This makes Britain the first nation in the G7 to honour a commitment agreed by the United Nations as far back as 1970, writes Professor Henrietta Moore (UCL Institute for Global Prosperity) for BBC News.

Tomb of Don Quixote author Cervantes discovered in Madrid

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quad

The quest to identify the bones of Miguel de Cervantes looked bleak in the summer of 2014. “We’re not going to find Cervantes with a nameplate on his coffin,” the project’s forensic director, Francisco Etxeberria, wryly predicted in an interview with Spain’s Agencia EFE in June. But his name on a coffin is not a far cry from what has, in fact, now come to light in Madrid. For researchers have announced that they have found the tomb of Spain’s most famous author, almost 400 years after his death, writes Dr Tyler Fisher (UCL SELCS) in The Conversation.

Beware, a ‘non-communicable’ disease may be socially infectious

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Sarah Jackson

Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma are among the leading causes of death across the world, says Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) in The Conversation.

Budget 2015: It’s George Osborne’s narrative that counts, not the details

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Ormerod

All eyes will be on George Osborne’s Budget today. An immense amount of media attention and serious commentary will be devoted to it. But do Budgets really matter? How much difference would it make if successive chancellors simply did nothing, apart from indexing various allowances and benefits in line with inflation, writes Dr Paul Ormerod (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in City AM.

Loads? Or many? It depends whether you’re an academic snob

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Jo Wolff

Given my lack of revision, I didn’t do badly at my O-levels, back in 1975. All were passed, though at grades that would make this year’s Ucas candidates blush and reappraise their options. My modest success, such as it was, I owe to an article in Punch magazine on how to puff up your prose. Never write “etc”, said the journalist, for it makes you look as if you’ve forgotten what else to say. Instead use “and so forth”, which hints of a treasury in your head too rich to write down in the available space, writes Professor Jonathan Wolff (UCL Philosophy) in the Guardian.

Occupy Amazonia? Indigenous activists are taking direct action – and it’s working

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quad

The native peoples of Loreto, in Peru’s Amazon basin, have just ended a month long occupation of 14 oil wells belonging to the Argentine company Pluspetrol. Negotiations are still underway between the oil company and various other communities, represented by the indigenous association Feconaco, writes Dr Marc Brightman (UCL Anthropology) in The Conversation.

Icy plumes bursting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus suggest it could harbour life

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Andrew Coates

The Cassini mission that has investigated Saturn since 2004 has revealed much about the giant planet and its many moons. Perhaps most tantalising is the discovery that the moon Enceladus is the source of strong geysers ejecting plumes of water and ice, writes Professor Andrew Coates (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory) in The Conversation.

A library that can salvage so much for India

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Phiroze Vasunia

In order to understand the importance of the Murty Classical Library of India, we should look to the success of the Loeb Classical Library.  In the Anglophone world, without the Loeb Classical Library, and without series such as the Penguin Classics, the popularity of Homer and Virgil in schools and universities would be a fraction of what it is today, writes Professor Phiroze Vasunia (UCL Greek & Latin) in NDTV.

Why a submerged island is the perfect spot for the world’s biggest wind farm

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Dr Xavier Lemaire

Planning permission has been given for what could become the world’s largest offshore wind farm on the Dogger Bank, off England’s east coast. If fully constructed the project will have up to 400 turbines with a total generation capacity of 2.4 GW. That’s enough to power 1.9 million households – more than Manchester and Birmingham combined, writes Dr Xavier Lemaire (UCL Energy Institute) in The Conversation.

Should the Commonwealth go the same way as the British Empire?

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Henrietta Moore

You probably didn’t realise it, but today is Commonwealth Day. In fact, it's likely that the vast majority of the 2.2 billion people around the world who call one of the 53 Commonwealth nations home didn't know either. Fifty years ago - and earlier, as Empire Day - this would have been a day of celebration for people in Britain, India, Nigeria and many other places besides. But with every passing year, it seems, the ‘ties that bind’ Britain and its former colonies together are loosening, writes Professor Henrietta Moore (UCL Institute for Global Prosperity) in The Independent.

Alarming gender gap in school science sets women up to fail

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quad

Only 14% of young women who enter university for the first time chose science-related fields of study such as engineering, manufacturing and construction. This is one of the headline findings of a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that examines gender equality in education across 64 countries and jurisdictions, writes Professor Michael Reiss (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

As crisis in Venezuela deepens, Maduro’s iron fist tightens

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quad

Since the death of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s political leadership has moved from charisma to authoritarianism. Support for Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution has fallen from 65% when the populist leader died to 22% today. The revolution’s erstwhile steward is Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s current president and Chávez’s hand-picked successor, writes Dr Marco Aponte-Moreno and Lance Lattig (UCL Management Science & Innovation) in The Conversation.

Adult education the loser in a game only young, full-time students win

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quad

Universities sometimes seem to have few political friends — unlike their debt-laden students. It is not hard to tell why. It is not only that individuals have the vote and institutions don’t. At times university leaders give the impression that all they care about is hanging on to the extra cash that higher fees have generated, even if this means their graduates face a lifetime of debt and the government has to pick up the bill for those who never repay their loans in full (and other public services have to suffer even greater cuts as a result), writes Professor Peter Scott (UCL Institute of Education) in The Guardian.

The best ways to work with teaching assistants

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Over the last five years, schools in England have been granted an unprecedented level of freedom. An increasing number of state schools now decide for themselves which children are admitted, the curriculum they follow, who to appoint to teach it, and how much they will be paid, writes Robert Webster (UCL Institute of Education) in The Conversation.

Jon Snow's negative experience on skunk is very understandable

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quad

“Skunk stole Snow’s soul”, “Just say no, Snow” – these were just some of the headlines this week in response to Jon Snow’s blogpost and video recounting his experience of smoking ‘skunk’-type cannabis as part of a scientific study at UCL which will be shown in a live TV programme – Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial – on Channel 4 on March 3. We wanted to answer some of the questions raised by people about the trial as well as providing some of the wider context about this study, plus its aims and rationale, writes Professor Valerie Curran (UCL Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology) in the Guardian.

Out of the loop: why lay views of science are heard but not obeyed

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Public dialogue has become an integral part of the policymaking process, but those in power still pay more heed to the technocrats, says Melanie Smallman (UCL Science & Technology Studies) in Research Fortnight (£).

Powerful new climate logic

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For the past few decades, the world has been worried by the prospect of running out of oil and gas. How would we fuel our cars, run our factories, make plastics? Now, says Deutsche Bank, the problem has shifted. The threat of climate change could mean we need to leave our fossil fuels in the ground, unburnt, locked away forever, writes Professor Phil O'Neill (UCL Bartlett School of Planning) in The Herald.

Sorry, Rachel, but taking a Cabinet seat then going on maternity leave is anything but feminist

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quad

Labour high-flier Rachel Reeves’s boast that, if her party wins the General Election in May, she will hold a post in Cabinet while taking maternity leave, made my jaw drop. These are two incredibly important jobs. By choosing to do them at the same time she totally negates the value of both. Her desire to ‘have it all’ trumps the well-being of the country and her own children, writes Belinda Brown (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) in the Daily Mail.

The hunt is on for new antibiotics – but we have to start looking outside the lab

Publication date:

Jennifer Rohn

In 1945, Alexander Fleming, the scientist who first observed the action of a new bacteria-fighting substance on a mouldy Petri dish, sounded a sober note. I imagine it may have clashed uneasily with the gala occasion: Fleming’s Nobel acceptance speech for co-discovering penicillin, writes Dr Jennifer Rohn (UCL Clinical Physiology) in The Guardian.

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