New additions to the work programme
The POST Board convened on 16 September 2020 and approved three new POSTnotes. We aim to start work on these topics in the coming months.
To produce POSTnotes, advisers and fellows talk to a variety of stakeholders from industry, government, academia, and the third sector. These experts help us identify important themes and point us in the direction of critical literature. They even help us peer-review the final reports.
Could you contribute with literature, expertise or as a peer-reviewer? Click on the scope of the topic you are interested in below to find out.
This POSTnote will summarise the latest trends in children’s diet, obesity and related health conditions. It will review the impacts of previous policy changes such as the tax on sugar sweetened drinks. It will also examine the growing gap in outcomes for children from the most and least deprived backgrounds. Provisional start date: January 2021. Read more on childhood obesity.
Preventing zoonotic diseases
This POSTnote will review the evidence on a One Health approach to zoonoses prevention. It will focus on the animal-environment-human interface in both wild and domestic animals. This includes reviewing national and international policy approaches, and lessons learnt from previous epidemics. It will also summarise opportunities and challenges for the UK’s role in global health and biosecurity policy arenas after COVID-19. Provisional start date: January 2021. Read more on preventing zoonotic diseases.
Digital skills for life
This POSTnote will discuss the digital skills required for everyday life and employment. It will look at why parts of the population may lack these skills and which groups are most affected. It will also review the impact of the skills shortage on people and the economy, as well as ways to improve the population’s digital skills. Provisional start date: January 2021. Read more on digital skills for life.
Other work in production
- AI and healthcare
- Algorithms and accountability
- Development of vaccine technologies
- Distance learning
- Effective biodiversity indicators
- Food waste
- Heat networks
- Industry influence on public health policy
- Living organ donations
- Mental health impacts of COVID-19
- Mental health impacts of COVID-19 on healthcare workers and carers
- Regulating product sustainability
- Researching gambling
- Screen time and health in young people
- Smart cities
- Sustainable cooling
- Testosterone and sports performance
Machine learning (ML, a type of artificial intelligence) is increasingly being used to support decision making in a variety of applications including recruitment and clinical diagnoses. While ML has many advantages, there are concerns that in some cases it may not be possible to explain completely how its outputs have been produced. This POSTnote gives an overview of ML and its role in decision-making. It examines the challenges of understanding how a complex ML system has reached its output, and some of the technical approaches to making ML easier to interpret. It also gives a brief overview of some of the proposed tools for making ML systems more accountable.
A heat network provides heating and hot water to an apartment, commercial site or series of buildings close together. It can also provide cooling. There is interest in using them to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings. This POSTnote looks at the technology of heat networks and their sources of heat. It looks at considerations when building new networks. It also outlines a potential future market framework.
This POSTnote describes edge computing, the use of computing resources in close proximity to the place where data are processed within a network, and some of the opportunities and challenges associated with its use. It supplements POSTnote 629.