Our flagship report, the POSTnote, is a four-page briefing reviewing emerging areas of research.

Invasive non-native species

Research suggests that the threat from invasive non-native species (INNS) is growing. Biological invasions by INNS harm native species and habitats and can have economic impacts. Biosecurity measures can be adopted to prevent the introduction and spread of INNS. This POSTnote summarises the drivers and impacts of INNS and the measures needed to meet national and international environmental targets.

Invasive non-native species

Green steel

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the iron and steel industry make up 14% of industrial emissions in the UK. Decarbonisation of the steel industry is needed if the UK is to meet its target of net zero GHG emissions by 2050. This POSTnote outlines current steelmaking processes in the UK, the technologies and measures that can be used to reduce CO2 emissions, and the supporting infrastructure and policies that could enable a ‘green steel’ industry in the UK.

Green steel
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    Innovation in adult social care

    The UK Government’s 2021 People at the Heart of Care white paper identified innovation as key to delivering “outstanding quality” in adult social care in England. This POSTnote gives an overview of innovation in adult social care. It provides a summary of the types of innovation in the sector and evidence on key barriers to and facilitators of innovation. It also presents lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. It focuses on England but includes examples from all four UK nations.

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    The impact of digital technology on arts and culture in the UK

    This POSTnote provides an overview of the impact of digital technology on the arts and culture sector in the UK. It focuses on the uses of emerging digital technologies and the impact of COVID-19 on stakeholders. It summarises the policy priorities, challenges and barriers in accessing technology in the sector.

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    Reducing peatland emissions

    Peat soils store greenhouse gases for millennia if they stay waterlogged. However, an estimated 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions are released from peat soils due to their modification by humans. Reducing these emissions will help meet climate targets, with objectives to achieve this set out in action plans by the governments of the UK. This POSTnote describes the pressures on peat soils and summarises the challenges for reducing emissions from English peatlands.

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    Financial risks of nature loss

    Nature loss poses risks to the financial sector via the businesses they invest in, lend to, advise and insure. The financial risks of nature loss are embedded within the financial systems but are little understood or addressed by financial institutions. The POSTnote will outline the current understanding of the type and scale of the financial risks of nature loss and look at potential mechanisms to improve company level reporting and mitigation of both the financial risks of nature loss, and nature loss itself.

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    International shipping and emissions

    International shipping is widely regarded as a ‘difficult-to-decarbonise’ sector. However, having been included in the UK Government’s sixth carbon budget, rapid reductions in emissions from this sector will be required to contribute to UK’s goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This POSTnote examines the options for reducing emissions from international shipping activities and outlines the regulatory landscape of the sector.

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    Sharing public sector data

    Sharing public sector data can improve public services, facilitate research and innovation, and inform policymaking. However, public sector bodies face challenges when sharing data, both within the public sector and externally. These include cultural and skills barriers, poor data quality, and lack of public trust. Sharing public sector data also raises security and privacy concerns. This POSTnote looks at how public sector data is shared in the UK, discussing the requirements for effective data sharing and the associated benefits, risks, and barriers.

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    Genome edited food crops

    Genome editing creates the possibility of making more precise alterations in the DNA of food crop plants than existing approaches. This POSTnote: describes genome editing technology; identifies which food crops are currently undergoing editing and why; describes the regulation and registration of genome-edited food crops; discusses issues around trade; and describes stakeholder views about the technology.

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    Restoring agricultural soils

    Changes to the management of agricultural soil could contribute to improving the ability of soils to produce crops, as well as to wider benefits including mitigating future climate change. This POSTnote summarises the state of England’s agricultural soils and evaluates soil stewardship opportunities. Soil indicators that could be used for monitoring in policy frameworks and incentives relating to soil restoration are explored.

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    Reducing agricultural pressures on freshwater ecosystems

    Freshwater ecosystems in the UK face a myriad of pressures, with agricultural activities a leading source of impacts. Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan proposes a “systems” approach to mitigate environmental pressures. This POSTnote first describes the components of UK freshwater catchments, then summarises opportunities for developing a more integrated approach to addressing the pressures that agricultural practices place on freshwaters.

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    Preventing emerging zoonoses

    Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans. This POSTnote summarises approaches to preventing zoonoses with pandemic potential by targeting animal-environment-human interactions. It reviews current biosecurity measures in the UK and globally, notes lessons from COVID-19 and identifies future strategies.

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    Upskilling and retraining the adult workforce

    This POSTnote provides an overview of adult upskilling and retraining in the UK. It outlines the national context around adult education, including issues around supply and demand of skills as well as funding and participation rates. It also discusses the key outcomes and impacts of adult learning. This briefing focuses on 19+ adult learning and excludes university education.

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