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

  • POSTnote

    Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

    There is growing UK and international interest in using ‘small modular nuclear reactors’ (SMRs) to generate electricity, and the UK Government announced a number of measures to support SMR development in the 2018 Nuclear Sector Deal. Stakeholders suggest that, compared with conventional nuclear reactors, SMRs could offer cost savings to operators and consumers, more flexible energy production and a greater choice of potential sites. This note examines key aspects of SMR technology, their economics and regulation.

  • POSTnote

    Persistent Chemical Pollutants

    A legacy of persistent pollutants is widely distributed in the environment, increasing the potential for exposure of wildlife and humans. This POSTnote sets out the challenge this posed for regulators, current regulatory approaches and some of the emerging issues.

  • POSTnote

    Biometric Technologies

    Biometric technologies identify individuals based on their distinguishing physical and behavioural attributes, such as fingerprints, face, and voice. Unlike passwords or traditional identity documents, biometric attributes are inherently linked to a person and cannot usually be lost or forgotten, potentially providing greater security and convenience. This briefing focuses on how these technologies work, their applications, and the policy challenges raised by their use.

  • POSTnote

    Relationships and Sex Education

    Teaching about relationships and sex in UK schools often focuses on the biology of reproduction. Stakeholders have called for lessons to cover a broader range of issues, such as healthy relationships and the risks posed by using digital technology. The subject Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will become statutory in all secondary schools in England in the near future. There is ongoing consultation into what will be included in the statutory guidance for RSE. This POSTnote reviews evidence on the potential outcomes of RSE in schools and how to maximise its effectiveness.

  • POSTnote

    Fire Safety of Construction Products

    Fires at Grenfell Tower in 2017, Lakanal House in 2009, and other residential tower blocks have raised questions about how construction products affect the severity and spread of fires. This briefing considers how the fire safety of construction products is regulated; how products are tested and classified; and challenges for product testing and the building regulations more widely.

  • POSTnote

    UK Fisheries Management

    Following EU withdrawal the UK will have full responsibility for fisheries policy and management within its waters. This POSTnote summarises the science used to inform management, current approaches to EU fisheries, and challenges and opportunities for future UK fisheries management

  • POSTnote

    Overseas Electricity Interconnection

    Electricity markets in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe are physically linked by ‘interconnector’ cables. These benefit energy system operators and consumers by reducing prices. They can also help integrate renewable electricity and ensure security of supply. This note discusses these benefits, proposals for future increases in interconnection and the potential effects of Brexit.

  • POSTnote

    Parental Alcohol Misuse and Children

    Parental Alcohol Misuse (PAM) can negatively affect children’s physical and mental health, and other outcomes including educational attainment and behaviour. Effects can be acute when experienced in conjunction with other adverse experiences such as domestic abuse, marital conflict, and deprivation. PAM is a common feature in child protection and care proceedings, and places a considerable burden on social services.

  • POSTnote

    Science Diplomacy

    A POSTnote which explains what science diplomacy involves, outlining the mechanisms and settings that encourage organisations and individuals to build international relations through science-related activities.

  • POSTnote

    Decarbonising the Gas Network

    The burning of natural gas for heating contributes 14% of the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Decarbonising, or reducing the carbon content of the UK gas supply is one option for reducing the emissions from heating. This POSTnote looks at the contribution that two alternative gases, hydrogen and biomethane, could make in achieving this goal.