Medical breakthroughs are more than just science

medical-education-1362499020_44There are a host of examples where medical breakthroughs have changed the face of a disease – saving thousands if not millions of lives.  The process by which these breakthroughs occur is complex and multi-faceted. But if we can get to grips with how they happen, it could help us make similar discoveries for other diseases.  In this blog post, Dr Matthew Lam, Communications Manager at the Policy Institute at King’s, draws on the findings of a recent report to examine the variety of factors that contribute to medical breakthroughs.  
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Do school uniforms improve students’ behaviour or academic performance?

A few weeks ago Professor Jonathan Grant – director of the Policy Institute at King’s – got involved in a Twitter exchange on the benefits of school uniforms. This was prompted by frustrations with his daughters’ school apparent obsession with enforcing a school uniform policy at – in his view – the expense of focusing on the ‘core business of education’.  In sharing his concern with colleagues in the Policy Institute a debate ensued on ‘what is the evidence that school uniforms improve academic achievement and behaviour?’  Being an inquisitive team that never turns down a challenge, Research Assistant Rachel Hesketh looked at the evidence.  This is what she found…  Continue reading

Austerity demands better ways to make funding decisions

We are in an age of austerity and no areas of public spending are exempt.  Research councils, the bodies that allocate public funding of research in the arts, humanities and sciences, have all made cuts to the amount of funding being awarded each year.  But is cutting research funds the way to go to save money? In this article by Jonathan Grant, Director of the Policy Institute at King’s, and Kathryn Oliver, from the Department for Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford, it is considered that there may be other areas within the funding system that could be made more cost effective to avoid taking money away from research.  For example, administrative and time consuming processes such as developing research proposals, peer review and post award evaluation could all be areas worth evaluating as a cost saving measure.  When budgets are tightened we should look to ideas of frugal innovation and think outside of the box if we want to protect investment in research.

To find out more read the full, freely available article at in Research Professional.

Policy Idol 2015 finalists Rohan and Raza tell their story

Rohan Khanna (left) and Raza Nazar (right)Rohan Khanna and Raza Nazar – both undergraduates at King’s College London – were finalists at Policy Idol 2015 with their pitch titled “Unlocking Persia’s potential: towards a working relationship with Iran”.  In this blog post, to coincide with the launch of Policy Idol 2016, Rohan and Raza tell us why they decided to enter the competition and what it was like to take part.  You can read the details of Rohan and Raza’s pitch here or view the video at the end of their blog post. Continue reading

Defending the private sector against cyber attack

google-76522_640In 2009, Google was the victim of a cyber attack, later dubbed Operation Aurora, that left attackers with access to confidential information related to active investigations by the FBI and other US law enforcement agencies.  An article published in Vanity Fair magazine in 2011 said of the attack: ‘Google called the National Security Agency (NSA) and said, “You were supposed to protect us from this!” The NSA guys just fell out of their chairs. They could not believe how naive the `Google guys had been.’

But should the NSA have protected Google? How far should government security agencies go to help strengthen the defence of private companies against cyber attacks?  In this blog post, Ashley Sweetman draws on his PhD research and the writings of Gordon Corera in his new book, Intercept, launched by the Strand Group in July 2015, to consider these questions.               Continue reading