Science

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on science. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

DateDescription
13.01.2016Outer space
The UK's space sector is worth an estimated 11.8 billion to the economy. A recently published National Space Policy endorses industry's aspirations to build on this success, capturing 10% of the global market by 2030.
25.11.2015Support for science
Public funding for research comes from a mix of devolved (e.g. Higher Education Funding Council for England) and UK (e.g. Research Councils) institutions. Bodies like Innovate UK have a specific focus on industrial research.
13.11.2015Research and development expenditure: Social Indicators page
UK research and development expenditure with regional breakdown and international comparisons.
21.07.2015Spending on Research and Development in the UK
How much is spent on research and development in the UK? How is this spending broken down by region, industry and government department? In answering these and related questions, this note presents and examines a wide range of data relating to R&D in the UK.
04.06.2015New Psychoactive Substances
This briefing paper has been withdrawn. It has been replaced by the Library briefing on the Psychoactive Substance Bill 2015.
19.05.2015Key Issues for the 2015 Parliament
This book examines the key issues facing the House of Commons over the course of the 2015 Parliament - from the public finances to the UK's membership of the EU and from school places for children to climate change.
29.01.2015Mitochondrial Donation
This note seeks to provide a summary of the role of mitochondria, mitochondrial disease and the proposed new techniques. It will also outline the investigations into these techniques that took place prior to the Government announcement; a HFEA scientific review of the safety and efficacy of methods, an ethical review of the techniques for mitochondrial replacement undertaken by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and an HFEA public consultation. The main safety and ethical considerations associated with the introduction of these techniques into clinical practice will be discussed.
06.05.2014Water Bill 2013-14. Lords amendments
This note provides information on the Water Bill's Committee, Report and Third Reading stages in the Lords. It highlights amendments made to the Bill and also gives a brief account of other significant amendments discussed. It does not provide an exhaustive account of proceedings or document every amendment discussed.
10.03.2014Care.data
This note provides information about the introduction of the NHS care.data system and the use of patients' data for research, and about how patients' can opt out of having information from their medical records shared through this system.
28.02.2014Animal Experiment Statistics
In 2012, 4.1 million procedures were started on regulated living animals. This represents a year-on-year increase of 8%, mostly explained by a 22% rise in the breeding of genetically modified animals. This note summarises and analyses trends in data, including the growth of universities as the dominant seat of research on animals, the decline of research for toxicological purposes, and the growth in animal procedures for cancer research.

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
12.07.2013Debate on 18 July: Role of Government in Generating Economic Prosperity and Employment
This Note outlines recent data on the performance of the UK economy, announcements by the Government for capital spending, spending on research and development and action to help businesses gain access to funding. It also looks at proposals for the Government to take more of a role in managing growth, in particular whether the UK needs a more coherent and long-term industrial strategy.

POSTnotes

DateDescription
16.12.2015Policing Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse refers to a range of behaviours - psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional - that are directed towards partners, ex-partners or family members. This POSTnote examines the prevalence and nature of domestic abuse and the policing response. It examines how the policing response could be informed by research about the effectiveness of current and alternative approaches, and the possible benefits for victims, their families and offenders.
15.12.2015UK Commercial Space Activities
The UK space industry had a turnover of 11.8bn in 2012/13.1 By 2030, the UK Government and industry want this to grow to 40bn. In December 2015 the Government published the UK's first National Space Policy, which sets out its vision for achieving growth. This POSTnote describes the UK space industry and potential barriers to growth.
22.10.2015Automation in Military Operations
Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains - air, land and sea - make use of automation. This POSTnote outlines current and potential future applications of automation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in combat. It then summarises debate over legal, ethical and societal issues, including debate over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed on future lethal autonomous weapons systems.
22.10.2015Unintentional Bias in Court
When asked to interpret information and draw conclusions, people are prone to a number of well understood, unintentional errors in reasoning called cognitive biases. This POSTnote examines how cognitive biases affect reasoning and decision-making, and outlines strategies to minimise their influence in court.
19.10.2015Trends in ICT
This note looks at developments in information and communication technology (ICT) and their relevance for UK policy in the next five years. It examines the capability, use and economic impact of ICT; technical barriers; and implications for cybersecurity, privacy and internet governance.
30.09.2015Forensic Language Analysis
This note examines forensic language analysis, the scientific validity of procedures and their applications, and explores the issues surrounding their use.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
15.02.2012Role and functions of departmental Chief Scientific Advisers.
Science and Technology Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
31.10.2011Government response to the seventh report of the Science and Technology Select Committee on the Forensic...
Government response. Science and Technology Select Committee report [Commons]
07.09.2011Practical experiments in school science lessons and science field trips.
Science and Technology Select Committee report [Commons]
18.07.2011Peer review in scientific publication.
Science and Technology Select Committee report [Commons]
11.07.2011Astronomy and particle physics.
Government response. Science and Technology Select Committee; Cabinet Office report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
05.12.2011FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE AWARDS 2012
That this House welcomes the announcement of the winners of the For Women in Science Awards 2012; congratulates Professor Frances Ashcroft of Oxford University, who will be named as ...
10.10.2011CLOSURE OF THE FORENSIC SCIENCE SERVICE
That this House is concerned about the implications for the criminal justice system of the closure of the Forensic Science Service; notes warnings from the Metropolitan Police and the ...
27.06.2011ROYAL SOCIETY OF CHEMISTRY'S PARLIAMENTARY LINKS DAY 2011
That this House congratulates The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on organising the Parliamentary Links Day on 28 June 2011 on the theme of Global Challenges - Solutions from Science; ...
09.06.2011ROYAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING 35TH ANNIVERSARY
That this House recognises the importance of engineering and congratulates the Royal Academy of Engineering on its 35th anniversary as the UK's national academy for engineering that ...
09.03.2011NATIONAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING WEEK
That this House welcomes and supports National Science and Engineering Week, 11 to 20 March 2011; notes the work of many schools, community groups, science centres and museums across ...

Glossary

  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses