Capitalising on a neglected asset: the nation’s working life experience

COVID19 has exposed the inadequacy of our contingency planning for emergencies. The economic, educational and social effects of the pandemic have fallen very unequally across individuals, regions, businesses and institutions. The gap between rich and poor, advantaged and disadvantaged, has dramatically increased. These effects will last way beyond the pandemic itself. The opportunity to lessenContinue reading “Capitalising on a neglected asset: the nation’s working life experience”

A challenge to representative democracy and an argument for more deliberation and participation?

An old argument for representative democracy depends on politicians being better qualified than the demos. The thought is that legitimate government requires consent, but professionalising politics leaves policy decisions to knowledgeable individuals. This argument may no longer hold. Basic provision for education has improved, higher education is more accessible, and greater information is now available,Continue reading “A challenge to representative democracy and an argument for more deliberation and participation?”

The UK has a flawed system for funding its brilliant medical research

The pandemic has highlighted the UK’s vaccine research expertise but has also exposed shortcomings in the funding model for supporting this essential work. Oxford University and Imperial College London both developed promising vaccines within weeks of COVID-19 being discovered but their progress was delayed by bureaucracy and the lack of quick, adequate Government investment. TheContinue reading “The UK has a flawed system for funding its brilliant medical research”

COVID-19 Provides a Key Opportunity to Talk About Extinction Risks

Pandemics were a high-profile concern for decades, but we were unprepared. There are many worse crises that we are still unprepared for. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a key opportunity for the UK to prepare for these risks. Prime Ministers, scientists and journalists warned about the risk of pandemics, but when Coronavirus came, the UK wasContinue reading “COVID-19 Provides a Key Opportunity to Talk About Extinction Risks”

Promote Genomic Surveillance of Pathogens in Countries Outside Britain

Genomic surveillance has been an important tool in tracking the spread of SARS-COV2 variants in the past several weeks and has been used previously in the 2014 Ebola outbreak to monitor viral mutations. Being able to detect changes in a pathogen is essential in assessing its risk to public health and adapting existing treatments (i.e.Continue reading “Promote Genomic Surveillance of Pathogens in Countries Outside Britain”

The desire to volunteer outweighs the current volunteering infrastructure

The NHS hit its Covid volunteering target in 24 hours. The scheme was paused after 5 days, on 29 March, because 750,000 volunteers had already been recruited. People were inspired by the heroism of those working in medical and low-paid service jobs; they were moved by the privations experienced by the immobile and vulnerable; theyContinue reading “The desire to volunteer outweighs the current volunteering infrastructure”

Could ailing shopping centres be turned into vertical farms?

During the first lockdown I realised that if the supermarkets were empty, there would be desperate times. We need to live closer to our food supply. Food supply chains are global and complex. They also disconnect us from our food, food is a thing in a package from some place else. Using vertical farm technology,Continue reading “Could ailing shopping centres be turned into vertical farms?”

Lack of digital government services and infrastructure hampers engagement, efficiency, and agility.

The pandemic has shown the value of joined up, coherent communication and interactions between the government, individuals, and businesses. This has been hampered by the lack of a unified digital strategy for government. This problem has manifested itself in several ways, from the lack of financial support being made available to those self-isolating due toContinue reading “Lack of digital government services and infrastructure hampers engagement, efficiency, and agility.”