Jonathan Cave entertained a capacity audience of 200 people when he took part in a panel discussion for the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, entitled ‘The Internet of Things and the boundaries of humanity’. He offered a survey of challenges resulting from high-speed algorithms and disembodied responsibility. RAND Europe supporters and panel members joined a reception afterwards, where discussions continued for a further two hours.
The Mental Health Retrosight study of 20 years of research in the field of schizophrenia shows how research projects that successfully translated into patient benefit share certain characteristics, such as multidisciplinary researchers or teams, and clinically-oriented rather than basic research topics. These attributes could be selected for, promoted or nurtured to increase the impact of future research on improving patients’ lives.
To head off the growing threat of drugs no longer working in the war against microbes, Dame Sally C Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, together with Dr Jonathan Grant and Professor Mike Catchpole, have written The Drugs Don't Work
. The book brings together in one easy read the startling facts of the here-and-now problem we face about resistance to our current range of antimicrobial drugs, with expert analysis of the science behind and policy implications of the battle against infectious diseases.
Many complex issues surround the use of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy as HIV prevention, and these were explored in the Mapping Pathways project, in which RAND Europe was a partner. The report from the second phase of the project brings together scientific evidence and community perspectives on four strategies for ARV-based HIV prevention in the U.S., India, and South Africa, and emphasises how local context shapes perception of evidence.
As a method for awarding research funding, peer review suffers from many drawbacks and yet is by far the most commonly used method to make funding decisions. RAND Europe revised and updated its pack of Alternatives to Peer Review to inspire funders to practise and test alternative methods for picking research winners.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a UK-based research charity, commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study to determine the future outlook for breast cancer. This work informed the development of Breakthrough’s future strategic direction, helping them to achieve the best possible outcomes for people affected by breast cancer.
The Excellence in Innovation for Australia (EIA) Impact Assessment Trial aimed to assess the non-academic impact of research generated by a subset of Australian universities, and act as a pilot for a potential companion piece to the next Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), a nationwide performance assessment of Australian universities. RAND Europe's evaluation of the Trial found it to be a successful process, but identified a number of areas of improvement, especially if it is scaled up to a national level.
Health research governance in the UK has been the subject of much debate and discussion in recent years as existing regulatory approaches and processes have been consolidated and reconsidered. Researchers looked at the behavior of regulated sectors in different areas and countries—including medical drugs, financial services, and environmental sectors—to seek relevant lessons to help understand the impact of regulation on health research governance.
RAND Europe provided the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy with a rapid assessment of the innovation and competitiveness impacts of the EU's proposed General Data Protection Regulation affecting: automated processing; control of data processing; and data transfers. The briefing considers a variety of perspectives—profiling; big data; cloud computing; and privacy-friendly technologies—and identifies a variety of impacts and areas for improvement.
The growth of the internet as a tool for engagement between individuals means it has also become an increasingly important 'space' for business innovation. There is a demand for, and market in, information; and there are concerns to protect personal data. RAND Europe led a consortium, commissioned by the European Parliament, to study these issues and related policies. The study explores ways to promote internet-based innovation and competition in the EU while respecting citizens' right to privacy.
The UK government today announced plans to spend £600 million for scientific research, in part as a means for promoting economic growth. Evidence provided by research findings in a 2008 study by RAND Europe, the Health Economics Research Group at Brunel University, and the Office of Health Economics suggests that the proposal could lead to a good return on investment. The study estimated that the health and GDP gains from UK public and charitable investments in cardiovascular disease research is equivalent to an annual rate of return of around 39%.
The field of personalised or stratified medicine is evolving alongside the formation of a plethora of public-private partnerships. Such collaborations are at the core of the set of new life sciences policies in the UK, but the rationale and basis for collaboration remains unclear and there is little indication in policy documents of clear boundaries for them. An article in the journal New Biotechnology
discusses some of the drivers and dynamics of these collaborations.
The Internet has transformed our daily lives and revolutionised the way we do business, and it promises to fuel economies and improve well-being in the future. But Europe has been slower than the US, Korea or Japan to capture the full benefits of the Internet economy. Investing in new technologies and applications has considerable economic potential for Europe, but only if some tough choices are made and barriers to EU international competitiveness can be overcome.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags offer benefits to product lifecycle management and can help indicate how best to recycle products, but they also introduce extraneous metals and materials into the recycling stream. RAND Europe and its two research partners explored the environmental impact and advantages of using RFID tags and provide recommendations based on their findings.
Although concerns about cyber-security are one of the top five global risks identified by the World Economic Forum, it is less clear whether the market for cyber-insurance is sufficiently mature. ENISA asked RAND Europe to explore what might inhibit such a market and investigate incentives to kick-start its development. Recommendations include collecting more empirical evidence, exploring the scope for collective action or redress, develop frameworks to help firms appraise the value of their information, and explore the role of government as an insurer of last resort.
Open innovation has gained increased attention as a potential paradigm for improving innovation performance, but one under-researched type of innovation is crowdsourcing, where a crowd is tasked with solving problems which solution seekers anticipate to be empirically provable. An exploration of who is using this form of innovation and how, looking at the potential diversity and core features and variables implicated in crowdsourcing models, can help organisations understand the effectiveness, best practices, challenges and implications of crowdsourcing.
To understand the factors affecting the wider adoption of electric vehicles, RAND Europe has sponsored a project to evaluate the barriers, as well as relevant government and public-private interventions that have been used in other countries to facilitate adoption. The project team will also conduct a survey to determine the potential uptake of electric vehicles within a municipality, using Cambridge, UK, as a case study.
Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) work like digital fire brigades, responding to and mitigating cyber security incidents. The European Network and Information Security Agency asked RAND Europe and partner time.lex to explore the legal, regulatory, and operational aspects of information exchange between CERTS in Europe. Their study found that uncertainty over data protection regimes, amongst others, are an important factor influencing cross-border information exchange.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) help to empower citizens and transform economic life. An important policy challenge is to identify and harness the benefits while mitigating the risks created by the new technologies. At the World Bank's request, RAND Europe helped develop a framework for thinking about ICT use in MENA. The report builds on an earlier research which benchmarked indicators for the knowledge economy in the region, analysing associations between indicators of ICT diffusion and development.
RAND Europe has published an evaluation of the Greek research and development (R&D) system which identifies opportunities to improve economic growth and social outcomes. The Greek government commissioned the work to inform its plans to create a sustainable platform for research and development in Greece. The report concludes that a reform programme can succeed. Solutions would involve reducing fragmentation, developing critical mass, and addressing issues of enduring concern and comparative advantage.
Despite considerable investment in basic science, wheat production has remained relatively static in both quantity and quality. To help ensure the best use is made of these investments, RAND Europe examined how translational research and knowledge exchange can be enhanced. Important barriers to the translation of research into practice include price volatility and the complexity of the wheat value chain, but providing platforms for face-to-face contact and collaborative working can enable knowledge exchange.
Tommy’s, a charity that aims to reduce the number of premature births and miscarriages, funds pregnancy-related medical research at three centres in the UK. RAND Europe developed a set of indicators for Tommy’s to monitor performance of the research centres and then carried out a further review of the collection of performance indicators. Tommy’s is now implementing set of recommendations to capture a wider range of outputs and impacts from the research in a more consistent way.
Developed as part of the "Science of Science" programme for the UK’s Department of Health, this short paper examines the use of prizes to support the objectives of the Department’s Research and Development Directorate. It reviews the use of performance measures and incentives and concludes that prizes should play a more significant role in the UK health R&D system than they have to date. It is not suggested, though, that they should replace existing systems.
Normally, technology transfer involves developed countries forging ahead with innovation while others adopt technologies in their wake. This is an exploratory study of health technologies explicitly developed for developing countries being transferred from South to North. While it concludes that many of the factors key to successful transfer are highly contextual, it will be of interest to policymakers who find their concerns beginning to overlap (such as in relation to cost).
The independent telecommunication regulator of the Netherlands, OPTA, commissioned RAND Europe to explore convergence in the market for digital information and communication. The research report assesses the consequences for telecommunication regulators and regulation and explores specific issues, such as spectrum policy and net neutrality with the ultimate goal of drawing useful lessons from approaches applied in United States of America, United Kingdom and South Korea.