Research briefings

This page provides access to research briefings produced by the House of Commons Library, the House of Lords Library and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). You can filter the research briefings by date, type, or one of 350 topics. Pick your options from the dropdown menus.

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    • Commons Briefing papers: 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.
    • Lords Library Notes: 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.
    • POSTbriefs: Responsive policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on mini-literature reviews and peer review, typically commissioned by select committees and library research services.
    • POSTnotes: 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.
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    Topics: Research material can be filtered by subject using the topic terms. The topics are arranged in a taxonomy (a hierarchical classification) and can be further filtered using sub-topics.

Displaying 81-100 out of 563

GM Insects and Disease Control
Published Tuesday, November 4, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-483
Insects play a critical role in ecosystems, but can also cause economic and social harm by transmitting diseases to humans and livestock, and damaging crops. Genetically modified (GM) insects could be used alongside other approaches to mitigate harms. This POSTnote summarises possible benefits, risks and uncertainties associated with their deployment.
GM Crops and Regulation
Published Thursday, October 30, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-482
This note summarises the evidence on environmental and health impacts of GM crops, describes recent technological developments and examines their likely consequences for proposed reforms of GM regulation
Diffuse Pollution of Water by Agriculture
Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-478
Water pollution regulation is devolved in the UK. Surface, coastal and ground waters in England suffer from significant pollution problems: 78% of surface and groundwater bodies fail to meet the ‘good’ ecological status prescribed by the EU Water Frameworks Directive. Pollution increases water treatment costs and adversely affects wildlife. Compared to treatment, preventing water pollution at source can have a cost-benefit ratio as high as 1:65. This POSTnote describes the contribution of agriculture to water pollution, and measures that can be taken to reduce it.
Preventing Mitochondrial Disease
Published Tuesday, October 14, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-431
This note describes new treatments designed to prevent mothers with mitochondrial disease passing their condition on to their children and looks at the issues raised by their potential use in IVF.
Palliative and End of Life Care
Published Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-481
This POSTnote provides an overview of palliative care and its key components, approaches to managing and standardising care and key challenges to providing high quality care.
Short Lived Climate Pollutants
Published Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-480
Short lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) include black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and ground level ozone. Although they have a shorter residence time in the atmosphere than CO2, from a few days to a few decades, they contribute to near term climate change. This POSTnote summarises options for mitigating SLCP concentrations and the benefits and challenges of doing so.
Civilian Drones
Published Thursday, October 2, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-479
This briefing provides an overview of current and future applications of unmanned aircraft, and opportunities and barriers for civilian use
Phosphate Resources
Published Friday, August 22, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-477
World food security is dependent on phosphate fertilisers manufactured from finite deposits of phosphate ore. The majority of remaining reserves are restricted to a limited number of countries raising geopolitical risks. This POSTnote describes the uses of phosphate and summarises ways in which dependence on mineral reserves could be reduced.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
Published Friday, August 15, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-466
The UNFCCC REDD+ scheme aims to promote sustainable forest management in developing countries in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Developed countries are expected to provide finance of approximately $20bn per year from 2020. This POSTnote summarises the extent to which REDD+ could contribute to meeting international climate targets, challenges to its implementation and technologies for tracking its performance
Environmental Citizen Science
Published Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-476
Environmental citizen science traditionally involves members of the public submitting sightings of wildlife to NGOs or records centres, but emerging technologies have recently broadened its use to all kinds of environmental data. This POSTnote summarises different types of citizen science projects, policy-relevant applications and the benefits and challenges of volunteer collected data.
Big and Open Data in Transport
Published Friday, August 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-472
This POSTnote examines key factors affecting the growth of big data in transport and current and future applications, focusing on road and public transport. It also explores challenges to opening up, collecting, disseminating and using big data, and to sharing data whilst protecting users’ privacy.
Alternative Currencies
Published Friday, August 8, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-475
This POSTnote outlines the different types and aims of these currencies. It also sets out how alternative currencies are being used and highlights regulatory and policy challenges regarding consumer protection, financial crime and taxation and benefits.
Published Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-473
A POSTnote that explores the role of biobanks in health research.
Childhood Allergy
Published Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-467
A briefing which describes the prevalence of allergic disorders in children and the factors which contribute to the development of allergies in infancy and early childhood. It also summarises new developments in research and treatment and gives an overview of current health policy on allergy services.
Big Data and Public Health
Published Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-474
This POSTnote examines the sources of data, their current and potential uses for health improvement, and the legal and practical issues raised by data use for public health or research purposes.
Big Data and Business
Published Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-469
POSTnote exploring how big data is being used by UK companies and the challenges and opportunities it presents.
Big Data Overview
Published Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-468
This POSTnote gives an overview of big data.
Smart Metering of Energy and Water
Published Friday, July 11, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-471
Smart meters record energy and water usage and improve how this information is relayed to both consumer and suppliers. The Government plans to roll-out smart meters of electricity and gas to all households in Great Britain by the end of 2020. This POSTnote examines the potential benefits and risks associated with smart metering of both water and energy, and the challenges for the energy smart metering roll-out.
Big Data, Crime and Security
Published Thursday, July 10, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-470
This POSTnote examines the use of large and varied data in three key areas: crime prevention, crime detection and national security. It also covers regulatory issues and public perception about privacy, civil liberties and social benefits.
Ancient Woodland
Published Wednesday, June 18, 2014 | POSTnotes POST-PN-465
Ancient woodlands are irreplaceable features of our landscapes that can be high in biodiversity or cultural value. This POSTnote summarises the challenges of conserving the biodiversity and cultural heritage of these sites to provide social and economic benefits, while still meeting the development needs of society.

Displaying 81-100 out of 563

About libraries

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.

House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.


The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.

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