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 1-20 out of 588

Reducing UK Antibiotic Use in Animals
Published Monday, October 8, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0588
This POSTnote discusses the current use of antibiotics in animals and the options available for reducing that use.
Flexible Electricity Systems
Published Tuesday, October 2, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0587
The electricity system of Great Britain is becoming increasingly decentralised, with more complex patterns of power production, transportation and consumption. New types of ‘flexibility’ are being developed to facilitate and manage these changes. This POSTnote reviews ways of developing flexibility, as well as technical and economic barriers to doing so.
Shift Work, Sleep and Health
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0586
A POSTnote that describes how working outside of daytime hours – shift work – affects physical and mental health and performance through its impact on sleep and circadian timing. It highlights the latest research, explains the implications for policy and how research can inform the design of interventions to improve shift workers' sleep and overall health.
Sleep and Health
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0585
A POSTnote that explains what is known about sleep and sleep disorders, the effects of poor sleep on performance, and on physical and mental health. It also describes the role of sleep in the context of public and occupational health, road safety, education and the consumer technology market.
Security of UK Telecommunications
Published Thursday, August 23, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0584
Telecommunications networks are essential for the day-to-day running of UK businesses and public services, however, concerns have been raised recently over their security. This POSTnote outlines the threats to these networks, the ability of networks to cope with disruption, and possible protective measures.
Developing Non-Academic Skills
Published Wednesday, August 22, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0583
Non-academic skills exist alongside academic knowledge and abilities, and can include empathy, communication, and resilience. They have also been called 'life', 'non-cognitive' or 'essential' skills. Non-academic skills are associated with a range of positive outcomes across education, work, health and wellbeing, such as higher academic attainment, improved employability, and better physical and mental health. This POSTnote reviews evidence on the outcomes associated with non-academic skills and effective educational approaches to developing these skills in and out of the school environment.
Unpaid Care
Published Thursday, July 19, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0582
This POSTnote looks at the numbers of unpaid carers across the UK, and the amount and type of care provided. It examines the impacts of providing unpaid care on carers’ education, employment, finances, health and wellbeing, and personal and social relationships. The note reviews the different types of support available for carers and examines evidence on their effectiveness.
Antimicrobial Resistance and Immunisation
Published Thursday, July 19, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0581
A POSTnote that describes the potential for immunisation as a strategy to tackle antimicrobial resistance, both globally and in the UK. It discusses public health priority areas, the role for existing vaccines and the development of new ones.
Small Modular Nuclear Reactors
Published Wednesday, July 18, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0580
There is growing UK and international interest in using ‘small modular nuclear reactors’ (SMRs) to generate electricity, and the UK Government announced a number of measures to support SMR development in the 2018 Nuclear Sector Deal. Stakeholders suggest that, compared with conventional nuclear reactors, SMRs could offer cost savings to operators and consumers, more flexible energy production and a greater choice of potential sites. This note examines key aspects of SMR technology, their economics and regulation.
Persistent Chemical Pollutants
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0579
A legacy of persistent pollutants is widely distributed in the environment, increasing the potential for exposure of wildlife and humans. This POSTnote sets out the challenge this posed for regulators, current regulatory approaches and some of the emerging issues.
Biometric Technologies
Published Friday, June 29, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0578
Biometric technologies identify individuals based on their distinguishing physical and behavioural attributes, such as fingerprints, face, and voice. Unlike passwords or traditional identity documents, biometric attributes are inherently linked to a person and cannot usually be lost or forgotten, potentially providing greater security and convenience. This briefing focuses on how these technologies work, their applications, and the policy challenges raised by their use.
Age of Criminal Responsibility
Published Wednesday, June 27, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0577
A POSTnote that discusses the age of criminal responsibility and explores issues arising from international legal standards, the scientific research on children's mental and moral development, and alternative approaches to dealing with children in conflict with the law.
Relationships and Sex Education
Published Monday, June 25, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0576
Teaching about relationships and sex in UK schools often focuses on the biology of reproduction. Stakeholders have called for lessons to cover a broader range of issues, such as healthy relationships and the risks posed by using digital technology. The subject Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will become statutory in all secondary schools in England in the near future. There is ongoing consultation into what will be included in the statutory guidance for RSE. This POSTnote reviews evidence on the potential outcomes of RSE in schools and how to maximise its effectiveness.
Fire Safety of Construction Products
Published Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0575
Fires at Grenfell Tower in 2017, Lakanal House in 2009, and other residential tower blocks have raised questions about how construction products affect the severity and spread of fires. This briefing considers how the fire safety of construction products is regulated; how products are tested and classified; and challenges for product testing and the building regulations more widely.
The Microbiome and Human Health
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0574
This POSTnote examines what is known about the human microbiome and the diseases and conditions linked to it. The note then describes interventions to modify the human microbiome and examines the issues raised by their use and by microbiome research more generally.
Health in Private-Rented Housing
Published Wednesday, April 4, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0573
This POSTnote looks at the quality of housing in the private rented sector and explains the effects that housing conditions can have on health. It also looks at interventions to improve housing quality in the private rented sector and at the challenges to implementing them.
UK Fisheries Management
Published Wednesday, February 21, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0572
Following EU withdrawal the UK will have full responsibility for fisheries policy and management within its waters. This POSTnote summarises the science used to inform management, current approaches to EU fisheries, and challenges and opportunities for future UK fisheries management
The Ageing Process and Health
Published Friday, February 9, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0571
This POST note examines the biological basis of ageing, the potential to manipulate the ageing process and to use such knowledge to promote better health later in life.
Overseas Electricity Interconnection
Published Friday, February 9, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0569
Electricity markets in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe are physically linked by ‘interconnector’ cables. These benefit energy system operators and consumers by reducing prices. They can also help integrate renewable electricity and ensure security of supply. This note discusses these benefits, proposals for future increases in interconnection and the potential effects of Brexit.
Parental Alcohol Misuse and Children
Published Friday, February 9, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0570
Parental Alcohol Misuse (PAM) can negatively affect children’s physical and mental health, and other outcomes including educational attainment and behaviour. Effects can be acute when experienced in conjunction with other adverse experiences such as domestic abuse, marital conflict, and deprivation. PAM is a common feature in child protection and care proceedings, and places a considerable burden on social services.

Displaying 1-20 out of 588

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House of Commons Library

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

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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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