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 602

Developments in Wind Power
Published Thursday, May 23, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0602
UK power generation from wind has increased in recent years due to sharp reductions in the costs of constructing and operating wind power facilities. Onshore wind power provides the cheapest electricity of any form of new generation built, and offshore is expected to continue to reduce in cost. Generating wind power does not emit greenhouse gases, hence future growth will help the UK meet its GHG emissions reduction targets. This POSTnote examines the innovations that have enabled wind power cost reductions, associated policy considerations and challenges for future deployment.
Sustaining the Soil Microbiome
Published Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0601
The soil microbiome, communities of microorganisms in soils, underpin natural processes in soil habitats and are affected by environmental and land use change. This POSTnote gives an overview of the benefits provided by the soil microbiome, ways of assessing the soil microbiome, and measures to improve its condition.
Climate Change and Agriculture
Published Tuesday, May 7, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0600
Agriculture is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, which has implications for food security. This POSTnote examines measures to reduce the impacts of food production and agricultural land use on climate change (mitigation) and to adapt agricultural land use to that change (adaptation).
Early Interventions to Reduce Violent Crime
Published Tuesday, April 16, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0599
Violent crime includes a range of offences, from assault to murder. It can be any action that intentionally inflicts (or threatens) physical or psychological damage. Over the past decade overall crime has decreased, and violent crime is down by 69% since 1995. However, homicides and crimes involving knives or sharp instruments have risen since 2014. This has been reflected in an increase in hospital admissions for assaults with knives or sharp instruments. Violent offences are disproportionately concentrated in metropolitan areas, such as London and cities in West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. This POSTnote outlines types and prevalence of violent crime. It describes risk factors associated with involvement as a victim or perpetrator of violent crime. It then presents evidence on the effectiveness of early interventions to counter these risk factors and prevent violent crime.
Advances in Cancer Treatment
Published Thursday, April 11, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0598
A POSTnote that gives an overview of recent advances in cancer treatment, the potential benefits and risks, and considers the opportunities and challenges to using new technologies in the NHS.
Climate Change and Vector-Borne Disease in Humans in the UK
Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0597
A POSTnote that summarises the latest data on vector-borne disease in the UK, explores how climate may influence the geographical distribution of species, examines the consequences for public health, and highlights potential adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Chemical Weapons
Published Monday, March 11, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0596
Chemical weapons are prohibited, however recent chemical weapons attacks in Malaysia, Syria, Iraq and the UK have raised concerns about their use. In the UK in 2018, four people were taken seriously ill and one person died following exposure to a Novichok, a type of nerve agent. The UK Government recently announced £11m to strengthen the UK’s chemical defences and highlighted chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats as an area of focus in the recent Modernising Defence Programme. This briefing provides an overview of chemical weapons including types of chemical weapons and modes of delivery, chemical weapons control and disarmament, investigations of alleged attacks and chemical weapons defence in the UK.
Reservoirs of Antimicrobial Resistance
Published Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0595
The widespread use of antimicrobials, particularly antibiotics, has accelerated the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in microbes. A recent report by the Health and Social Care Committee called for AMR to be a ‘top five policy priority’. This POSTnote evaluates the main reservoirs of AMR microbes arising from the use of antimicrobials in both humans and animals.
Limiting Global Warming to 1.5°C
Published Monday, February 11, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0594
Under the Paris Agreement, almost all governments worldwide have agreed to collectively limit global warming to 'well below' 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures, and to 'pursue efforts' to limit this warming to 1.5°C. However, there has been 1°C of warming to date, and current international pledges could result in 3°C or more. A 2018 UN Special Report examined how peak global warming could be limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, and the implications of doing so. This POSTnote outlines key messages from the UN Special Report, and UK responses to preventing and adapting to climate change.
Cyber Security of Consumer Devices
Published Thursday, February 7, 2019 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0593
Weaknesses in the cyber security of internet-connected consumer devices can undermine the privacy and safety of individual users and can be used for large-scale cyber-attacks. This briefing looks at the cyber threats associated with consumer devices and their causes, as well as initiatives to improve device security, and the related challenges.
Stalking and Harassment
Published Monday, December 17, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0592
Stalking and harassment both involve any repeated behaviour that would cause alarm, distress or fear of violence in a victim. Common stalking or harassment behaviours include unwanted contact online or in person, following a victim, and interfering with property. Stalking is characterised by a perpetrator’s fixation or obsession and can have long-term psychological and social effects on a victim. Stalking also has the potential to escalate to other crimes, such as sexual assault or murder. This POSTnote describes stalking and harassment before presenting evidence on the effectiveness of approaches to identifying, preventing and prosecuting these crimes.
Robotics in Social Care
Published Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0591
This POSTnote introduces robotic technology and the main ways it has been developed for use in social care. It reviews evidence on the impact of robotics on the costs and quality of social care and its workforce, and explores the main ethical, social and regulatory challenges to its use in social care.
EU Environmental Principles
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0590
Environmental principles inform legal and political frameworks that aim to minimise the ill-effects of human activity on the environment. In the EU (Withdrawal Act) 2018, the UK has committed to incorporating a set of environmental principles into UK legislation. This POSTnote summarises these principles and considers potential opportunities and challenges surrounding their implementation post-Brexit.
Trends in Agriculture
Published Thursday, November 8, 2018 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0589
In the last century, agricultural production intensified, but this increased its impacts on the environment, waste in supply chains and in some regions of the world, disconnected it from people’s lives. Projections of global population growth and changing consumption patterns out to 2050 suggest further increases in food production will be needed. This POSTnote outlines key drivers of global agricultural trends and the challenge of safeguarding both food production and environment value in a changing world.
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.

Displaying 1-20 out of 602

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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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