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Briefings:

Unbiased and topical backgrounders and handy reference sheets for journalists covering issues in science and technology.

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SMC BRIEFING: Unmanned flight – pushing the limits

Posted in Briefings on November 25th, 2014.

Consumer-grade and custom-designed drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have exploded onto the market in recent years, opening up a surprising range of potential applications, but also raising concerns that the speed of technology development is outstripping current safety rules.   A new briefing from the SMC brings together several experts to explore the range of […]

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BRIEFING: Ebola – contagion, containment and treatment

The West African Ebola epidemic isn’t going anywhere in a hurry. The latest WHO report lists over 10,000 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths from the disease, with rates still on the rise.  The Science Media Centre assembled a panel of experts — including a live update from a Kiwi scientist currently visiting the US Centre […]

October 31st, 2014 Read full Story

Media, disasters & the public – audio collection

Communicating vital information to the public during disasters is an essential, but sometimes daunting, responsibility for scientists and engineers. At the request of members of the natural hazards research community, the Science Media Centre hosted a workshop reflecting on challenges faced and lessons learned during recent major events, such as the Canterbury and Cook Strait quakes, the eruption of Mt […]

October 17th, 2014 Read full Story

New fault line discovered in Wellington Harbour

A previously unknown fault in Wellington Harbour has been discovered, but scientists say it is unlikely to increase the capital’s known risk of earthquake damage. The Aotea fault, named for its proximity to Aotea Quay, was found by NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) marine geologists mapping the area between the Cook Strait Ferry terminal and Point […]

October 8th, 2014 Read full Story

BRIEFING: Predator plague, beech mast and 1080

The largest 1080 predator control operation ever attempted in New Zealand will be carried out in Kahurangi National Park later this month, as part of a national effort to combat soaring rat and stoat numbers in the conservation estate. This year’s large beech flowering and mast seeding event has created a huge increase in food […]

September 9th, 2014 Read full Story

Election 2014 – SMC science Q&A with political parties

The Science Media Centre put questions on key science-related issues to the political parties ahead of the General Election scheduled to be held on September 20.  This page has now been updated to include responses from the Maori Party. Please click on the links below to find the answers from responding political parties (or download […]

September 8th, 2014 Read full Story

Audio: Science advice in the context of opposing views

A panel discussion at the inaugural Science Advice to Governments conference in Auckland, 28-29 August, 2014. Science advice in the context of opposing political / ideological positions Speakers: Chair: Ian Boyd (Defra, UK) Hubert Deluyker (EFSA, EC) Roger Pielke (US) Gordon McBean (Canada) Chris Tyler (UK) Ian Chubb (Australia) Session description: One of the most difficult situations […]

September 2nd, 2014 Read full Story

Audio: Science advice in situations of crisis

A panel discussion at the inaugural Science Advice to Governments conference in Auckland, 28-29 August, 2014. Science Advice in Situations of Crisis panel Speakers: Chair: Anne Glover – Chief Science Advisor to President, European Commission Yuko Harayama – Executive Member of Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet Office of Japan Andreas Hensel – President, […]

August 29th, 2014 Read full Story

Expert Encounter: Antibiotic resistance

SMC Expert encounters — a new series of monthly lunchtime events for Auckland media Antibiotic resistance is this month’s topic — The evolution and spread of antibioticresistance in harmful bacteria is increasingly being recognised as a major modern crisis. Understanding how bacteria evolve — and the shortcuts they use to swap genes across species — is key to understanding why they are […]

August 5th, 2014 Read full Story

The future of New Zealand science investment

The Government’s draft National Statement of Science Investment lays out the plan for science funding for the next decade and with submissions open on the plan until August, 22nd, the SMC in conjunction with the Science Communicator’s Association held a panel discussion to tease out some of the big issues concerning the direction of science […]

July 31st, 2014 Read full Story


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