MIL-OSI UK: drones background briefing

Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

A drone closed Gatwick airport for several days before Christmas and halted flights for an hour at Heathrow a few weeks later. 

What’s the current situation with drones and airports?  What is the risk from drones, and what solutions can engineering provide?  How can we prevent this from happening again, and how can drones for legitimate scientific and commercial use safely share airspace with passenger jets?  And what roles are drones expected to play in our lives in future?

Experts were invited to the SMC to discuss these questions.


Prof Iain Gray FREng, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University, and Chair of the UK Government Drones Industry Action Group.

Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal FREng, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and Director of engineering consultancy firm DH Future Systems Ltd.

Dr Rick Thomas, Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham who uses long range, high altitude drones for atmospheric research.


MIL-OSI UK: rcpch new guidance on screen time for children

Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

Screen time is now an intrinsic part of most people’s lives in the UK, but campaigns have raised the question about whether aspects of it might be harmful – particularly for children.  But what does the evidence say?

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has now produced its first guidance on children’s screen time. Some of the authors of the report were invited to the SMC to discuss issues such as:

– what is the evidence on whether screen time is harmful to children’s physical health?

– what about mental health?

– how can we unpick whether any associations are causal or due to other factors?

– what is the evidence on whether there are beneficial effects of screen time?

– is it possible, or evidence-based, to suggest screen time limits?

– what can families and parents do if they are worried?


Prof Russell Viner, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health


MIL-OSI UK: CMO’s annual report: What health could and should be like in england in 2040

Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

The Chief Medical Officer briefed journalists on her annual report at the SMC. The report is an aspirational and strategic look at what health could and should be like in England in 2040. It covered:

  • Health as an asset 
  • The health environment
  • Healthy life expectancy 
  • Integrate intelligent “predict and prevent” services, 
  • Health care achieves equity of access and uptake through embracing emerging technologies
  • A new research paradigm for emerging technologies underpinned by patient safety
  • World-leading ‘futures thinking’ 


Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer

Professor Majid Ezzati, Chair in Global Environmental Health at Imperial College London

Professor Jonathan Grant, VP at Kings College London

Paul Johnson, Director at the IFS

Dr Dominic King, Health Lead at DeepMind

Professor Michael Parker, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, Oxford University


MIL-OSI UK: UK set to sequence 100,000 whole genomes in the NHS

Source: United Kingdom – Science Media Centre

The UK leads the world in harnessing the huge potential from understanding our DNA and genes.  The 100,000 Genomes Project – launched in 2012 – is now poised to achieve its sequencing goal.  The UK has led the way in creating a global genomics sector with NHS England, Genomics England, the UK government through the Department of Health and Social Care, and industry playing pivotal roles in fuelling this area of science.

Sequencing the first human genome took 13 years. In less than five years, Genomics England has sequenced tens of thousands of genomes which will shed light on the causes and function of cancers and rare diseases, thanks to patients and their families and their doctors and nurses who have taken part in the project.

In October, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced plans to sequence many more genomes – from 100,000 genomes to a million – and an ambition to study up to 5 million genomes in the next five years. This will help in our endeavour to understand the link between genetic information and the risk of disease, to bring new discoveries, new awareness and wider benefits to patients, and to deliver the most efficient, effective and equitable healthcare system in the world. The panel discussed:

  • The number of genomes sequenced by the Project.
  • What data they have they found and how it is being used.
  • What improvements to diagnosis and treatment have already been made.
  • How the NHS is implementing the findings from the Project.
  • How the new genomic knowledge is helping people with cancers and rare diseases and their families.


Professor Mark Caulfield, Chief Scientist at Genomics England

Sir John Chisholm, Chair at Genomics England

Professor Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England

Monica Preuss, Head of Science, Genomics and Emerging Technologies at Department of Health