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An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

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Science, Policy and Pandemics Podcast

Science, Policy & Pandemics 

The Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) works with a unique network of academics and decision-makers to improve the use of evidence and expertise in public policy.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak CSaP, in partnership with Cambridge Infectious Diseases and Cambridge Immunology, has launched a weekly podcast: Science, Policy and Pandemics.

Hosted by Dr Rob Doubleday, CSaP's Executive Director,  the evidence-based discussions engage the leading experts at Cambridge University and provide an opportunity for the policy makers / advisers to find out more about the diverse issues caused by (and related to) Covid-19.  

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Episode 1: Infectious disease modelling

James Wood (Alborada Professor of Equine and Farm Animal Science and Co-Chair of Cambridge Infectious Diseases IRC) and Julia Gog (Professor of Mathematical Biology, DAMTP)

An overview of infectious disease modelling: how it works, the uncertainties, and what the projections mean for public policy over the coming 12-18 months. The discussion includes: insights into the current state of our epidemiological understanding of Covid-19; the current uncertainties in the models caused by the lack of "live" data; how can modellers assist the exit strategy;the need for more serology data.

25 March 2020

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Episode 2: Communicating evidence and uncertainty

With Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter and Dr Alexandra Freeman of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication.

In the context of the current pandemic, the discussion focuses on what research has been done on the best way to communicate evidence and uncertainty, including what is known about public trust in expert knowledge where the stakes are high and there is considerable uncertainty. What confidence can we expect people to place in expert knowledge, and what is the best way to communicate the relationship between expert advice and political decision making?

1 April 2020

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Episode 3: The science of diagnostic testing for Covid-19

Dr Stephen Baker, Professor of Molecular Microbiology, University of Cambridge, leads the discussion on the background to the science of diagnostic testing for Covid-19. What has been learned from leading one of the first conversions of an academic lab to a lab for Covid-19 diagnostics, now carrying out validated rapid testing in Addenbrooke’s Hospital. This includes the barriers, the work-arounds, and what lessons there may be for other labs around the country.

Joining the discussion is epidemiologist Dr Caroline Trotter, who talks about what data the modellers will need to inform decisions about the ‘exit strategy’.

8 April 2020

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Episode 4: Applying statistical methods to epidemiology & disease transmission

Prof Daniela De Angelis, Professor of Statistical Science for Health at the University of Cambridge, discusses applying statistical methods to epidemiology, disease transmission, and using models to understand the burden on the NHS posed by covid-19. 

Professor De Angelis works on developing and apply statistical methods to characterise epidemics, exploiting the complex body of available information and has been working throughout the Covid-19 response as part of an epidemiological modelling group advising the UK Government.

15 April 2020

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Episode 5: Insights from behavioural sciences

Dr Simone Schnall, Reader in Experimental Social Psychology, and Dr Sander van der Linden, University Lecturer and Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory, discuss the psychological aspects of isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Topics explored also include why people spread misinformation and coping with uncertainty.

You can also read Dr Schnall's recent blogs on Coronavirus: A View from Behavioral Sciencewhich cover topics including "The White Male Effect" and "When Anxiety Yields Grief".

22 April 2020

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Episode 6: How is the pandemic impacting the learning, well-being and mental health of children and adolescents?

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Psychology at UCL and Paul Ramchandani, LEGO Professor of Play in Education at the University of Cambridge, discuss how are children, including the most vulnerable, coping with the Covid-19 pandemic and home schooling? Will the Covid-19 pandemic have longer term effects on our education systems? What impact has the pandemic had on adolescents' rites of passage?

29 April 2020

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Episode 7: The economic implications of Covid-19

Dr Meredith Crowley, Reader in International Economics, and Dr Christopher Rauh, Lecturer in Economics, University of Cambridge, explore the implications of the Covid-19 shock for international trade and labour market inequalities, with a focus on the UK context.

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Episode 8: Innovative technology in the context of Covid-19

Professor of Communication Systems John Crowcroft, and epidemiologist Dr Caroline Trotter, discuss the role of technology in the Covid-19 pandemic. From trustworthy digital systems to digital identity and immunity passporting, they explore some of the new opportunities and challenges for innovative technology in the context of Covid-19.

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