Cambridge Journal of Science and Policy


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  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Identification of Strategic International Partnerships for Emergent Global Artificial Intelligence Policies
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Mahuli, Amruta; Kumar, Sumit; K Namdeo, Suryesh; Turner, Georgia [0000-0001-8306-8454]
    Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the defining technologies of our time. Countries worldwide are developing their AI strategies to develop their national capacities, increase economic competitiveness and growth, and address local, regional, and global issues. The vast implications of AI are guiding foreign policy actions of different countries as they find AI as a new avenue for international cooperation and competition. In this study, we review the emerging contours of AI Cambridge Journal of Science & Policy, Vol. 4, Issue 1 strategies and partnerships at national, bilateral, and multilateral levels by analysing the approach of some major countries and international forums. Here, we discuss the national strategies, bilateral collaborations, and structure and function of relevant international platforms to understand the evolving nature of international partnerships on AI. Further, we highlight the disconnect between global priorities and national strategies, collaborations among some developed and developing countries, and the ongoing deliberation on global norms and standards. Finally, we put forward some considerations for global cooperation to develop rules, norms and standards for AI.
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    How Much Users Know About 'Permission' When They Permit: The Case of the Facebook App
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Safir, Abdullah Hasan; Turner, Georgia [0000-0001-8306-8454]
    The Facebook app’s internal infrastructure makes it a giant data extraction medium, often exploiting the users unknowingly. Standing on this premise, this research examines the Manifest file of the app and relevant Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) embedded in its Software Development Kits (SDKs) and undertakes a tracker analysis of the app using the Exodus tool. The article shows that the reviewed version of the Facebook app has 59 permission requests in the SDKs. Later, it critically analyses the notion of ‘permission’ concerning the network infrastructure and device affordances of the app. The article raises an important question: Can the users (really) ‘permit’? The article suggests that such innovative methods and approaches undertaken in this research can inform more effective policies to regulate platforms like Facebook by safeguarding users’ privacy.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Open-source provisions for large models in the AI Act
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Law, Harry; Krier, Sébastien; Turner, Georgia [0000-0001-8306-8454]
    On 21 April 2021, the European Commission tabled a proposal for the European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act to introduce a common regulatory and legal framework for the development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI). Subsequent amendments have sought to include generalist or ‘foundation’ models, including in some commercial contexts those released on an open-source basis. Critics have argued that such a move would harm smaller AI developers, who rely on open-source practices to develop new products and services. Others contend that targeted measures are necessary, given the risks of misusing open-source systems. This paper focuses on approaches to open-sourcing foundation models in the context of the Act, rather than questions relating to general open-source practices or publication norms for AI systems. It seeks to summarise the movements related to open-source models in the Artificial Intelligence Act and introduces possible avenues for compromise.
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    The profits and perils of precision breeding for agriculture: Issues surrounding the UK’s proposed Genetic Technology Bill
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange, 2023-04-28) Pant, Hitesh; Turner, Georgia [0000-0001-8306-8454]
    The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill currently being tabled in Parliament has come under significant scrutiny because of its implications for the future of food access and availability in the UK. Supporters of the bill argue that this gene-editing technology is essential to drive agricultural productivity to grow resilient crops and enhance the UK’s food security. However, small farmers and food activists claim that the bill’s reliance on technological interventions ignores the underlying structural barriers limiting the capability of the country’s rural workers to grow food on their own terms, and instead offers more financial concessions to large agri-biotech firms. This article situates the debates over the Precision Breeding Bill within a longer global history of agriculture, and calls for a measured approach to food policy that necessitates a closer scrutiny of past errors.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    The Efficacy of Targeted Educational Intervention in Increasing Influenza and COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange, 2023-04-28) Nagajothi, Nagashreyaa; Chetkof, Ethan; Turner, Georgia [0000-0001-8306-8454]
    Vaccine hesitancy, defined as the delayed acceptance or refusal of available vaccination, is a threat to public health. It increases the spread of communicable disease through the reduction of vaccine uptake. Therefore, it is imperative to develop public health strategies which effectively decrease vaccine hesitancy. In order to reduce hesitancy and increase uptake, educational interventions are commonly used to educate the vaccine-hesitant population about vaccine safety. Many current educational interventions are generalised educational interventions, meaning they provide individuals with generic vaccine information that may not address their specific concerns. In contrast, targeted educational interventions allow individuals to indicate their reasons for remaining hesitant about vaccination and have them directly addressed. This paper argues that targeted educational intervention should be further emphasised in public health strategies for reducing COVID-19 and influenza vaccine hesitancy. Reasons for COVID-19 and influenza vaccine hesitancy are extremely diverse and dependent on the individual and their healthcare history. Targeted interventions are more effective in the addressal of these diverse and specific concerns. This paper reviews external literature regarding the efficacy of targeted educational intervention in reducing both influenza and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The results indicate that generalised educational interventions alone are often insufficient to reduce vaccine hesitancy, while targeted educational interventions are effective at both reducing vaccine hesitancy and increasing vaccine uptake. Thus, the results of this systematic literature review support the notion that vaccination campaigns should emphasise targeted interventions as a key component of their strategy.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Cultivated meat as an alternative to traditional animal agriculture
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Zeng, Aiwei
    Modern animal agriculture is unsustainable, and is a driver of greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. There is a rapidly growing interest in alternative proteins as a solution to the increasing demand for food due to an increasing global population. One class of alternative proteins is cultivated meat, where stem cells are grown on an industrial scale to form a wide variety of meat products. Cultivated meat has several advantages over traditional meat, and may be more sustainable. However, the technology is still in its infancy, with many obstacles yet to overcome, including technological hurdles and regulatory development.
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    Whose science is it anyway? Reflections on how equality, diversity, and inclusion principles in research and policy engagement strategies can improve policy outcomes as exemplified in health research and policy
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Recio-Saucedo, Alejandra; Bea, Laura; Howlett, Katherine [0000-0002-1020-9161]
    Consideration of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) principles within the policy making process across the board will lead to more effective policy creation and implementation, and strengthen current research systems. By being deliberately interdisciplinary and intersectional in our approach to research and policy impact, we can aim to serve a wider scope of people in a way that matches the nuance, complexity, and variety of the lived experience. Finding effective policy engagement solutions must include consideration of EDI principles at each stage of the research-to-policy pipeline. This article offers introductory thoughts on how EDI can be practically implemented at the stages of research design and research funding to bring awareness to the need for embracing EDI principles. While we know that further information, data, and insight are needed when it comes to diversity in research, the research workforce, and funding allocation, our primary aim for this paper is to encourage reflection and critical assessment of how EDI might be considered at the very early stages of the evidence-to-policy pipeline.
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    The Frailties of Expert Judgement in UK Public Policy: The COVID-19 Experience
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Mathur, Pranjal; Howlett, Katherine [0000-0002-1020-9161]
    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Kingdom deployed a set of measures to reduce the impacts of the spread of SARS-CoV-2. These measures included a national lockdown and restrictions to most leisure activities. Analysis of relevant testimony and scientific data reveals that the UK Government had a delayed reaction, in which the opportunity cost of lives and economic stability were lost. Information on the severity of the virus was made available as early as January 2020. However, inaction remained the chosen strategy up until March 2020. Analysis of decision-making and biases suggests that lack of diversity in decision- making is of concern in prevailing top-down decisions. While the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) was able to showcase a variety of conclusions from their modelling data, the evaluation of models as a strategic tool for outcome analysis was poor. For example, when compared to Austria, the UK was slow in acting on modelling data as a probabilistic tool for mitigating risks. Limitations of the decision-making process are also explored to make the case that decisions made through a better integrated framework of health professionals, non- experts and policymakers could reduce risk and lead to more meaningful outcomes.
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    Proposal for a Cambridgeshire Carbon Advisory Service and Strategic Business Case for a Cambridgeshire Decarbonisation Fund: Executive Summary
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Bloomfield, Maximilian; Eldridge-Thomas, Buffy; Iqbal, Affan; Mackinlay, Kirsty; Mahadevegowda, Amoghavarsha; Ollard, Isobel; Pearce-Higgins, Robert; Smith, Andrew; Bloomfield, Maximilian [0000-0002-6529-261X]
    The imperative and urgency to reach net-zero has never been clearer. Decarbonising our local environment and practices is a momentous task; however, Cambridgeshire County Council and its various public sector partners and stakehold- ers together are uniquely placed to collaborate positively and holistically towards tackling the climate crisis at a local level. Thus, the Cam- bridgeshire local system has an exciting and crit- ical opportunity to drive the achievement of a net-zero Cambridgeshire by 2045 and serve as a model for other local areas across the country and elsewhere. This report recommends the es- tablishment of a Carbon Advisory Service, which will support local businesses to decarbonise. In conjunction, this report sets out the strategic business case for a Cambridgeshire Decarboni- sation Fund, which will offset residual ‘hard to reduce’ emissions and support investment in lo- cal community infrastructure and nature-based projects which will avoid, reduce, or sequester carbon.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Ecological Tipping Points: Uncertainties and Policy Approaches
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Wong, Darren; Brown, Emma [0000-0002-2153-2992]
    Ecological tipping points have captured policymakers’ imaginations for framing local and global environmental change: if an environmental driver becomes too significant, an ecosystem may flip into an alternate state, often with catastrophic and far-reaching consequences. The article first explores the science of ecological tipping points and the uncertainties that limit their validity and value in providing a threshold marking abrupt ecosystem collapse across scales. I then argue that ecological tipping points may be more useful not as a scientific instrument to predict environmental change, but as a gauge of anthropogenic environmental trajectories and a socio-environmental imaginary to mobilise environmental action. Given the complexity and uncertainty of ecological science, I suggest that the science-policy interface of ecological tipping points will benefit from further research in threshold dynamics and ecosystems in transition due to human activity. Furthermore, a pluralistic, deliberative approach to policymaking that brings together different knowledge domains will facilitate adaptive environmental governance to effectively respond to changes in the physical environment and our understandings of it.
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    The Future of Miniaturised Organs in Drug Development and Testing
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Chisholm, Timothy
    Drug development is time consuming and expensive, partly due to the difficulty ofdetermining the safety and effectiveness of drugs in humans. To improve this process,there is a demand for models appropriate for studying the biological effects of drugsearly in their development. This article considers miniaturised organ technology toevaluate the safety and efficacy of medicines and reduce our dependence on animaltesting. Testing drugs on miniaturised organs could also help account for systematicbiases in clinical trial populations. However, ethical concerns exist including patientconsent and the anonymisation of tissue donations. This article considers these keyconcerns and provides policy recommendations for the ethical and responsible use ofminiaturised organ technology.
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    The Role of Patients and Patient Activism in the Development of Long COVID Policy
    (CUSPE (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange)) McClymont, Gabrielle
    The COVID-19 pandemic has focused on the acute respiratory phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection which has killed over three million people globally [1]. Attention is now increasing on the serious long-term, multi-organ illness occurring after COVID-19 infection: Long Covid. Long Covid symptoms include: extreme fatigue; insomnia; headaches; lung, kidney and cardiac damage; and muscle and joint pain. These debilitating symptoms affect individuals who have had both mild and severe acute COVID-19 and are estimated to affect five million people globally. Long Covid awareness originated from Long Covid patients, known as long haulers, finding each other on social media and support groups. Long hauler patient activism has been the driving force behind Long Covid recognition, research and health policy development. Two support groups have played key roles: The Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group and The Long Covid Patient Support Group. These bodies have raised awareness of Long Covid in the media, and in academic and medical communities. They have also provided support for long haulers. The Body Politic COVID-19 Support Group produced a patient-led research report which catalysed research policy for Long Covid. Peer-reviewed research has revealed a diverse array of severe, multi-organ symptoms of Long Covid and has recommended a multi-disciplinary healthcare approach to Long Covid. This recommendation has been adopted by various governments and medical institutions, which have opened Long Covid clinics. Population morbidity from Long Covid is a rising challenge, requiring research, a multi-disciplinary healthcare approach and socio-economic support.
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    Dementia Implementation Plan Review: its role in dementia policy and future perspectives
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange (CUSPE)) Kobierskij, Bogdan
    This work reviews dementia policy in the UK using the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge 2020 Implementation Plan and the Phase 1 Review of the plan provided by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The proposed Implementation Plan is aimed at making the UK the best country in the world for dementia care and research. In order to achieve this goal, the plan concentrates on the four key aspects of the new dementia policy, which are risk reduction, health and care, awareness and social action, and research. This policy report is based on data provided by the DHSC and Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK). Here, the Implementation Plan and the Phase 1 Review are compared to illustrate the progress achieved so far, as well as to suggest recommendations. Whilst the commitments of the plan have been partially achieved, improvement is still required, including but not limited to improved risk awareness and patent protection policies.
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    Why it’s time to stop considering Evidence-Based Policy and Evidence-Based Medicine as analogous when it comes to Randomized Controlled Trials: An argument from Clinical Equipoise
    (CUSPE (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange)) Zemmel, Charlotte
    Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) play a large role in both Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) and Evidence-Based Policy (EBP). However, in this paper, I question whether the role of RCTs is directly analogous in the two movements. I centre my argument around the concept of ‘Clinical Equipoise’, a principle which states that an RCT in clinical research can only continue if there is ‘genuine uncertainty within the expert medical community about the preferred treatment’. By illustrating how there cannot be an equivalent ‘Policy Equipoise’ principle, I suggest that policymakers should proceed with caution when appropriating methods from EBM. I show how clinical practice and social policy rely on such different community structures that drawing analogies between EBM and EBP is misguided and can disadvantage Evidence-Based Policy-making.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Reimagining rare disease policies through a global lens
    (CUSPE (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange)) Lai, Austin
    An estimated 400 million individuals suffer from rare diseases globally. Tackling rare diseases has historically posed difficulties, including the lack of knowledge about their underlying causes, lack of resources for patients, and fundamental inefficiencies at multiple stages along the pipeline, from basic science discovery to clinical translation and diagnosis. The development of rare disorder therapeutics, often termed orphan drugs, faces a unique set of challenges in clinical trials: difficulties in recruiting patients, difficulties in following conventional clinical trial structure, as well as financial barriers for drug approval. Here, I argue for the creation of an international organisation for rare diseases to coordinate a shared global patient registry and standard for orphan drug approval. An initiative of such nature, with representation from experts and organisations in the science, medicine, and patient-support industries will assist in overcoming the present challenges, whilst accelerating progress and improving the experience during treatment of patients with rare disorders.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Rethinking Informed Consent in the Context of Big Data
    (CUSPE (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange)) Bruvere, Anna; Lovic, Victor
    A widely accepted method for addressing digital privacy concerns is the use of informed consent: asking users to agree to privacy policies and consent to the use of their personal data. This approach has come under strain with the emergence of “big data” in which large datasets are collected and analysed. This paper argues that since individuals do not understand or even read the privacy policies they agree to, informed consent ultimately fails to protect privacy. Following the work of Solon Barocas and Helen Nissenbaum, this paper proposes an updated definition of informed consent and argues that the responsibility of protecting privacy should be shifted from individuals to organisations.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Power and Responsibility: The Role of the Sciences in Reducing Social Inequality
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Nelson, Sarah; Zardilis, Argyris; Nelson, Sarah [0000-0002-7820-165X]
    We explore the role of scientists in reducing social inequality through policy advice in conversation with Professors Danny Dorling and Andrew Stirling. Providing unbiased advice requires careful consideration of the implicit power imbalances in policymaking and the internalised inequality within the scientific discipline itself. Professors Stirling and Dorling explain the causes and effects of the science-policy dynamic, and propose strategies to improve science advising and to address the underlying issues within scientific research.
  • ItemPublished versionOpen Access
    Communicating Climate Change Beyond Western Societies: A Tale of the Czech Republic and India
    (CUSPE (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange)) Sabherwal, Anandita; Kácha, Ondrej
    Despite being a global problem, climate change has disproportionately large impacts on non-Western countries in the form of extreme weather events, threats to food security, and displacement of communities. Climate change mitigation is therefore an immediate priority requiring both international and local efforts. Motivating public action is especially important because pro-climate policies require public mandate to be approved and implemented. Behavioural scientists have identified communication strategies that can effectively motivate public support for climate action. However, most of this research has been conducted on Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Democratic (or WEIRD) populations, making it unclear if these strategies can be applied elsewhere. In this perspective, we discuss climate change communication strategies that have been developed on WEIRD samples. These include using partisan messengers, conveying social norms, and citing experts. We posit that these climate communication strategies developed in Western societies may not be applicable in other populations. We then consider the cases of two countries–the Czech Republic and India to discuss how context-specific insights about citizens’ priorities, concerns, and experiences with nature can be used to communicate climate change. We build on these case studies to propose INCLUDE, a framework that can be adopted by communicators such as policymakers, elected officials, scientists, and activists in non-WEIRD societies to develop effective climate communication strategies informed by context specific and culture-specific insights.
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    Socioeconomic impact of youth mental health disorders and abuse of substances in West and Central Africa
    (CUSPE (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange)) Cataldi, Rodrigo
    Mental health disorders and substance abuse are major causes of disability worldwide [1] and the leading causes of years lived with disability (YLDs) among all disease groups [2]. In particular, young children and adolescents (aged between 10 and 24 years) are deeply affected by this problem [3], with as many as 20% developing serious common disorders, such as depression and anxiety, or other severe illnesses like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and psychosis, as well as abuse of alcohol and other substances [4]. In sub-Saharan countries in Africa, key adverse conditions are known to increase the prevalence of mental illnesses and dramatically influence the abuse of legal and illegal drugs. Years of civil conflicts [5], gender-related prejudice, unemployment and poverty are major drivers that have contributed significantly to the rise of mental health diseases, hampering social development and decreasing the quality of life of children and adolescents [6, 7]. Moreover, childhood physical, emotional and sexual violence are also known to predispose children to mental health disorders [7, 8]. This article will discuss the prevalence of mental health disorders in the context of West and Central Africa (WCA), in particular their socioeconomic impact, the current efforts in mitigating such problems, and future foci in supporting children and adolescents in WCA.
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    International perspectives on mining rare earths: a case study in the Southern Jiangxi Province, China
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Barnes, Colin
    The international profile of rare earth elements (REEs) has increased rapidly in recent years—highlighted by their importance in a wide range of applications including lasers, wind turbines, medical equipment, mobile phones, cars, electrical vehicles and defence equipment. Given the increasing demand for these minerals for crucial uses within the ‘green economy’, securing supply to the major consumers of REEs is essential. At the international level, the current dominance of China in known reserves, REE based processing, industries and international trade strengthens the country’s importance in geopolitical terms. This article provides a background to REEs at the international level, focussing on mining REEs in southern Jiangxi province in south east China and highlights the upcoming challenges faced by the sector.