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Cambridge Journal of Science and Policy


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  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Shifting Shores: Policy Recommendations for Sustainable and Equitable Insurance Markets in a Changing Climate - A Florida Case Study
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Larson Mohr, Kevin; Turner, Georgia [0000-0001-8306-8454]
    This paper delves into the challenges confronting Florida's property insurance market due to climate change impacts, emphasizing the need for policies that champion resilience and adaptation. Through rigorous literature review and analysis, this paper delineates the crucial components for crafting such policies, encompassing climate adaptation measures, financial incentives for risk reduction, and equity considerations. Drawing from these, the paper proposes policy recommendations, offering insights for other coastal regions grappling with analogous risks.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Optimising Recycling Policy in the UK: The UK’s Deposit Return Scheme
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Kükenthal, Vanessa Charlotte; Mitchell, Ben; Mounzer, Yasmin; Rtabi, Abla; Turner, Georgia [0000-0001-8306-8454]
    A Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is a system where a deposit fee is charged at the point of purchase of a product, typically a beverage container, which is then refunded upon its return. The aim is to encourage consumers to shift from a disposable culture to a circular economy model that promotes the collection, recycling, and reuse of packaging materials. By increasing collection rates, DRSs also aim to address issues of litter and pollution associated with beverage packaging. The success of such schemes depends on identifying the optimal deposit fee to create an effective financial incentive without increasing the initial purchase price more than is necessary. The UK currently uses kerbside collection to gather and recycle beverage packaging, however Defra will launch a DRS in 2025 with an as of yet unspecified deposit fee (applying to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland). Scotland is launching a devolved scheme in August 2023 which will use a deposit fee of 20p. These schemes need appropriate deposit fee values to reach their collection targets. To this end, this paper presents appropriate deposit values for glass, plastic, and can beverage containers, based on an analysis of the influence of deposit values on consumers' willingness to return beverage packaging. Using a single-bounded dichotomous choice model and a probit regression, consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for not returning containers is investigated. Results are controlled for socio-demographic and habitual impacts. The expected WTP equals £0.17, £0.19, and £0.19 for glass, plastic, and cans, with upper confidence bounds of £0.21, £0.25, and £0.25 respectively. The study also found that the most important barriers to the DRS are the lack of space in people’s homes to store the containers and the disbelief in the overall recycling system. Therefore, for effective operation and adherence to the precautionary principle, this study recommends that the deposit management organisation should implement a flexible deposit value higher than £0.21 for glass bottles, £0.25 for plastic bottles, and £0.25 for cans. The findings of this review can inform the implementation of the planned beverage container DRS in the UK and help ensure its success in increasing collection rates and promoting a sustainable circular economy model.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    Do smart city solutions promote citizens’ health and wellbeing? An evaluation and case studies of smart healthcare services in the United States
    (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange) Luo, Bingyu; Turner, Georgia [0000-0001-8306-8454]
    Healthcare is an important component of public welfare but is under huge pressure from public health challenges. A surging number of patients during recent pandemics (such as the Covid-19 pandemic) have exhausted medical resources and exceeded the admission capacity of medical institutions. In addition, the increasingly ageing population demands more medical facilities. As contemporary challenges in public health arise, ‘smart city’, a trending strategy that reinforces urban management with advanced institutional instruments and revolutionised technology, is framed as a solution that helps people tackle these problems. However, it is very unlikely that the existing limitations of the smart city solution can be justified as the proper answer to public health. Specifically, this article suggests that (1) smart health can only serve as a technological complement rather than a well-rounded solution to public health for the time being; (2) while smart healthcare services have empowered people in New York City, Chicago and Louisville with hope to enhance efficiency and promote wellbeing, there are constraints due to a lack of connection to a wider smart city plan, potential subjective and unreliable data sources, as well as the narrow range of application and limited impact; (3) the concerns around data security and privacy can impede smart health from being implemented, and smart health requires multi-disciplinary and multi-agent coordination. This article reveals the gap between existing proposed strategy and regional practices - taking New York City, Chicago and Louisville as case studies. Furthermore, it provides an evaluation of smart health, covering advantages, limitations, and possible directions for improvement.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.
  • ItemOpen AccessPublished version Peer-reviewed
    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.