Here we are at the end of British Science Week 2018, and our final blog. Throughout the week, we’ve explored some of our clients’ work in more detail, as well as looking at how the BBC’s Blue Planet II gave a much-needed PR boost to the world’s oceans.
It’s been a week of celebration across the UK, with the spotlight on the highly technical fields of work required to make our lives that little bit easier. There was also the sad news of Professor Stephen Hawking’s death; the outpouring of emotion from across the world reflected the extraordinary impact and influence this Great Brit had on a generation.
To round off the week, we’ve asked the TSP team, plus some of our clients, which scientific discovery from the last 12 months has excited or inspired them the most. Here are their responses!
- The MIT project has found a way to pull water from dry air using only the power of the sun. It’s been able to extract litres of water each day from conditions as low as just 20% humidity and could have a huge impact in areas that have no access to water.
- Oxford University ran a study that managed to restore partial sight to mice with retinitis pigmentosa, reprogramming remaining retinal nerve cells using gene therapy. These results will lead the way to human trials and, hopefully, the partial cure of the most common causes of blindness in both adults and children.
- In May and June 2017, the research ship Investigator voyaged to the depths of the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia, down to 4,000 metres. It collected over 1,000 different marine species, about one third of which were previously unknown to science.
- British scientists have been able to isolate different strains of Tuberculosis using genome sequencing. By swiftly identifying the species of the organism, medics can better predict which drugs it might be resistant to, making treatment more targeted. Two huge trends in healthcare research are apparent from this breakthrough: personalised medicine and drug resistance.
- Artificial intelligence research has made rapid progress in a wide variety of domains, from speech recognition and image classification, to genomics and drug discovery. In many cases, these are specialist systems that leverage enormous amounts of human expertise and data.
- February’s SpaceX Tesla Roadster launch was extraordinary. The car is predicted to reach the orbit of Mars in a couple of years and these ambitious projects and breakthrough technologies have the potential to change the world.
- The cure for a form of hereditary blindness called leber congenital amaurosis is the first gene therapy approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for an inherited disease. The treatment, called Luxturna, is a one-time virus dose that gets injected into a patient’s retina. The corrected gene in the virus taps out the flawed, blindness-inducing gene in the eye, and produces a key vision-producing protein that patients with the disease normally can’t. In clinical trials of the treatment, 13 out of 20 patients saw positive results.
- As the global demand for food continues to rise, the environmental sustainability of traditional meat proteins has been called into question. There’s so much exciting innovation around alternative sources of protein, including increases in use of plant-based protein, insects as protein sources and even laboratory grown meat. These innovations, along with continual improvements in the efficiency of conventional farming, are crucial for the planet to support a healthy, growing population.
We’d encourage you to ask yourself, your friends, family and colleagues the same question – it’s only when you take a step back and consider the true impact of science and technology that you can see why it’s important to preserve, celebrate, fund and encourage it. For us, and for future generations.
Here at The Scott Partnership, we’re passionate about science and the service we provide to our clients. If our BSW activity has sparked something for you, we’d love to hear from you! Email [email protected] or give us a call on +44 1477 539539.
By Georgia Smith, Senior Account Manager at The Scott Partnership.