Comment »Posted on Sunday 7 June 2009 at 5:02 pm by Jacob Aron
In Health & Medicine, Science Policy, Weekly Roundup

New department for science

With all the political turmoil of the past week it may have slipped you by that the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) is no more. As part of Gordon Brown’s reshuffle, it will merge with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to become the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS).

What this means for science is unclear, though the government pledge that DBIS will “continue to invest in the UK’s world class science base and develop strategies for commercialising more of that science.” Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation in DIUS and now DBIS, stated that “The science ring-fence is safe and sound and the innovation agenda will further benefit from this move.”

Tetley: not everyone’s cup of tea

Tea makers Tetley have been banned from broadcasting an advert for green tea after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled against misleading health claims.

The advert shows a woman about to go for a run before discovering it is raining. Instead, she makes a cup of tea, with a voice-over stating “For an easy way to help look after yourself pick up Tetley Green Tea. It’s full of antioxidants.”

Whilst the ASA dismissed four viewer complaints that Tetley were trying to equate green tea with exercise, they did decide the company were trying to claim health benefits beyond mere hydration, and banned the advert.

Whilst it’s nice to see advertisers being taken to task, I do wish the ASA would show some consistency. Why is this not allowed, when Miracle Gro can advertise their organic compost as “100% chemical free”?

Tomorrow’s World, today

The classic BBC science magazine programme Tomorrow’s World is being reinvented as Bang Goes The Theory, “a new series that looks at how science shapes the world around us.”

Terrible, terrible name aside, I’m cautiously optimistic about this new programme. The presenters all seem to have backgrounds in science and science communication, and there is even on PhD, Dr Yan Wong. The editing of the trailer (linked above) makes it look like they are trying a little too hard to be stylish, but I will reserve judgement until the first episode is broadcast. Unfortunately I can’t tell you when that is, as the BBC continue their aversion to actually telling you when their programmes start – “late July” is the best we’ve got.


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