Editor of the Year award
I was delighted to win Editor of the Year at the Association of British Science Writers awards in 2022. This was for my work as Chief Magazine Editor for Nature, leading the team of 65+ people who produce thought-leading journalism and opinion articles for one of the world’s leading science journals. I set the vision and strategic direction for all our magazine content.
What we do is truly a team effort, and it’s always been a privilege to work with Nature’s talented reporters and editors. My role was to set up the conditions and direction under which they could thrive.
Here are just a few of the achievements of the team in 2021:
- We published >2600 high-impact news, features, opinion and multimedia items.
- We grew our global reach: online, we reached 6.2 million unique page views per month in 2021, up from 4 million in 2019.
- We were shortlisted for or won 20 international awards for journalism, multimedia and design.
- I led the team during the COVID pandemic, setting the strategy to best serve readers in a global health crisis, including to always offer accuracy, authority and depth.
- I fought for funding for a new diversity-focused news internship, which we launched in 2021.
- We completed a project to build an impact tracker, a tool and database to track the real world influence of our journalism and opinion e.g. when articles change policy or funding. In 2019, I had led a successful pitch to the Google digital news innovation fund for the €430K project.
The picture above shows me with broadcaster Vivienne Parry (left), who presented the awards, and Sarah Richardson (right), who also won an Editor of the Year award for her work on Research Professional News.
What to Believe – my new book
I’m starting on a new book, provisionally called What to Believe, to be published by Princeton University Press.
The book will tell the story of how multiple disciplines have embraced the use of rigorous research evidence over the last few decades – from evidence-based medicine, to policy, education, conservation and more.
It will hopefully be a guidebook to anyone navigating complex evidence to make decisions in their lives. It’s a good time right now to look at how we use and misuse evidence (see: pandemic).
I’m excited & very daunted to start on a new project!
Nature at 150 lectures
This year, Nature celebrates its 150th anniversary. As part of this I was lucky enough to be invited to give a public lecture at the University of Dunedin in New Zealand, which was also marking its 150th anniversary.
The university was hosting the 1869 Conference and Heritage festival, focused on an era when sciences and humanities were flourishing. It was a real honour to be part of this festival. I spoke about Nature at 150: Past, present and future of a science journal.
Two months later, I also spoke about Nature‘s history at an event to mark our anniversary in Beijing, which was attended by around 200 Wechat followers, scientists and science stakeholders. These are a couple of pictures from a really rewarding day.
TED Summit 2019
I attended the TEDSummit 2019 in Edinburgh from July 21-25, as part of the Speaker community – people who’ve previously given a TED talk.
I also gave a mini-TED talk to that group – and ran a workshop – about how we use evidence (or not) in making important decisions in our lives. It was fantastic and useful experience, and wonderful to meet so many former speakers.
2018 talks and events
On March 5th, I’m delighted to be taking part in the Chief Scientific Officer’s annual conference at the Royal Society in London. The panel is titled Why Data Matters, and will be focusing on the value and benefits of cohort and population based studies.
The whole event spans 5-6 March and is described as ‘the flagship event for healthcare scientists and those working in science in health’. I’m really happy to take part in this conference, which is aimed at inspiring scientists in the NHS and will be exploring why science and data matter and are integral to the future of the NHS.
I’m giving a keynote lecture at the annual meeting of The Neonatal Society on Thursday 22 March at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. The Neonatal Society is one of the most longstanding paediatric research societies worldwide, founded in 1959. The talk will be: The Life Project: How 70 years of data from the British Birth Cohorts changed health and social policy”.
60th birthday of 1958 birth cohort
The 1958 birth cohort, which I wrote about in my book, will turn 60 in March 2018. It’s an amazing milestone for the study and its participants and the Centre for Longitudinal Studies is organising a conference (60 Years of our Lives) on 8 and 9 March to celebrate this anniversary.
The meeting is mainly targeted at scientists and will present current work using cohort and longitudinal data. I’ll have the pleasure of moderating a panel with key researchers from the study, which is known as the National Child Development Study (NCDS). The researchers running the study are also putting together a book to mark the birthday for the cohort members. Happy birthday!
British Medical Association awards
My book The Life Project was Highly Commended at the British Medical Association medical book awards 2017, in the popular medicine category. It was a real honour to be shortlisted, and a pleasure to attend the ceremony on 11 September.
Women’s Forum Global Meeting
I’ll be speaking at the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Paris, 5-6 October 2017. I’m taking part in a session about E-health (Health delivery to underserved groups) with a roster of excellent speakers, and we’ll be tackling issues around inequality that I explored to some extent in The Life Project. The meeting as a whole is subtitled ‘Daring to Lead in a Disrupted World’ and looks to be a really thought-provoking conference.
Science for the People radio interview
In June, I was interviewed about The Life Project on Science for the People, a syndicated radio show and podcast that broadcasts weekly across North America. Listen to the interview.
My TED talk
In April I gave a TED talk to the TED meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The speakers were told beforehand that this was the ‘Mount Everest of public speaking’ and I can confirm this is true: a 12 minute memorised, filmed talk in front of a theatre of 2000 VIPs is pretty intense. I spoke about a strand from my book The Life Project: what the studies of British children have shown about how to do the best for our children.
The meeting and the talk were an incredible experience – and you can see how I did in early October, when the talk will be published on the TED.com site!