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Topics and policy

New and emerging technology

As science expands our understanding of the world it can lead to the emergence of new technologies. These can bring huge benefits, but also challenges, as they change society’s relationship with the world. Scientists, developers and wider society must ensure that we maximise the benefits from new technologies whilst minimising these challenges.

Regulation is important here, but the research and development process is also key. Which technologies are explored, and how they develop, are decisions that shape and direct society. Therefore wider society must be involved in deciding how technologies develop and where research and development effort is focussed.

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Our analysis and advice

  • Geoengineering the climate

    A report which provides a detailed assessment of the various methods of geoengineering the climate and considers the potential efficiency and unintended consequences they may pose.

    Download the report

  • Sackler Forum: Trends in synthetic biology and gain of function and regulatory implications

    A summary of a meeting on synthetic biology and gain of function, held in partnership with the US National Academy of Sciences.

    Read the meeting report

  • Machine learning

    A new Royal Society project on machine learning to stimulate debate involving policy makers, industry and the wider publics.

    Discover more about Machine learning

  • Nanoscience and nanotechnologies

    A report conducted with the Royal Academy of Engineering into current and future developments in nanoscience and nanotechnologies and their impacts.

    Read the full report

  • Cybersecurity research

    This project aims to inform policymaking about cybersecurity research in the UK.

    Explore the project

  • Synthetic biology

    Investigating opportunities and challenges in the emerging field of synthetic biology.

    Explore the project

  • Brain waves

    This project investigates developments in neuroscience and their implications for society and public policy.

    Explore the project

Also of interest

In Verba blog

Fellows working in this area

Professor Peter Leadlay

Professor Peter Leadlay is a biochemist who combines techniques from molecular biology and protein chemistry to study structurally complex organic compounds with high biological activity.

He is Herchel Smith Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, and previously chaired the Royal Society’s project investigating ‘Synthetic Biology’.

Professor Rod Flower

Professor Rod Flower is a pharmacologist who made major advances in understanding how anti-inflammatory medicines exert their therapeutic effects.

He is interested in 'science and security issues' and chaired the Royal Society’s Scientific Aspects of International Security Committee and the 'Brain Waves' panel that produced the ‘Neuroscience, conflict and security’ report.