Summer is normally one of the quieter times at the Nuffield Council offices – (at least theoretically) a good time to clear inboxes, to-do lists and cupboards. A good time then, we thought, to carry out some improvement works on our website as we wanted it to better reflect the increasingly varied types of projects and activities that the Council has engaged in since we published our strategic plan in 2012.

As with many ‘redecoration’ projects it would be fair to say that what began with plans for a minor refresh quickly turned into a fairly comprehensive makeover.

Throughout July and August we’ve brushed up pages for our current work on involving children in clinical research, biological and health data, and scientific research culture. We’ve smartened up previous work sections, covering a wide range of topics from our first ever report on genetic screening published in 1993, to our latest on novel technologies that intervene in the brain, published last year. And, bearing in mind that our work doesn’t stop upon publication, we’ve aimed to make it quicker and easier to find all relevant bits relating to one topic: downloads, key recommendations, policy briefing papers and other relevant publications, news, blog posts - and more.

Planning ahead is another substantial chunk of what we do in a year, and we decided to build a more prominent future work section to shed some more light on, for example, how we choose what to work on (see also this previous blog post). We also wanted to give easier access to the many interesting discussion papers that have been written over the years to help us think through topics we might do further work on (have a look here).

We decided we needed to knock down some walls to build new and more visible sections for our work on promoting bioethics education and informing policy. In the process we re-discovered over 100 policy briefing papers and responses to public consultations relevant to our work and 8 sets of teaching resources including short audio resources on a wide range of topics and videos on the ethics of involving children in clinical research.

Last but not least, we had a tidy (or a window clean?) of the ‘About’ section to try to make sure it’s easy to find what’s useful to know about who we are and what we do. For example, is it straightforward enough to discover how the Council works? What our position is in the UK policy framework? How people can get involved in our work?

Refreshing and updating the content has been no small task, but it has been a useful reminder of the quality and quantity of work the Council has produced and the range of activities undertaken over the past 20-odd years. It was also a good way to discover what lurked in the less frequently updated nooks and crannies of our website (it was news to me, for example, that we worked with Ecsite-UK in 2005/06 on some workshops with young people - the notes of the interesting discussions are still here).

Now the new website is live, we would very much welcome any feedback you might have. Is there anything you find particularly helpful or unhelpful? Anything you can’t find? Please do let us know your thoughts!

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