The Conversation goes live in the UK

16 May 2013

The Conversation, a new journalism project that brings together academics and journalists to produce news, analysis and commentary for the public, has launched in the UK today.

It has already reshaped the media landscape in its two years in Australia. In the UK seven editors are now working with registered academics to deliver the smartest and most informed take on the events, discoveries and developments shaping our time.

Stephen Khan, the Editor, commented: “I’m delighted that on our first day some of the finest academics in the country already feature on our site.

“We will have more comment and analysis grounded in thorough research, as well as news stories sourced from the world’s leading academic institutions.

“We aim to deliver a journalism that is intelligent, engaging and most of all trustworthy.”

UK Project Director, Jonathan Hyams, added: “The breadth and quality of the content on our first day sets a high benchmark for us and the universities and funders and supporters who have helped us reach this point will I am sure feel a certain pride in seeing this come to fruition.”

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Andrew Jaspan, is in London for the launch. Interviewed by Steve Hewlett yesterday on BBC Radio 4’s Media Show, he said: “We are effectively creating a huge pipeline of information between the public and the university and research sector which has an enormous wealth of knowledge of research and expertise on every single subject.”

The site is updated twice each weekday. This morning it launched with coverage of the crisis engulfing the Prime Minister over Britain’s relationship with the European Union - following last night’s vote in the House of Commons, leading political scientist, Philip Cowley of the University of Nottingham, looks at the underlying issues facing David Cameron and the Conservative Party.

There is also an article by Dr Jenny Phillimore, who writes that contrary to what some politicians would have us believe, her recent research (funded by the Nuffield Foundation) shows that refugees' top priorities are speaking and writing English and accessing employment when reaching the UK.

Daniel Zadik, a geneticist at Leicester University, who asks: “Are you a Viking?” The answer is: Yes, probably.

Karen Helwig of Glasgow Caledonian University examines how the dramatic increase in the use of drugs such as anti-depressants may be having a severe impact on the behaviour of fish. Adrian Morley of Cardiff University discusses the persistent problem of food waste and ways in which it can be tackled.  

Background and funding

The Conversation UK is a not for profit company and registered charity based in London.

Thirteen UK universities have committed support to this UK pilot/Beta phase of The Conversation, along with The Wellcome Trust, The Nuffield Foundation, HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England), HEFCW (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales) and the Scottish Funding Council.

The 13 UK Founding Partner universities are: University of Aberdeen; University of Birmingham; University of Bristol; Cardiff University; City University London; Glasgow Caledonian University; University of Liverpool; the Open University; University of Salford; University of Sheffield; University of Surrey; University College London (UCL); and University of Warwick.

The Conversation is committed to the Open Access movement and publishes all content under Creative Commons.