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2013: Another productive year for TARG

13 January 2014

2013 was another great year for TARG. Here are the main news stories for the year.

In addition to publishing over 50 papers in academic journals in 2013, TARG members also gave media interviews about their work, won prizes, presented their results at conferences, were awarded large grants, and much more. Read on for details.


  • Research on plain cigarette packaging, conducted by Marcus Munafò and Olivia Maynard was included as evidence in the European Commission's Impact assessment of the Tobacco Products Directive.


  • A research paper by Charlotte Hardman, Jeff Brunstrom, Marcus Munafò and Peter Rogers was been selected as a Key Research Article in the most recent edition of the Psychology Progress series.


  • Jen Ware was invited to give a talk at a conference in Barcelona entitled "The genetic basis of nicotine addiction and its implications in the pharmacological treatment of smoking".
  • Olivia Maynard and Jen Ware also gave invited lectures for a UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (now UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies) MSc module on Tobacco Epidemiology in Nottingham.
  • Marcus Munafò’s research was cited in the Guardian as evidence to support the argument that scientific research is suffering from a communications crisis.
  • New TARG research found that encouraging young people at high-risk of criminal offending and delinquency to see happiness rather than anger in facial expressions results in a decrease in their levels of anger and aggression.


  • In Marcus Munafò discussed the importance of the Children of the 90s data-setin exploring the relationship between tobacco use and mental health problems like depression.
  • Kate Button and Marcus Munafò published an influential paper on statistical power in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience.
  • TARG members went to @Bristol Science Centre to talk to members of the public and to collect stimuli for upcoming experiments.


  • Funding was awarded for a large scheme known as SPHERE, which will develop home sensor systems to monitor the health and wellbeing of people living at home with a wide range of different health challenges.
  • Funding was also awarded for a new MRC university unit – the Integrative Epidemiology Unit – which will improve understanding of how lifestyle or environment causes disease, and develop new treatments.
  • May was a good month for research funding for TARG, with news of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies also receiving funding.
  • Marcus Munafò and Angela Attwood were selected to organise two large conferences in 2014.
  • Marcus Munafò wrote a blog post entitled 'Health technology assessment report finds computer and other electronic aids can help peolpe stop smoking'.
  • Olivia Maynard wrote a blog post entitled 'Why I applied for an internship at the Behavioural Insights Team'.
  • Marcus Munafò wrote a blog post entitled 'Shifting the Evidence'. 


  • Marcus Munafò and Sally Adams both wrote blogs for the Guardian, in addition to Suzi Gage’s permanent blog on the Guardian website.
  • Olivia Maynard and Marcus Munafò presented their research on cigarette packaging and alcohol consumption at a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology exhibition at the Houses of Parliament.
  • Marcus Munafò was instrumental in developing NICE guidelines on tobacco harm reduction.
  • Marcus Munafò and Ian Penton-Voak were awarded the 2013 British Association for Psychopharamcology/Cambridge Cognition Award.
  • Olivia Maynard discussed TARG research on standardised cigarette packaging on the BBC Sunday Politics programme.
  • Suzi Gage, Angela Attwood and Marcus Munafò each won British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP) awards.
  • Marcus Munafò wrote a blog post entitled 'Having confidence...'


  • Kate Button was awarded an NIHR School for Primary Care Research fellowship.
  • Olivia Maynard won the 'The Troscianko Prize for Outstanding Excellence in Presenting Research' at the annual School of Experimental Psychology annual conference.
  • Emma Howell ran a workshop at the Skirting Science event at Broadoak College in Weston on challenging gender stereotypes using social media.
  • Jen Ware was awarded a University Research Strategy Fund grant for a a pilot study, which aims to establish whether or not cannabis smokers self-regulate their exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the psychoactive chemicals present in cannabis.
  • Marcus Munafò wrote a blog post entitled 'Doubt is our product...'
  • Sally Adams wrote a blog post entitled 'One for the road? The hidden risks of roadside alcohol availability'
  • Suzi Gage spends 6 weeks with the BBC as a British Science Association Media Fellow, working on radio and writing articles for the BBC website


  • TARG Research Collaborator, Sally Adams attended a meeting at the Home Office regarding the Government’s proposal on the sale of alcohol at motorway service areas.
  • Sally Adams also became a board member of SRNT Europe.
  • Sally Adams wrote a blog post entitled 'Journey to the front of the lecture theatre'


  • Jen Ware was interviewed by the World Service Discovery programme to discuss the health implications of e-cigarettes and nicotine.
  • Marcus Munafò was featured in a Medical Research Council promotional video entitled '100 Years of Life Changing Discoveries', celebrating 100 years of research by the research council.
  • Jen Ware wrote a blog post entitled 'Conferencing in South America: A tale of cocaine, capuchins, cachaca and chupacabra'.



  • TARG members Suzi Gage and Kate Button were both on panels at Spot On 2013, a conference about how science is communicated and carried out online.


  • Sarah Griffiths spoke to school children about how scientists study the brain and mind as part of At-Bristol. Brain and Body themed school visit days.
  • Marcus Munafò published new research suggesting that increasing the subjectivity of the peer-review of academic papers may increase the quality and veracity of scientific research.
  • Amy Taylor, won second prize in the MRC Celebration of International Collaboration poster competition, for her work on the Consortium for Causal Analysis Research in Tobacco and Alcohol (CARTA).
  • Marcus Munafò, was appointed to fill the position of Editor-in-Chief of the journal ‘Nicotine & Tobacco Research’.
  • Amy Taylor wrote a blog post entitled 'MRC celebration of international collaboration'.
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