skip to content

Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

 

Research

We want to ensure that evidence is communicated in the very clearest way possible, and so we undertake research into how people read and understand words and graphics, and how they make decisions based on factual information. This research underlies all our work below.

 

Collaborations and projects

We collaborate with people who want to present evidence in a balanced manner, either to professionals (such as medical professionals, policy-makers, legal practitioners) or to the general public.  We can help develop all kinds of communication material, from websites, printed materials or apps to researching whole new ways of working and language to help get messages across clearly and in a balanced way.  We also want to make any tools that we develop available to any other institutions that might find them helpful - perhaps translating them for international use, or re-using them to produce similar graphics from slightly different data sources.

We have recently launched a new version of the NHS Predict website that provides information for clinicians and patients making a decision about treatment options following surgery for breast cancer, in collaboration with Public Health England, colleagues here in Cambridge and at the University of Oxford. We are continuing to develop this site and expect to release added functionality, including potential harms of treatment options, by the end of 2018.

We are also working with colleagues in Cambridge to develop a similar site for men with prostate cancer, and with NHS Blood & Transplant to develop one to help clinicians and patients make decisions around organ transplant surgery.

This all feeds in to a general interest that we have in medical risk communication and informed consent.

In another project, we are working on best practice in reporting the results of genomic testing, in collaboration with the Sanger Institute, the NHS and the Association for Clinical Genomic Science.

 

Research

Although our work is predominantly translational, we do also carry out original research. We currently have two major research projects, one investigating how best to communicate uncertainty around facts without undermining trust or people's ability to make decisions; the other into ways to help the communication of evidence to help people make policy-level decisions (when the outcomes of different options affect different people in different ways).

 

Education

We are keen to support professionals who need to communicate evidence and risk as part of their job, and are working on providing CPD and other training materials for healthcare and legal professionals in risk communication (as part of shared decision-making in healthcare, and to help case-building with forensic and medical evidence in court). Our first two eLearning courses are on risk communication for GPs and for peri-operative specialists, produced in association with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare.

 

Working with the media

We are keen to help journalists report numerical evidence fairly, and to challenge badly presented or misleading statistics. We work with professional organisations to help provide training for journalists and others who work with the media, and also provide a service for those who need immediate assistance with a story involving numerical evidence. 

In order to help journalists communicate numbers in the news, we are developing a web app to help convert the numbers from academic papers into graphics and phrases that can be used in press releases and journalistic articles.

 

Rapid reviews of numbers in the news

We keep an eye on important stories in the media that involve quantitative evidence (or even evidence that we come across that we think SHOULD be in the media), and blog about it here: https://medium.com/wintoncentre

 

Advice for those with data to present

In order to help academics or others who have important quantitative evidence that they want to present clearly, we run 'clinics' to give relatively quick advice.

 

If you are interested in any of these services, then do get in touch at wintoncentre@maths.cam.ac.uk

Please note that we do not work in risk management or risk assessment, or on 'persuasive messaging' for which the end goal is changing people's behaviour. We also do not work in the area of finance.