Lucie Peplow
Lucie Peplow
Manager, Society Marketing, Wiley

On September 25th, Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox will receive the Wiley and British Academy 2018 prize in Psychology - awarded for her outstanding empirical and methodological contributions to the study of infants.



We were delighted to be able to catch up with Sarah and find out why she loves being a researcher, what advice she would give to those starting in their careers and why she is proud to win this prize.


Q. What does winning the Wiley/British Academy prize in Psychology mean to you?


A. I was immensely proud to have been nominated for this prize, and to win means so much to me - both as a researcher and as a mother of two young boys who will, hopefully, eventually come to understand a little bit more about what I do! I am also really happy to have received this award given how much of my career has balanced theoretically-motivated research with methodological innovation in psychology.


Q. What advice would you give to your 20 year-old self?


A. I meet a lot of early career researchers and students who are incredibly anxious (as I was in their position) about their futures; in particular feeling like they had to have a cast-iron idea of their career intentions. I’d advise them - and my 20 year old self - to stop comparing yourself to everyone else and be happy with who you are in the present, be prepared to occasionally step into the unknown and grab opportunities for new experiences when they come; and don’t be scared to admit if your decisions are wrong and you need to revise your path ahead. 


Q. What made you choose to become a researcher?


A. While I loved my undergraduate dissertation working with families and researchers at the University of Reading, I didn’t know that this was what I wanted to do when I left university. I applied for dozens of jobs across a range of occupations before my mother encouraged me to apply for a job that she saw in a newspaper. Once I began working as a research assistant at Birkbeck I quickly grew to love the way research constantly evolves and to have the opportunity to learn new things alongside people so passionate about their work.


Q. How would you describe your research to your neighbor, to make them understand how it impacts their life?


A. It depends which neighbor I talk to! One has a son with autism and understands why finding early markers of autism is so important for guiding family support and improving community knowledge. For the many expectant parents in my village, my favorite thing to tell them is that we now understand that from their first breath of life their babies will recognize their mothers and fathers voice, and will be learning new things every day from the interactions they have with their parents.


Q. If you could change one thing, to improve your life as a researcher, what would it be?


A. To escape the tyranny of bulging inboxes and free up more time to have face to face meetings which are invaluable for sharing ideas and stimulating new research.


Q. What are the things you hope your research will fix?


A. I hope by optimizing research tools to reach socially disadvantaged communities, I can better understand the impact of risk on brain development - to tailor new interventions, and to effect policy change in education, health and foreign aid. 


Q. If you hadn’t become a researcher, what would you have become instead?


A. A farmer…. with an art studio!


Q. What is the most interesting thing you've read this week?


A. Robert McFarlane’s Landmarks.



Image Credit: Sarah Lloyd-Fox


    Lucie Peplow
Lucie Peplow
Manager, Society Marketing, Wiley


Congratulations to Dr Mirko Draca from the University of Warwick who has been awarded the 2018 Wiley/British Academy prize in Economics for his promising early-career work and particularly for his research on the effect of Chinese imports.


We were recently able to ask Mirko a few questions to find out more about why he loves being a researcher (and what career path he might’ve chosen as an alternative!), and why he is certain that economics research can and should influence policy decisions.


Q. What does winning the Wiley/British Academy prize in Economics mean to you?


A. It means that I've made a contribution to the UK academic economic community. I think that academic economists in the UK have done amazing work in areas of both theory and empirics. In particular, I think that the UK leads in the development and promotion of rigorous, evidence based policy – and it feels very satisfying to be a recognized part of this community.


Q. What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?


A. I'd advise on lots of time management and productivity hacks that took me too long to learn!


Q. What made you choose to become a researcher?


A. Intellectual curiosity and freedom - the opportunity to read, research, write and teach as a full-time job is a pleasure.


Q. How would you describe your research to your neighbor, to make them understand how it impacts their life?


A. The example I would give is my research on police and crime - where we have been able to demonstrate the impact of government cuts to police resources – these cuts directly affect everyone in society.  I'm also currently researching the economics of illegal drug markets and I hope that work will inform future policy.


Q. If you could change one thing, to improve your life as a researcher, what would it be?


A. Less administrative paperwork!


Q. What are the things you hope your research will fix?


A. I hope that my research on money in politics and emerging patterns of ideological polarization will help us understand and reform our current political institutions. 


Q. If you hadn’t become a researcher, what would you have become instead?


A. Easiest question ever - I would write and draw comic books.


Q. What is the most interesting thing you’ve read this week?


A. I recently came back to a speech by the writer Bruce Sterling about technology and the state of our political and social institutions from the 2016 SXSW festival. It's from early 2016 but despite our fast- moving times is still a very shrewd analysis of the era we're living through at the moment.



Image Credit: Dr Mirko Draca

    Claire O'Neill
Claire O'Neill
Library Services, Wiley

500 years ago, the Protestant Reformation was just beginning in Western Europe, explorers like Juan de Grijalva and Martin Fernandez de Encisco were publishing discoveries on the New World, the earliest printed use of the plus and minus signs for arithmetic was published and a small group of physicians were granted a royal charter that would change the medical world forever…


Happy 500th birthday, RCP!


That’s right; this month marks the 500th birthday of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the oldest medical college in London, delivering five centuries worth of progress, innovation and breakthroughs in the medical field.


So how did this small group of 16th-century physicians ultimately become a leading, global force in health and medicine? How does an institution not only survive but thrive after hundreds of years filled with epidemics, natural disasters, legal battles, world wars and continued industrial and technological disruption?


In honor and celebration of this monumental occasion, we’ve taken a look back at the RCP through the centuries to see just what it takes to make it to the big 5-0-0.


The 1500s

The Royal College of Physicians was founded on September 23, 1518 in response to a lack of regulation in the medical field. To combat “the quacks” and impose consequences on malpractice, the small group of leading physicians secured a royal charter from King Henry VIII to grant licenses to those with actual credentials and to punish unqualified practitioners.


In 1523, an Act of Parliament expanded their reach to all of England and the premises of the college were settled. The first official committee was created in 1555 and meeting recordings began. Just 10 years later, the RCP received the right to collect four bodies of hanged criminals every year for anatomy lessons and studies. The College was officially on the medical map, and began conducting research as a growing institution.


1600s Image - RCP.JPGThe 1600s

The first few decades of the 17th century showed promise for the young RCP.


Esteemed RCP fellow William Harvey started delivering the College’s famous anatomy lectures and in 1628 published his groundbreaking theory on the circulation of blood. Through a series of experiments, Harvey demonstrated that the heart is a pump, pushing the blood through the body with every beat. The findings were a radical departure from the prevailing belief that the lungs were responsible for blood circulation.


But, in 1665, the RCP’s fate took a turn. After fleeing London due to a devastating outbreak of the plague, RCP members returned to the College’s premises to find the office robbed, with all its valuables gone. Not even a year later, the Great Fire of London destroyed the College’s premises completely, along with most of its library’s content and official records. Despite these sizable setbacks, the RCP persevered and built a new home in 1674 to continue its research.


The 1700s

This century brought another set of distinct challenges to the College in addition to groundbreaking advances. First, in 1704 the College lost its monopoly on medical advice due to the expense of the fees and the rise of general practitioners and pharmacists. The general feeling of unrest continued as non-voting members of the College disrupted meetings and rioted against their lack of power.


However, these obstacles did not stop the College from advancing. In 1768, it published its first journal, Medical Transactions, with the aim of disseminating authoritative information on diseases and treatments to further the knowledge of the profession. This would mark the beginning of a long, successful future in publishing world-class medical content.

1800s Image - RCP.JPGThe 1800s

In the 19th century, RCP expertise was drawn upon by successive governments as long-overdue medical reforms were introduced, including the Medical Act of 1858. The Medical Act created the General Medical Council (GMC), which is now the regulator for the medical profession, taking over regulatory roles from many of the traditional medical institutions and directly impacting the RCP, which lost its regulatory role. The GMC also took over the pharmacopoeia, a list of medicinal drugs and their effects, previously published by the College, and published the list of approved drugs for use in medicines across England from then on.


In 1869, the College published the Nomenclature, a definitive classification of diseases, which remained the standard until the 1960 publication by the World Health Organization.


The 1900s

During the first four centuries of the RCP’s history, women were excluded from membership and struggled to gain a foothold in the medical profession. However, the 20th century marked a critical turning point; in 1909, the College began to include women, allowing them to sit for exams and become licensed practitioners.


Over the next several decades, opportunities continued to arise as women were officially invited to become fellows (voting members) in 1925. As the first female fellow, Helen Mackay was elected in 1934 and proceeded to change the global attitude towards infant feeding, and became an authority on anemia of dietetic origin in childhood. Many years later, Dame Margaret Turner-Warwick, one of the world’s leading thoracic physicians, was appointed as the first female president of the Royal College of Physicians in 1989.


The 20th century also marked a pivotal shift for the College as it started to assume an “active voice” in the community; this was a notable retreat from its historic impartiality that declined to offer any public advice on matters of health. This was exemplified in the RCP’s 1962 publication Smoking and health, a groundbreaking study that detailed the dangers of smoking. While this would hardly appear earth shattering to us in 2018, smoking was a hugely popular habit at the time and the claim that cigarettes were linked to cancer was received with skepticism. As the tobacco industry was also a major source of employment and revenue for the government, it is hardly surprising that the report was met with varying degrees of acceptance.


In spite of this backlash, the evidence-based report proved to be highly influential, selling over 33,000 copies and ultimately leading to a decrease in cigarette sales over time. Today, the RCP’s Tobacco Advisory Group continues to investigate and disseminate the harmful impact of smoking.


2000s Image RCP.JPGThe 2000s

The RCP continues to exert its influence in the medical field, with the first two decades of the 21st century marked by the publication of several critical studies and reports. Published in 2010, the Passive smoking and children report led to a ban on smoking in enclosed spaces. In 2013, the Future hospital: caring for medical patients report, together with the Future Hospital Commission, addressed growing concerns about the standards of care currently seen in hospitals and made recommendations for providing patients with the safe, high-quality, sustainable care that they deserve.


In addition to other notable publications, these reports have led to a number of proposals and responses in the medical community, demonstrating the RCP’s continued influence and authority on public health.



With 500 years under its belt, the RCP has created a new charter this year “to reaffirm the commitment made by physicians to provide the highest standards of patient care; train, develop and support doctors; act as leaders; and promote good health and prevention of ill health.” The RCP now has 34,000 members in 33 specialties.


So how does a society that has persevered through five centuries of both challenges and innovation celebrate its 500th anniversary? Over the next several months, the RCP will be hosting special events to highlight its fascinating past, thriving present and exciting future. Celebrations include open houses, exhibitions of collections, informative lectures, study tours and extended museum hours.


Happy anniversary to the Royal College of Physicians! We can’t wait to see what the next 500 years will bring.


To learn more about the RCP’s incredible history and explore its extraordinary collections, visit The Royal College of Physicians: a Wiley Digital Archives Collection.


Image Credit: Claire O'Neill

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