Postal voting systems - where people vote from home prior to the election and return their ballot paper by mail - can discourage people from voting in the next election, according to recent European research which suggests that many strongly held ideas about voter behaviour during elections are plain wrong.
For some, social media may seem like it is just filled with selfies, gossip and videos of cats, but others are using it to tackle issues critical to our society such as the environment and mental health.
Bygone Asian cotton and porcelain trade routes could have spurred the consumption of luxury goods in Europe, researchers believe, while scientific cooperation with modern Asia is still leading to new technological advances.
Much of the focus in trade talks around the world at present is on regional deals, rather than global agreements. But researchers say the goal of multilateral pacts will remain in the medium and longer term, given the pressures of globalisation.
How should the welfare state evolve in the 21st century? Researchers are looking at everything from healthcare to immigration to design new systems fit for a post-crisis Europe that is facing challenges such as austerity economics, an ageing society and increased migration.
The recession, an ash cloud, floods, a food scandal or terrorist attacks; each event is different, but is it possible that they behave in a similar way? Social scientists are identifying characteristics of crises to help us prevent them from happening and respond when they occur.
It’s one of the mysteries that has confounded scientists for over a century – if you offer sick people fake pills and say it will help cure them, it often will. Now, researchers are working out exactly how the placebo effect operates in the brain and how it can be enhanced in order to harness its power in a new approach to treating disease.
Demonstrating safety and changes to city regulations are needed to integrate autonomous shuttles with current systems, say researchers.
Dr Olivia Roth talks about her research on the evolution of male pregnancy.
Prof. J Murray Roberts is carrying out a health check on the Atlantic.