In our weekly good news round-up, we feature three positive stories from across the week that showcase incredible innovation, significant breakthroughs, and exciting progress within the realms of healthcare, climate and sustainability, equity and inclusion, workplace wellbeing, social impact and more.

Here are our favourite positive stories of the week, 3 to 9 June, 2024.

 

1.  Exciting findings shared at world’s largest cancer conference

This week, the world’s largest cancer conference took place in Chicago which saw doctors, scientists and researchers share positive findings in vaccines, drug trials and AI.

The 2024 American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual conference featured more than 200 sessions focused on the theme, ‘The Art and Science of Cancer Care: From Comfort to Cure’.

Many success stories were shared, including the results of a trial of a world-first personalised mRNA cancer vaccine for melanoma, where patients were found to have a 49% lower risk of dying or the disease recurring after three years, of those who received the vaccine after having a stage 3 or 4 melanoma removed.

Read more of the story here.

LIVING WITH MELANOMA: Listen to our new podcast series.

Listen to episode one.

2. Wellbeing of school teachers boosted by a ban on after-work meetings and extended weekends

Simon Hart, the principal of Springwest Academy in Hounslow, west London, has introduced a number of “scalable, minimal cost” measures to help buck the trend on recruitment and retention, amid reports of record numbers of secondary school teachers leaving the profession.

The school has adopted an early finish on Fridays to allow staff to extend their weekends; a tea trolley service which provides free tea and coffee to staff, served by a member of the catering team, and an all-out ban on after-school meetings and emails. Simon’s also encouraged “random acts of kindness” among his staff, including gifting plants to colleagues.

A third of Springwest’s workforce has been there for a decade or more, and in-house surveys of 77 staff found 96% enjoyed working at the school, with 89% felt bosses were considerate of their wellbeing.

Read more on the story here.

3. Scientists ‘charge up’ activated charcoal as a means to absorb CO2

Scientists have landed on a new, energy-efficient and inexpensive method of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air.

A team at the University of Cambridge adopted a method that’s similar to charging a battery, in order to charge activated charcoal. The capture and storage of CO2 has been used as a way of reducing emissions that contribute to global warming.

Dr Alexander Forse, who directed the study, said capturing from the atmosphere was a “last resort”, but that it was something to investigate “given the scale of the climate emergency.”

Most materials currently used for CO2 capture from air need to be heated to temperatures as high as 900C (1,652F), however the charged charcoal ‘sponges’ only required heating to 90 to 100C, temperatures, which could be achieved using renewable electricity.

Read more of the story here.

Explore our upcoming programme

Engineering is everywhere. From agriculture to aerospace, from chemistry to construction, the profession makes up nearly a fifth of the UK workforce. Skilled engineers are also a cornerstone of our economy, fundamental to solving problems of today and tomorrow, and to achieving our net zero commitments. However, we are facing a shortage, driven by a combination of factors including an aging workforce and a general misunderstanding of the variety of compelling career options and opportunities within the sector.

Engineering: Today, Tomorrow & Beyond, featuring the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), will shine a light on the positive work in action across the spectrum of engineering specialties, raise awareness of the various possibilities in engineering careers and reinforce how critical the engineering profession is to achieving our sustainability goals.