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Independent research

Mobile devices have transformed how hundreds of millions of people manage their daily lives and run their businesses. Global adoption has been rapid compared with other technological developments in previous eras. Scientific reviews have made a vital contribution to establishing industry guidelines and standards.

Vodafone follows the results of these independent expert reviews to understand developments in scientific research related to mobile devices, base stations and health. We consider the opinions of panels commissioned by recognised national (see list below) or international health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

We support open debate on the body of published scientific evidence and will continue to share information on significant scientific developments.

From observation to publication – how scientists investigate

Scientific discovery is a process. Those discoveries pass through several phases: from hypothesis, through testing and analysis, to writing up results and publication. That publication may then be reviewed by others in a process known as peer review. In addition, other scientists will often try to replicate the study to see if the findings can be repeated.

This short animated film describes how this process works.

How we assess evidence

Scientists and public health officials from individual countries and global agencies such as WHO, assess risks to human health based on the entire body of evidence available at a given point in time, as opposed to using individual scientific studies.

Evidence is considered by panels of experts from many different scientific disciplines, to ensure all aspects are considered and that conclusions are a combined decision.

Vodafone reviews the research conducted into mobiles, base stations and health where it is:

  • designed, performed and reported independently;

  • conducted under the auspices of a national or international health agency by a panel of experts; and/or

  • published in peer-reviewed literature

Scientific research must always be carried out to very high, globally recognised scientific standards, including the use of best practice experimental procedures, and must be executed with integrity or the results can be misleading or could be misinterpreted. We publish links to the latest scientific research that meet these standards in an effort to ensure our customers and stakeholders can access the information easily.

Supporting research needs

While WHO sets priority areas for research, it is taken up by international, national and regional research programmes.

A number of new studies have contributed to ongoing dialogue and research, but there are still some gaps in scientific knowledge and more research is under way. This includes studies prioritised by WHO that monitor the health effects of the long-term use of mobiles and the use of mobiles by children – for example, the Mobi-Kids study.

Vodafone only funds research into mobiles, base stations and health through funding bodies such as national governments to ensure that the research remains independent of industry influence, including our own.

We also respond to requests from bodies conducting research by providing technical advice and information on the use of mobile devices. This helps to ensure scientists have access to the best quality information available. As an example, we responded to scientists from the international study COSMOS to provide information about call duration for their voluntary participants. The scientists analysed mobile device use and possible long-term effects on health. The information was supplied with due care and attention paid to data protection rules in each market and was in line with our Privacy Commitments.