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Beginning at Durham, changing the world

(30 November 2020)

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Durham researchers, students and alumni do outstanding things that change the world. Here’s a few highlights from just the past few months…

Training dogs to sniff out Covid-19

Our bioscientists are working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Medical Detection Dogs to investigate whether sniffer dogs can be trained to detect Covid-19.

The trial has received UK Government funding and been praised by the Health Minister Lord Bethell, as reported in the Daily Mail.

During a visit to the project, the Duchess of Cornwall described it as ‘game-changing’, The Telegraph reported, and recently Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, was treated to a training demonstration at Paddington Station, London.

Pioneering mass testing for Covid-19

Continuing on the Covid-19 theme, we’ve been working with the UK Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and the University of Oxford to pioneer mass testing for Covid-19.

Hundreds of our students and staff have volunteered for the Lateral Flow Test programme, which involves a simple nostrils and tonsils swab and tells you whether you’re infectious in just 30 minutes.

Professor Jacqui Ramagge has spoken with the BBC, The Guardian and others about her belief that mass testing must be part of our response to the pandemic, before a vaccine is commonly available.

How should we respond to Covid-19?

Among those reflecting on how society should respond to the Covid-19 pandemic is Pope Francis, leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church.

He recently launched a new communication, a Papal Encyclical titled ‘Fratelli Tutti’, on the subject – and a Durham theologian was right there with him.

Dr Anna Rowlands appeared alongside the Pope at the Vatican City in Rome and in a televised address she spoke about the ‘spiritual discipline’ of the letter. Read more from Anna in Catholic Outlook.

Looking to nature to tackle climate change

Another major challenge facing the world today is climate change, and our researchers are tackling this head-on, too.

A report co-written by our geographers says England could run out of water by 2050 as a result of climate change and increased demand for new housing developments if we don’t act. They’ve made several recommendations for change, which you can read about here.

What’s your management style?

And on a slightly lighter note…. Is your boss more like David Brent from BBC’s The Office or Cruela de Vil from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians? Perhaps they’re a ‘hero boss’ like Iron Man or a ‘good boss’ like Dame Judi Dench’s ‘M’ in the James Bond films?

Research from our Business School suggests popular fiction has had more impact on modern business management than we realise. Take a look at the categories Dr Martyn Griffin identified and see which you’d like to be.

The Irish Times wondered how many bosses are ‘predatory and psychopathic’ like Gordon Gekko in Hollywood classic Wall Street.

Find out more

Durham University is a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting. We’re a university like no other.

  • Find out more about studying at Durham here.
  • Or, if you’re a researcher interested in furthering your career with us, click here.

We find it easy to be proud of the extraordinary people we have at Durham. We offer the inspiration, they achieve the outstanding. We invite you to join them.

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