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Durham University

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12 Stories to Remember from 2020: part 2

(4 January 2021)

Container of oil being poured

It’s been an extraordinary year. In the second in a two-part series, we review the second six of 12 Stories to Remember from 2020 – from celebrating a win for diversity in computer science, to discovering new ways to create biodiesel.

7. Finding new ways to kill TB

Dr Tim Blower co-led an international research team that found a new way to kill the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), using a toxin produced by the germ itself. The discovery could help develop new drugs to tackle TB, which remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases.

8. Enabling researchers to innovate in business

In August we announced our part, along with three other North East England universities, in a new £1.7m seed investment fund to help academic entrepreneurs turn their world-leading research into business opportunities. The Northern Accelerator fund is just one way we’ve been looking to support businesses through Covid-19 and beyond, and we’re excited to see its impact.

9. Women in tech revolution

We’ve been working hard throughout the year to make technology industries more accessible and drive up diversity. Our intake of female Computer Science students doubled and the TechUP Women project, which supports women retrain for a career in tech, won a Dynamite Award for diversity and inclusion.

10. Researching potential e-cigarette risk in pregnancy

October saw the release of another important piece of research, this time from our psychologists, who called for more awareness of the potential risks of e-cigarette use during pregnancy after they carried out the first known study into the effects of prenatal nicotine exposure on babies.

11. Easier way to create biodiesel developed

A team of experts also revealed a new way to turn the rubbish we throw away into chemicals that can help make fuel, medicines, fertilisers and biodegradable packaging. It’s low cost, efficient, and could be especially important in developing countries where diesel is the primary fuel for powering electricity generators.

12. One big thank you

Finally, we know that local charities and good causes have felt the impact of an incredibly challenging year, and that’s why we’d like to round up our 2020 review by applauding all of our inspiring students who continue to volunteer online and in-person around our region, and all those who have worked together to spread a little Christmas cheer

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