We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Durham University News


Webinar series showcases world class research

(6 October 2020)

Some of the world’s leading academics are discussing their work in a series of webinars organised by Durham University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The series, Knowledge Across Borders, brings together researchers who are outstanding in their fields of expertise to stimulate new, creative and critical thinking, open up new perspectives across cultures, deepen collaboration and share fresh insights.

The webinars will cover areas such as palaeontology, astronomy and science and technology as well as addressing interdisciplinary challenges.

Leading palaeontologists

The first webinar featured leading palaeontologists, Professor David Harper (Durham University) and Professor Renbin Zhan (Chinese Academy of Sciences/Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology).

Titled ‘The first carnival of the animals: Causes and consequences of the diversification of Early Palaeozoic marine life’, they discussed how life has been evolving on our planet for some four billion years but for most of geological time life was microbial.

Based on their extensive research, the experts looked at how major biotic events such as the Cambrian Explosion, the Great Ordovician Biodiversification and the Late Ordovician Extinction changed the direction of life on Earth, established its resilience and initiated more modern marine ecosystems.


The Chinese Academy of Sciences is the national academy for the natural sciences in China and is the world's largest research organisation, comprising almost 60,000 researchers working across more than 100 research institutes, academies and universities.

Durham University is a world top 100 university and a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research based in historic Durham City in the UK.

Both Durham University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences are committed to conducting world-changing research at the forefront of science and technology for the benefit of society.

The two organisations already have a long-standing relationship with hundreds of research collaborations and joint working on scientific papers.

Future webinars

As part of the webinar series, we will be hosting online lectures from more of our researchers throughout the academic year.

The next webinar will feature distinguished experts, Professor Nancy Cartwright and Professor Tom McLeish. This will focus on creating knowledge across disciplinary boundaries and take place in December 2020.

All webinars will be recorded and available afterwards on YouTube.

Find out more

  • Watch this short video about our partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Take a look at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to find out more about their research
  • To find out more about research at Durham University, visit our research pages.

Events at Durham University

Check out our new What's On guide to keep up-to-date with dance, drama, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and much more.