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Durham University

Research & business

Latest Research

China-Durham partnership going from strength to strength

From archaeological excavations to business and teaching qualifications, we are proud to have extensive partnership links in China.

(14 Jun 2019) » More about China-Durham partnership going from strength to strength


From food flavourings to biofuels, metals are key

We all know that metals like iron and calcium are essential for a healthy body - but our pioneering scientists estimate that almost half of life’s processes depend upon various metals interacting with living cells.

(17 May 2019) » More about from food flavourings to biofuels, metals are key


‘Future innovator’ award for Durham student

A Durham student has picked up one of five ‘future innovator’ awards at the national Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Best of the Best awards.

(15 May 2019) » More about ‘Future innovator’ award for Durham student


Developing cheaper and more efficient solar power

Our scientists have helped to solve a puzzle that could lead to cheaper and more efficient solar power.

(13 May 2019) » More about Developing cheaper and more efficient solar power


Universities would be £4.5m poorer without chaplains

University chaplains play an important role in the lives of students of many different faiths and are believed to contribute around £4.5 million per year of volunteer labour to the UK Higher Education sector.

(9 May 2019) » More about universities would be £4.5m poorer without chaplains


Join the women in tech revolution

Did you know only 17% of the tech workforce is female? Or that out of the top 16 tech companies in the FTSE 100, there’s only one ethnic minority woman on the board?

TechUp Launch

(7 May 2019) » More about Join the women in tech revolution


Star award for dark matter research

A Durham astrophysicist has been named as a rising star of research and innovation for her work on the mysterious substance that makes up a large part of the universe.

(7 May 2019) » More about Star award for dark matter research


Students showcase research at Westminster

Our students have visited Parliament to show how technology normally used to explain the mysteries of the universe can create clearer X-ray images of humans.

(7 May 2019) » More about Students showcase research at Westminster


How to keep your bones strong

Think you should slow down as you get older? Think again!

(25 Apr 2019) » More about how to keep your bones strong


Online course brings Scottish soldiers project to the world

Durham University has launched an online archaeology course to give people around the world the chance to study one of its most captivating research projects, relating to the fate of the prisoners from the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.

(23 Apr 2019) » More about Online course brings Scottish soldiers project to the world


Top jobs still lack diversity and equality

Privately educated, white, male graduates are more likely to be recruited to senior roles and be paid higher wages by elite multinational firms, new research shows.

(18 Apr 2019) » More about top jobs still lack diversity and equality


Why elite cyclists should talk to astronauts

It is well known that the bones of astronauts can become weak from being in space. But did you know that elite cyclists can lose a similar amount of bone density during a racing season?

(2 Apr 2019) » More about Why elite cyclists should talk to astronauts


Saving coffee using space technology

We drink two billion cups of coffee every day – 95 million cups in the UK alone.

(29 Mar 2019) » More about Saving coffee using space technology


Improved housing in Africa could prevent disease

Housing in sub-Saharan Africa has dramatically improved and could help in the fight against diseases such as malaria.

(28 Mar 2019) » More about Improved housing in Africa could prevent disease


Ancient royal charter discovered in Durham

An ancient royal charter might not be what everyone expects to find when they come to work, but for one of our visiting fellows that’s exactly what happened.

(26 Mar 2019) » More about Ancient royal charter discovered in Durham


Making water more sustainable

Water is a precious and vital resource that is under threat from climate change and growing demands.

(21 Mar 2019) » More about Making water more sustainable


Tackling risks from outer space

Space is a risky place. Our planet faces a number of potential threats from asteroids and comets to the impact of space weather on vital technologies.

(19 Mar 2019) » More about Tackling risks from outer space


Plan to grow North’s chemicals sector

Did you know that the North of England’s research strengths in chemical and process industries could help to contribute more than £20billion to the UK economy over the next 20 years?

(18 Mar 2019) » More about Plan to grow North’s chemicals sector


Training the next generation of global problem solvers

Tropical diseases, water and food security, and flooding are some of the issues being tackled by our new training centre dedicated to global challenges.

(13 Mar 2019) » More about Training the next generation of global problem solvers


How to keep sleeping babies safe

How best to keep babies safe when they’re asleep has been a focus of research by our specialists for more than 20 years.

(11 Mar 2019) » More about How to keep sleeping babies safe


#BalanceforBetter: A royal celebration of Women, Peace and Security

Two of our leading researchers celebrated International Women’s Day at an event in Buckingham Palace to mark 20 years of Women, Peace and Security.

(8 Mar 2019) » More about #BalanceforBetter: A royal celebration of Women, Peace and Security


Durham professor appointed to UK’s Infected Blood Inquiry

A Durham University professor is giving her expertise to an Inquiry looking at how men, women and children in the UK received infected blood products.

(1 Mar 2019) » More about Durham professor appointed to UK’s Infected Blood Inquiry


Gambling apps encourage futile betting

Person using mobile phone

Low-value bets and video game-style play may make smartphone gambling apps seem like harmless fun. But could they be encouraging people to play even when it is no longer possible to win? 

(22 Feb 2019) » More about Gambling apps encourage futile betting


World top six ranking for space science

Durham University’s astrophysicists have been ranked joint sixth in the world for the quality and influence of their research in space science.

(19 Feb 2019) » More about World top six ranking for space science


Medieval thinking meets modern research

Image showing digital artwork of medieval understanding of the universe

Imagine being able to step back in time and see how a great mind of the past understood our world, or experience how food and drink tasted hundreds of years ago.

Well, research led by Durham University is allowing people to do just that. 

(15 Feb 2019) » More about Medieval thinking meets modern research


New Vice-Provost (Research) appointed

We are pleased to announce that Professor Colin Bain has been appointed as Vice-Provost (Research).

(14 Feb 2019) » More about the appointment of our new Vice-Provost (Research)


Should fish and chips portions be smaller?

Fish and chips in take-away box

Next time you go for your fish and chips, you might be able to choose your portion size.

(7 Feb 2019) » More about should fish and chips portions be smaller?


Does Santa need a passport?

We all know that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole. But what is his citizenship? Who collects taxes from the elves’ workshop? And how is this all being affected by climate change?

(19 Dec 2018) » More about does Santa need a passport?


Putting clean growth on the map

The Durham Energy Institute’s (DEI) work on geothermal energy has featured on an interactive map showcasing innovation across small businesses and organisations in the UK.

(17 Dec 2018) » More about Putting clean growth on the map


Bioenergy crops could damage biodiversity

Oil palm plantation

Increasing the use of bioenergy is seen as one of the most important ways in which countries could help to meet climate change targets. However, researchers are warning that this could be just as damaging for global biodiversity as climate change itself.

(11 Dec 2018) » More about Bioenergy crops could damage biodiversity


Festival drug checking can reduce drug-related harm

One of the biggest dangers for people who take illegal drugs at festivals is knowing what has been supplied to them – in terms of contents, strength and contaminants.

(9 Dec 2018) » More about Festival drug checking can reduce drug-related harm


Chimpanzees can sniff out strangers

Chimpanzees’ sense of smell is more sophisticated than we thought with a new study showing that our closest relatives use their noses to smell danger.

(24 Oct 2018) » More about Chimpanzees can sniff out strangers


Play with time at Oriental Museum exhibition

Yasmin and Florence Bird experiment with the When the Dust Settles artwork

Visitors to the Oriental Museum can explore the physics and philosophy of time at a new interactive exhibition.

(19 Oct 2018) » More about Play with time at Oriental Museum exhibition


Avalanche – making a deadly snowstorm

Explosives, snow and a car were used to trigger an avalanche in an episode of BBC2’s Horizon Programme to reveal more about the mystery behind this natural rollercoaster. The experiment was led by avalanche expert, Professor Jim McElwaine, from Durham University’s Earth Sciences department.

(18 Oct 2018) » More about Avalanche – making a deadly snowstorm


Astronomers identify far flung galaxies

Astronomers have captured a spectacular image of a massive galaxy cluster embedded among nearly thousands of previously unseen galaxies scattered across space and time.

Zooming onto the galaxy cluster Abell 370

(13 Sep 2018) » More about Astronomers identify far flung galaxies


North-South divide in chronic pain

England has a North-South ‘pain divide’, with a clear geographical split in the prevalence and intensity of chronic pain and the use of potentially addictive opioid pain killers, shows new research.

(12 Sep 2018) » More about North-South divide in chronic pain


Protecting against volcanic ash

A first of its kind study, led by Dr Claire Horwell of the Department of Earth Sciences and Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience, has found that industry-certified particle masks are most effective at protecting people from volcanic ash, whilst commonly used surgical masks offer less protection.

(11 Sep 2018) » More about Protecting against volcanic ash


Funding boost for Strategy delivery

Durham University has successfully secured £225 million of borrowing through a private placement.

(30 Aug 2018) » More about Funding boost for Strategy delivery


Earthquake research could improve seismic forecasts

The timing and size of three deadly earthquakes that struck Italy in 2016 may have been pre-determined, according to new research that could improve future earthquake forecasts.

(23 Aug 2018) » More about Earthquake research could improve seismic forecasts


Physicists reveal oldest galaxies

Some of the faintest satellite galaxies orbiting our own Milky Way galaxy are amongst the very first that formed in our Universe, physicists have found.

(17 Aug 2018) » More about Physicists reveal oldest galaxies


Outstanding partnership helps reduce power outages

Durham University and NM Group Knowledge Transfer Partnership: Vegetation Analytics

Power outages caused by trees falling on power lines are being reduced as a result of a research partnership involving a Durham University Research Fellow and an international company.

(17 Jul 2018) » More about Outstanding partnership helps reduce power outages


European dogs wiped out ancient American breeds

The arrival of Europeans to the Americas, beginning in the 15th Century, all but wiped out the dogs that had lived alongside native people on the continent for thousands of years, according to new research published in Science.

(6 Jul 2018) » More about European dogs wiped out ancient American breeds


Archaeologists reveal castle’s medieval secrets

Medieval mysteries, hidden beneath the grounds of a 900-year-old British castle, have been uncovered during a major archaeological excavation.

(3 Jul 2018) » More about Archaeologists reveal castle’s medieval secrets


Cataclysmic collision shaped Uranus’ evolution

Uranus was hit by a massive object roughly twice the size of Earth that caused the planet to tilt and could explain its freezing temperatures, according to new research.

(3 Jul 2018) » More about Cataclysmic collision shaped Uranus’ evolution


Honouring the physicists of the future

Durham University has honoured the next generation of scientists at its annual Schools Physicist of the Year awards.

(3 Jul 2018) » More about Honouring the physicists of the future


Understanding Antarctic ice sheet changes

The West Antarctic Ice Sheet was able to re-grow after shrinking but the process is not fast enough to combat the impact of today’s climate change, according to research involving Durham University.

(18 Jun 2018) » More about Understanding Antarctic ice sheet changes


Exhibition tells the story of 17th Century Scottish soldiers

The story of the Seventeenth Century Scottish soldiers, whose remains were discovered in two mass burial sites in Durham City in 2013, is the subject of a major new exhibition at Durham University’s Palace Green Library.

(11 Jun 2018) » More about Exhibition tells the story of 17th Century Scottish soldiers


Discovering how humans can see with sound

Lore and student Josefina wear earphones and talk into foam covered microphones

Human echolocation enables people to ‘see’ with their ears and build a picture of the world around them. The technique involves making sharp mouth clicks and then translating the sound reflected by surrounding objects into spatial information – a method also used by whales, dolphins and bats.

(5 Jun 2018) » More about discovering how humans can see with sound


Seventeenth Century Scottish soldiers reburied in Durham

The remains of Seventeenth Century Scottish soldiers, discovered during construction work at the University’s Palace Green Library in 2013, have been reburied in Durham City.

(18 May 2018) » More about Seventeenth Century Scottish soldiers reburied in Durham


Could a Multiverse be hospitable to life?

A Multiverse – where our Universe is only one of many – might not be as inhospitable to life as previously thought, according to new research.

Could a Multiverse be hospitable to life?

(14 May 2018) » More about Could a Multiverse be hospitable to life?


Research into manufacture of life-saving drug wins industry-sponsored award

Durham University chemists have won a national award for research that could increase the availability of an effective treatment for a strain of meningitis in less developed countries.

(10 Apr 2018) » More about Research into manufacture of life-saving drug wins industry-sponsored award


Dark matter might not be interactive after all

Astronomers are back in the dark about what dark matter might be, after new observations showed the mysterious substance may not be interacting with forces other than gravity after all.

(6 Apr 2018) » More about Dark matter might not be interactive after all


Grammar schools could be damaging to social mobility

Grammar schools are no better or worse than non-selective state schools in terms of attainment, but can be damaging to social mobility, according to new research by Durham University.

(27 Mar 2018) » More about grammar schools could be damaging to social mobility


Man-made earthquake risk reduced if fracking is 895m from faults

The risk of man-made earthquakes due to fracking is greatly reduced if high-pressure fluid injection used to crack underground rocks is 895m away from faults in the Earth’s crust, according to new research.

(28 Feb 2018) » More about Man-made earthquake risk reduced if fracking is 895m from faults


Neanderthals were artistic like modern humans, study suggests

Neanderthal Origin of Cave Art

Researchers have found the first major evidence that Neanderthals, rather than modern humans, created the world’s oldest known cave paintings – suggesting they may have had an artistic sense similar to our own.

(23 Feb 2018) » More about Neanderthals were artistic like modern humans, study suggests


UK fracking industry would need strict controls to minimise spill risk

Strict controls would be “a necessity” to minimise the risk of spills and leaks from any future UK shale gas industry, according to new research.

(15 Feb 2018) » More about UK fracking industry would need strict controls to minimise spill risk


International medal for surface scientist

Prof Jas Pal Badyal (r) receives the Chemical Research Society of India’s International Medal

A chemist whose research is helping to harvest clean drinking water and has waterproofed millions of mobile phones has been awarded a major international honour.

(30 Jan 2018) » More about International medal for surface scientist


Formation of human tissue to improve drug testing and reduce animal research

Professor Stefan Przyborski, Biosciences, Durham University

Innovative three dimensional (3D) cell culture technology is giving scientists the ability to grow realistic human tissues for more effective drug testing while reducing the need for animal research.

(18 Jan 2018) » More about Formation of human tissue to improve drug testing and reduce animal research


New image brings people face to face with Seventeenth Century Scottish soldier

The face of one of the Seventeenth Century Scottish soldiers who was imprisoned and died in Durham following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 has been revealed through a remarkable new digital reconstruction.

(14 Dec 2017) » More about New image brings people face to face with Seventeenth Century Scottish soldier


Schools could play a vital role to help prevent mental health problems in young people

More needs to be done to provide guidance and support in schools to prevent mental health problems in young people according to a new report.

(23 Nov 2017) » More about schools could play a vital role to help prevent mental health problems in young people


Illuminating the Universe

Durham University is one of the world’s leading centres for research into the origins and evolution of the Universe.

(14 Nov 2017) » More about Illuminating the Universe


Multi-million pound boost to help improve energy technology

A newly announced research centre will see Durham University join forces with two of North East England's other universities to help improve energy technology at an atomic level. 

(8 Nov 2017) » More about Multi-million pound boost to help improve energy technology


Durham Law School tackles unacceptable working practices

According to the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO), only one quarter of workers worldwide has a stable employment relationship.

(19 Oct 2017) » More about Durham Law School tackles unacceptable working practices


How telescope technology is helping treat heart disease

Research using space telescope technology that has ultimately led to better treatments for heart patients has won international recognition.

(17 Oct 2017) » More about how telescope technology is helping treat heart disease


Reformation Rebels: The surprising histories of Benedictine monks in exile

Monks in Motion

Sixteenth and seventeenth century Benedictine monks refused abstinence, died in duels, went off to war and spread illegal Catholic doctrine, a new study has revealed.

(31 Aug 2017) » More about Reformation Rebels: The surprising histories of Benedictine monks in exile


Calling time on the kissing bugs

They are known as ‘kissing bugs’ and they spread a disease that rarely makes the headlines but infects up to seven million people worldwide.

(21 Jul 2017) » More about calling time on the kissing bugs


Durham scientists play key role as construction starts on world’s largest telescope

Construction work has begun on the world’s largest visible to infrared telescope – and Durham University is playing a key role.

The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT)

(20 Jul 2017) » More about Durham scientists play key role as construction starts on world’s largest telescope


Women have to ‘prove they are sports fans’

Female sports fans struggle to be taken seriously and feel they are regarded as being less committed than male fans, according to research by Dr Stacey Pope, who answers some questions about her findings below.

(14 Jul 2017) » More about women have to ‘prove they are sports fans’


Durham appoints new Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global)

Durham University has appointed its first Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) following a competitive recruitment process. 

(6 Jul 2017) » More about Durham appoints new Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global)


Exploring geothermal energy potential

Researchers at the University’s Durham Energy Institute (DEI) are exploring the Earth’s geothermal energy potential

(4 Jul 2017) » More about Exploring geothermal energy potential


Little Cub gives astronomers rare chance to see galaxy demise

A primitive galaxy that could provide clues about the early Universe has been spotted by astronomers as it begins to be consumed by a gigantic neighbouring galaxy.

(4 Jul 2017) » More about Little Cub gives astronomers rare chance to see galaxy demise


Outstanding recognition for Durham University's scientists

Durham University’s outstanding achievements in science have been recognised with a series of awards.

(30 Jun 2017) » More about outstanding recognition for Durham University's scientists


From ashtrays full of cigarette butts to smoke-free environments

This week, it will be ten years since the smoking ban for enclosed workplaces in the UK came into force. Dr Andrew Russell from the Life of Breath research project takes a look at how things have changed.

(28 Jun 2017) » More about from ashtrays full of cigarette butts to smoke-free environments