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Research

Latest Research

Bank of England’s stress tests have ‘fatal flaws’

The Bank of England’s stress tests, which assess the financial resilience of UK banks, are described as ‘worse than useless’ in a new report by a Durham University academic.

(3 Aug 2016) » More about fatal flaws in stress tests by Bank of England


Whose martyr is it anyway? Unravelling a Benedictine mystery

The opening decades of the seventeenth century were far from harmonious for the English Catholic community. As differing clerical parties competed to strengthen their position they engaged in ‘martyr grabs’ - forcefully claiming Catholic martyrs as their own to help further their cause. 

(19 Aug 2016) » More about Whose martyr is it anyway? Unravelling a Benedictine mystery


Nanosize magnetic whirlpools could be the future of data storage

Could magnetic skyrmions hold the answer to better data storage?

The use of nanoscale magnetic whirlpools, known as magnetic skyrmions, to create novel and efficient ways to store data will be explored in a new £7M research programme led by Durham University.

(2 Aug 2016) » More about nanosize magnetic whirlpools


England’s 1966 World Cup victory – giving female fans a voice

As England celebrates the 50th anniversary of winning the World Cup, Dr Stacey Pope from the School of Applied Social Sciences discusses the impact this iconic moment in football history had on female fans.

(28 Jul 2016) » More about England’s 1966 World Cup victory – giving female fans a voice


Orangutan gives clues to the origins of human speech

Voice control in orangutan gives clues to early human speech

An orangutan called Rocky could provide the key to understanding how speech in humans evolved from the time of the ancestral great apes, according to a study led by Dr Adriano Lameira of Durham University and published in the journal Scientific Reports.

(27 Jul 2016) » More about Orangutan gives clues to the origins of human speech


Durham academic receives prestigious fellowship

Professor Pat Waugh from Durham University’s Department of English Studies has been elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in recognition of her outstanding contribution to research. Election to this prestigious body is a mark of distinction as only a very small number of scholars in any field are elected. 

(21 Jul 2016) » More about Durham academic receives prestigious fellowship


Ten years of transformational thinking

As the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) celebrates its ten year anniversary, Professor Veronica Strang, Director of the Institute, explains what the IAS strives to achieve, its impact over the last decade, and how it is celebrating this milestone year. 

(19 Jul 2016) » More about Ten years of transformational thinking


Evidence points to earliest Anglo-Saxon monastery

Experts from the Department of Archaeology and the crowd-funded archaeology platform DigVentures have found what they believe to be evidence of the earliest monastery on The Holy Island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland, UK.

(5 Jul 2016) » More about Evidence points to earliest Anglo-Saxon monastery


Galaxy Makers: How to make a galaxy

Galaxy Makers: How do you build a galaxy?

Ever wanted to create your own galaxy? Now scientists at Durham University’s world-leading Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) will be showing people how.

(4 Jul 2016) » More about Galaxy Makers: How to make a galaxy


It’s not easy being green – what colours tell us about galaxy evolution

Scientists may have answered why green galaxies are rare in our Universe and why their colour could reveal a troubled past. 

(30 Jun 2016) » More about It’s not easy being green – what colours tell us about galaxy evolution


Seeds of supermassive black holes could be revealed by gravitational waves

Gravitational waves captured by space-based detectors could help identify the origins of supermassive black holes, according to new computer simulations of the Universe.

Searching for the seeds of supermassive black holes

(27 Jun 2016) » More about Seeds of supermassive black holes could be revealed by gravitational waves


Research reveals pain and pleasure of sad music

Sad music can provide enjoyment, comfort or pain to different people, according to new research looking at the effects of melancholy songs on the emotions.

(15 Jun 2016) » More about research reveals pain and pleasure of sad music


What makes Jerusalem an enduring musical masterpiece?

This year marks the centenary of the hymn Jerusalem, which brought together the words of William Blake’s poem with music composed by Sir Hubert Parry. The hymn, with its rousing music and enduring popularity, has even been debated in Parliament for adoption as a national anthem for England. 

New Version of Jerusalem Goes Solo

(7 Jun 2016) » More about What makes Jerusalem an enduring musical masterpiece?


Durham rises in prestigious world rankings

The number of Durham University subjects in the top 50 of the prestigious QS World University Subject Rankings has more than doubled from three to seven.

Geography at Durham is ranked third in the world and Archaeology fifth, with Anthropology, Earth Sciences, English, History and Law also in the top 50.

Today's subject-specific rankings follow on from Durham achieving its highest ever world ranking in the overall QS league table published last year, where it rose more than 30 places to 61st in the world.

The strength across Durham's academic departments was further evidenced in May 2016, when 21 of Durham's 26 departments were ranked in the top 10 in the 2017 Guardian League Tables, with 11 ranked in the top 5. 

(22 Mar 2016) » More about Durham rises in prestigious world rankings


Durham student elected Chair of Commonwealth Youth Council

Durham postgraduate student Kishva Ambigapathy has been given the responsibility of engaging 1.2 billion of the world’s young people in global issues.

MSc student Kishva has been elected as the new Chair of the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), the largest and most diverse youth-led organisation in the world, representing young people in 53 Commonwealth countries.

For more information, you can read the full story and watch a short video on our postgraduate web pages

(25 Feb 2016)


Helping children recover from abuse

Many children suffering from the trauma of sexual abuse can benefit from a therapy using creative methods, according to a study by Durham and Bristol universities.

The therapy offered by the NSPCC, called Letting the Future In , gives children a chance to talk about their abuse experiences and to express themselves through activities such as painting, drawing and storytelling with a therapist.

(22 Feb 2016) » More about Helping children recover from abuse


Childhood environment and fertility

The environment girls grow up in could affect their fertility as adults, according to new research by the Department of Anthropology. Lead researcher, Professor Gillian Bentley explains more. 

Childhood environment and fertility

(17 Feb 2016) » More about Childhood environment and fertility


Can a computer generate a hit musical?

Technology and art are combining to create the world’s first computer generated musical.

Dr Nick Collins, in Durham University’s Department of Music, has developed a computer composition system that produces musical scores after being fed the ingredients that make a successful show tune.

Beyond the Fence

(15 Feb 2016) » More about Can a computer generate a hit musical?


Business School appoints new Dean

Professor Susan Hart

Professor Susan Hart has been appointed as the new Dean of Durham University Business School following a competitive recruitment process. She will take up her position in summer 2016. Professor Hart, currently Associate Deputy Principal at the University of Strathclyde, will succeed Professor Rob Dixon, Dean since 2008.

(10 Feb 2016) » More about Business School appoints new Dean


Folk tales are older than you think

Beauty and The Beast

Many folktales can be traced back to prehistoric populations that existed thousands of years ago, according to research which has attracted media attention across the globe. Co-author of the study, Dr Jamie Tehrani from the Department of Anthropology explains more. 

(4 Feb 2016) » More about Folk tales are older than you think


Putting soil health on the political agenda

Soil is a vital, and often overlooked, natural resource, helping to reduce flooding and mitigate climate change. Now, thanks in part to the work of a Durham University researcher, soil health is being discussed and reviewed in Westminster. 

World Soil's Day Event - A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself

(4 Feb 2016) » More about Putting soil health on the political agenda


Monitoring methane leaks from decommissioned oil and gas wells

Decommissioned oil and gas wells can leak methane into the atmosphere but contribute less of the gas to the air than agricultural use of the same land, according to a new study.

With the possible increase in the drilling of onshore gas wells in the UK as part of any potential shale gas exploitation it has become important to understand the risk of methane leaking into the atmosphere from decommissioned gas wells.

Methane leaks from decommissioned gas wells

(26 Jan 2016) » More about Monitoring methane leaks from decommissioned oil and gas wells


Public event in Durham - Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project

In September 2015, after extensive analysis, Durham University announced that the jumbled remains of at least 17 and up to 28 individuals, found in a mass grave behind the University’s Palace Green Library, were Scottish Soldiers who fought in the 1650 Battle of Dunbar.

(22 Jan 2016) » More about Public event in Durham - Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project


World's largest canyon?

The world's largest canyon may lie under the Antarctic ice sheet, according to analysis of satellite data by a team of scientists, led by Durham University.

Antarctic Canyons: Dr Stewart Jamieson

(22 Jan 2016) » More about World's largest canyon?


How do you breathe?

How do you breathe? Simple question, simple answer, right? But maybe it is not that straightforward, or at least, not for all of us.

Breathing is, of course, central to life and also closely linked to movement and activity, yet it mostly goes unnoticed. In some situations, it is the focus of our attention such as when we exercise, sing or practise yoga. 

The Life of Breath

(4 Jan 2016) » More about How do you breathe?


The online Bible at Christmas

Churches across the world are increasingly encouraging their congregations to keep their phones on, albeit in silent mode, to access their digital Bibles. One Bible app, YouVersion, is now installed on 200 million phones or tablets in 895 languages, and one of the main Bible search websites, BibleGateway, has 1.5 million regular users in the UK alone. 

Is the Bible now an integral part of our digital culture? Should it be regarded as a sacred text to be approached in sacred ways? Is the shift towards the online Bible changing the way we understand and use its content?

The online Bible at Christmas

(21 Dec 2015) » More about The online Bible at Christmas


Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come

So many modern-day Christmas traditions were Victorian innovations – and while the story that began the 2,000-year-old tradition of Christmas is of course the story of Christ’s nativity, no other story is now more closely associated with the festive season than Charles Dickens’s 1843 novella ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Simon James, Professor of Victorian Literature and Head of the Department of English Studies at Durham University, analyses the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come.

(17 Dec 2015) » More about Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come


Revealing Europe’s early “mega-sites”

Archaeologists have recreated and destroyed an experimental replica of a 6,000-year-old house to understand more about one of Europe’s earliest “mega-sites”.

The experiment is part of Durham University-led research which has been named in the World’s top 10 archaeology projects.

(16 Dec 2015) » More about Revealing Europe’s early “mega-sites”


Improving mobility in rural Africa

Research by Durham University is helping to improve mobility and access to transport for schoolchildren and the elderly in rural Africa.

The work, conducted in collaboration with local partners, has led to changes in policy to raise awareness of the difficulties children face when travelling to school and to provide better transport for the elderly.

(15 Dec 2015) » More about Improving mobility in rural Africa


Hearing Voices

Hearing voices is experienced by people with and without mental illness but is often associated with those who have schizophrenia or psychosis.

What is clear is that we still don’t fully understand what it is like to hear voices, why and how this experience arises, or what it means. 

A team of researchers at Durham University aims to better understand the experience of voice-hearing by looking at it from different academic perspectives and working with clinicians, mental health professionals and people who hear voices themselves.

Charles Fernyhough: Hearing the Voice

(9 Dec 2015) » More about Hearing Voices


Helping cities tackle climate change

Helping cities tackle climate change

United Nations (UN) guidelines to help cities meet the challenges of climate change have been drawn up with the help of Durham University expertise.

The Guiding Principles for City Climate Action Planning have been launched by UN Habitat at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-21) in Paris.

(8 Dec 2015) » More about Helping cities tackle climate change


Investigating the effects of volcanoes on climate

Researchers investigating the potential impact of volcanic eruptions on climate in the world’s polar regions have concluded that they could have a destabilising effect on ice sheets.

The Durham University team found that massive volcanic eruptions could potentially cause localised warming in Antarctica and Greenland.

Investigating the effect of volcanoes on climate

(30 Nov 2015) » More about Investigating the effects of volcanoes on climate


Antarctica's role in climate change

Antarctica has long captured people’s imagination – from early explorers wanting to fill in the blank spaces on their maps to scientists today investigating the region’s response to climate change. 

As the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are one of the dominant contributors to sea level rise, the cold region is crucial in predicting how sea level changes in the future, according to scientists at Durham University.

Antarctica: Explorers, Heroes, Scientists

(26 Nov 2015) » More about Antarctica's role in climate change


Shedding light on the Universe

Research by Durham University into the origins, evolution and understanding of the Universe has lit up one of the world’s most iconic buildings.

Stunning images of the cosmos were projected on to Durham Cathedral, on the City’s World Heritage Site, as part of Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival, from Thursday 12 to Sunday 15 November.

(12 Nov 2015) » More about Shedding light on the Universe


Global leader in social sciences

Durham University has been recognised as a global leader in Social Sciences and is now in the top 50 in the world for the subject area according to the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World Rankings subject league tables.

The University has climbed 20 places to 36th in the rankings demonstrating its strength in social sciences research and teaching.

(5 Nov 2015) » More about Global leader in social sciences


Durham's free thinkers debate tearing up the rule book

BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival

Are rules made to be broken? Is progress dependent on breaking the rules or should the past be used to help inform and guide the future? 

(4 Nov 2015) » More about Durham's free thinkers debate tearing up the rule book


Helping people with partial blindness

Award-winning research by psychologists at Durham University has led to the development of a new app to help with the rehabilitation of people with partial visual loss following brain injury.

Durham Reading and Exploration (DREX)

(3 Nov 2015) » More about Helping people with partial blindness


How do you rest?

The British public are being invited to share their experiences of rest as part of a national ‘Rest Test’.

Hubbub - Transforming how we understand rest

(3 Nov 2015) » More about How do you rest?


Rare medieval texts going online

Britain’s best preserved medieval and Renaissance monastic library is going online.

Durham University and Durham Cathedral are collaborating on a project which is opening up new research opportunities into the nationally renowned collection of medieval texts.

Durham Priory Library Recreated

(28 Oct 2015) » More about Rare medieval texts going online


Evaluating interdisciplinary research

Evaluating interdisciplinary research

A new practical guide on how to evaluate interdisciplinary research will be officially launched by Durham University this week, aimed at providing much needed evaluation methods for research that crosses disciplines.

The collaborative project, led by Durham’s Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), involving the UK’s funding bodies, the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) and experts from other universities, has resulted in a comprehensive guide for reviewers, called Evaluating Interdisciplinary Research: a practical guide.

(15 Oct 2015) » More about Evaluating interdisciplinary research


Durham excels in Arts and Humanities

Durham University has been recognised as a global leader in Arts and Humanities, rising six places to 28th in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings subject league tables. 

This success builds on the QS World University Rankings 2015-16 in which Durham was ranked 44th in the world for Arts and Humanities. 

What value is Arts and Humanities research?

(12 Oct 2015) » More about Durham excels in Arts and Humanities


Durham soars in latest world university rankings

Durham University has further enhanced its position as one of the world’s leading universities. Following on from Durham University’s 13 place rise to 70th in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16 in September 2015, the University has also achieved a 20 place rise in the THE World University Rankings subject league tables for Social Sciences, to 36th in the world, entering the top 50 for the first time in this subject league table.

These rises follow the recent publication of the QS World University Rankings 2015-16 which saw Durham rise 31 places to 61st in the world – the University’s highest ever position in the world league tables.

Find out more on Durham’s achievement in the THE World University Rankings and Subject League Tables.

(30 Sep 2015)


Bigger role for pharmacies

Pharmacies could be key to tackling health inequalities in England as Durham University research shows the vast majority of citizens live within easy walking distance of one.

Community pharmacies could be key to tackling health inequalities

(25 Sep 2015) » More about Pharmacies could be key to tackling health inequalities in England as Durham University research shows the vast majority of citizens live within easy walking distance of one.


Fusion energy could be the future

Fusion energy offers the tantalising possibility of clean, sustainable and almost limitless energy. But can it be an economically viable option?

Professor Damian Hampshire talks about fusion energy, suggesting it could be economically viable.

(20 Sep 2015) » More about Fusion energy could be the future


Low cost ethical loans for postgraduate study

Durham University has launched an innovative postgraduate loan product to help to attract the most talented students to further study after they finish their undergraduate degree.

FundED: Future Focussed Postgraduate Loans

(20 Sep 2015) » More about Low cost ethical loans for postgraduate study


Durham rises 31 places in world rankings

Durham rises 31 places in world rankings

Durham University has achieved its highest ever world ranking, rising more than 30 places to 61st in today’s QS World University Rankings 2015/16.

(15 Sep 2015) » More about Durham rises 31 places in world rankings


Skeletons found in mass graves are 17th Century Scottish soldiers

New analysis carried out on skeletons discovered in a centuries-old mass grave in Durham, UK, has led experts to conclude they are the remains of Scottish soldiers taken prisoner after the 1650 Battle of Dunbar.

(2 Sep 2015) » More about Skeletons found in mass graves are 17th Century Scottish soldiers


Durham secures 5th in Good University Guide

Durham University is ranked 5th in the UK according to the Good University Guide 2016, an improvement of one place from the previous year. Almost 90% of subjects were ranked in the top 10 with English ranked 1st. This latest ranking follows the rise of 31 places in the QS World University Rankings 2015/16 - which placed Durham 61st globally - consolidating its position as one of the world’s leading universities.

(1 Sep 2015) » More about Durham University is ranked 5th in the UK according to the Good University Guide 2016, an improvement of one place from the previous year.


Professor Stuart Corbridge starts as Vice-Chancellor and Warden

Professor Stuart Corbridge takes up his new role as Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University on 1 September.

(1 Sep 2015) » More about Professor Stuart Corbridge starts as Vice-Chancellor and Warden


International focus on Magna Carta exhibition

Eight hundred years on from when it was first written, the enduring legacy of one of the world’s most important documents lives on.

Dr Christian Liddy and Canon Rosalind Brown talk about the significance of the Magna Carta.

(31 Aug 2015) » More about International focus on Magna Carta exhibition


Is there life out there?

Humans have long wondered: “Are we alone in the Universe?”

After all, the Earth is just one planet in one galaxy among hundreds of billions that exist across the cosmos.

 

Dr Pratika Dayal asks if there is life out there

(31 Aug 2015) » More about Is there life out there?


Understanding landslide risk in post-earthquake Nepal

In April 2015 parts of Nepal were devastated by an intense earthquake and significant aftershocks. But the danger to human life and livelihoods doesn’t end when the ground stops shaking. Earthquake-triggered landslides present an immediate and long-term threat in mountain environments, compounding the difficulties for those affected.

Developing early warning systems for vulnerable communities: Research at Durham University

(31 Aug 2015) » More about Understanding landslide risk in post-earthquake Nepal