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Durham University

Research & business

That’s a wrap 2019

(2 January 2020)

As 2019 has now drawn to a close, we are taking the opportunity to look back and celebrate some of our highlights of the past year here at Durham, and here’s just a handful! We can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring.

1. World-class new facilities 

You can’t deny that the new Teaching and Learning Centre on South Road is looking pretty impressive! But it’s not just how it looks; inside students are enjoying the benefits of the latest digital learning technologies and the thoughtfully designed study spaces. The building opened for student use in September after a two year, £40 million construction project. If you haven’t visited already, take a look at this video for a glimpse of what’s inside.

2. Achieving Global Recognition

If we needed confirmation that Durham is a top global university, we’ve certainly had it this past year!

We were once again placed in the Top 100 in the QS World Rankings 2020. What’s more, a record 18 of the subjects we teach here at Durham made the World Top 100 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019, including ten which made the World Top 50.

We’ve done pretty well in the Times Higher Education subject rankings too, with Arts and Humanities achieving their highest ever global rank, coming in at 27th.

To find out more about our latest rankings, see here.

3. Research Strength

We have always prided ourselves on the strength of our world-changing research. And that has never been truer than in 2019.

Five of our researchers were named as being among the world’s best, ranking in the Highly Cited Researchers 2019 list from the Web of Science Group. Their research spans from the origins of the universe to solutions to climate change.

Here is just a little snapshot of some of the ground-breaking research emerging from the three faculties of our historic university:

Our surface scientists have developed a unique coating for a mesh which could be used to mop up oil spills, helping clean up our oceans.

Our Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience has been helping women in Nepal have a greater say in how the risks around earthquakes are managed within communities. 

Meanwhile, deep in the archives of Ushaw College, there was the discovery of an Ancient Royal Charter dating to 1200, the first year of King John’s reign, a very rare and historically significant find.

4. International Partnerships

As a global University, this year we have continued to forge new relationships and build on our existing partnerships overseas.

In May, the relationship between the Palace Museum, the most important of China’s museums and cultural institutions, and our Archaeology Department was enriched through the second annual public ‘Palace Museum and Durham University Lecture Series’ and the annual ‘Conference on Studies in Chinese and World Archaeology’. The events were attended by scholars from The Palace Museum, Durham University, and key universities from across China. Read more about our partnerships in China here.

5. Community Celebrations

It’s been a year full of celebrations, with many happening for the first time here in Durham! Many in the community will have enjoyed our first-ever Summer in the City Festival, which showcased the wealth of talent in arts and music here in Durham.

In June we also held our first Community Fun Day, welcoming local families to enjoy live music and theatre, sports, dancing, hands-on science, arts and crafts, stalls, exhibitions and more.

Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival, returned to Durham in November, transforming Durham into a magical nocturnal cityscape with artworks created out of light. The festival attracted an estimated 165,000 visitors to the city.

We have also brought one of our most successful archaeology projects to life via a free online course. The six week course shows how we unravelled the fate of the prisoners from the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, after two mass graves were uncovered in Durham in 2015. Find out more here.

Looking ahead to 2020

And that brings 2019 to a spectacular close, but there’s plenty more to look forward to in 2020, here’s a little taster of what will be coming up:

The Sports and Wellbeing Park will reopen fully after a major £31million refurbishment and the construction on a new sports complex. The facility will enable us to compete at the highest level of British sport as well as providing a fantastic facility for our students, staff and the wider community.

The new Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science Building will open in for the academic year 2020/21 offering state of the art teaching and research spaces for both departments. It will also include an Enterprise Hub supporting the development of student start-ups in tech.

Our first new College in 14 years, South College, will open at Mount Oswald, as well as a new home for the existing community of John Snow College. The self-catered facilities will also include an events hall, gym, music practice rooms, a performance practice room, a Yoga/dance studio, a launderette and a faith room, and a Multi-Use Games Area. 

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