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Durham University

Research & business

Celebrating our brilliant researchers

(16 December 2020)

Our researchers are involved in some fascinating work that cuts across science, technology, history, and much more.

And we took a moment to recognise their world-class research at our recent Research Excellence Awards.

Moving molecules

Dr Paul McGonigal’s team looks at how molecules bend and change shape in different environments.

Paul’s academic expertise is strengthened by how he supports his research group. This hasn’t gone unrecognised and he won the best principal investigator at the awards.

Paul’s group continues to research how molecules react in complex environments, such as a biological cells, which could help us to test and discover new drugs in the future.

Historical petitions

International collaborations, published studies and successful funding bids won Dr Henry Miller the excellence in delivering research award.

Historian Henry has been studying the role of petitioning from the 18th century through to the modern day.

His most recent research looks at petitioning in 20th century Britain, and how the rise of digital platforms has influenced how and why we use petitions.

Airport security

Computer scientist Dr Qian Wang was recognised for his research which played a key role in air passenger safety.

Qian developed an algorithm that inserts 3D ‘fake’ forbidden items into luggage. The 3D imaging is used to train and assess airport screen operators to spot harmful items in passenger luggage.

In collaboration with security equipment company, Rapiscan, the new technology is now installed in scanners at Copenhagen and Palma de Mallorca airports.

Find out more

  • The Research in Excellence Awards follows Durham recently passing its eight year review of our HR Excellence in Research Awards.
  • The HR Research in Excellence awards are all about enhancing working conditions for researchers across Europe as set out in the European Charter and Code.
  • Read more about Paul’s research group and Henry
  • Find out more about studying with us.


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