Van Mildert College hosts a wide range of research activities led mainly by members of the MCR and SCR but also relying heavily on visiting fellows, for example, those funded by IAS and COFUND programmes, and through links with centres, departments and institutes within Durham University and elsewhere. The College provides multidisciplinary space for the encouragement of cross-faculty research projects. Currently the College is strong in the areas of Anthropology, Climate Change, Earth Sciences, including Palaeontology, English Literature, Materials Physics and much more.
The College’s research activities are coordinated and promoted by the Principal, Prof. David Harper, a leading expert on major events in the history of life and numerical methods in palaeontology together with fossil brachiopods. He is Professor of Palaeontology in the Department of Earth Sciences, Principal of Van Mildert College and Deputy Head of Colleges (Research). He was previously Professor of Palaeontology and Head of Geology in the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen. He is a Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, and an Einstein Professor in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has published over 10 books and monographs, including a couple of influential textbooks, as well as over 250 scientific articles and, together with Øyvind Hammer, the widely-used software package PAST. His research is mainly field-based and he has led expeditions to many parts of the world including central Australia, Chile, Greenland and Tibet.