Research News

Widespread drying of European peatlands in recent centuries

Many of Europe’s peatlands are currently the driest they have been in the last 1,000 years, new research shows.

Fish more tolerant than expected to low oxygen events

Fish may be more tolerant than previously thought to periods of low oxygen in the oceans, new research shows.

Bean tree plan to protect Amazon

Amazon deforestation could be slowed by planting bean trees that would keep soils fertile and help smallholders make a living.

Fertiliser scheme could solve Mexico’s seaweed problem

Mexico’s tourist beaches could be cleared of rotting seaweed by a new scheme to turn it into fertiliser and fuel.

Henry VIII’s marital troubles may have influenced other splits, newly-discovered documents show

Newly-discovered documents show Henry VIII’s legendary marital troubles may have led to other copy-cat splits around the country.

Construction begins on £10 million Mireille Gillings Neuroimaging Centre

Work is now under way to construct a cutting-edge new imaging centre expected to rapidly accelerate dementia research and improve healthcare.

Britain’s laws are harming businesses operating in space, experts warn

Britain’s laws are harming hi-tech companies who want to operate in the burgeoning space industry, experts have warned.

Award for Exeter’s support for researchers

The University of Exeter’s support and development of researchers has been recognised by an international award. 

Indonesia under ‘blanket of smoke’ amid wildfires

Indonesia is under a “blanket of smoke” amid wildfires that threaten humans, wildlife and the global climate, researchers say.

Exeter experts to play key role in ‘game-changing’ tidal energy project for Channel regions

Renewable Energy experts from the University of Exeter will play a pivotal role in a new “game-changing” tidal energy project, it has been confirmed.

Religion now plays an “explicit and institutionalised” role in US foreign policy-making, new research shows

Faith is increasingly used to advance the interests and values of the United States around the world, according to a new book by Dr Gregorio Bettiza from the University of Exeter.

Bid to reconstruct richness of prehistoric oceans

Scientists are reconstructing the world’s “pristine” prehistoric oceans.

Social prescribing – who does it work for and why?

In a time when people are living longer, but with more complex healthcare needs, GPs are increasingly using social prescribing to help manage conditions.

University of Exeter historian’s role in major new BBC series on World War Two

A University of Exeter expert has played a key role in the creation of a major new BBC TV series which depicts the impact of World War Two on families living across Europe.

Scientists ‘must be allowed to cry’ about destruction of nature

Scientists witnessing the destruction of the natural world must be supported and “allowed to cry”, researchers say.

Coveted awards recognise Exeter’s commitment to gender equality

Prestigious Athena SWAN awards have just been granted to two University of Exeter departments to recognise their commitment to gender equality.

New international project will investigate hidden costs of floods communities

The University of Exeter will lead an international project to investigate the hidden impact of adaptation measures designed to protect flood-prone communities worldwide.

Project launched to study artificial lighting at night from space

Citizen scientists are being urged to help shine a light on one of the most significant, yet often neglected, environmental issues by using photos taken from space.

Crohn’s disease study identifies genetic variant with potential to personalise treatment

The largest study ever to look at why an expensive and commonly–used group of drugs fails some patients with Crohn’s disease has identified a genetic marker which could individualise drug treatment.

University gains £1.2 million funding to battle Anti-Microbial Resistance

The University of Exeter has received a substantial £1.2 million of funding to further understanding into antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Autopsy reveals Sidmouth fatberg’s dirty secrets

Household cooking fats and hygiene products played a pivotal role in the formation of the giant fatberg found lurking under a Devon seaside town, scientists have revealed.

Domestic violence and abuse: how NIHR research is helping families in the South West

Research shows that only half of children affected by domestic violence and abuse are known to social services and only 42 per cent receive support from a specialist abuse service.

Flamingos tickled pink by revamped exhibit

Flamingos at the Oakland Zoo are at their flamboyant best thanks to scientists at the University of Exeter.

Mob mentality rules jackdaw flocks

Jackdaws are more likely to join a mob to drive off predators if lots of their fellow birds are up for the fight, new research shows.

New research finds coastal living linked with better mental health

Living close to the sea could support better mental health in England’s poorest urban communities, finds a new study published today in the journal Health and Place.

Leading dementia research charity funds vital equipment at the University of Exeter

Alzheimer’s Research UK has committed nearly £30,000 to support pioneering dementia research at the University of Exeter.

New calculator will help clinicians diagnose diabetes more accurately

A new calculator developed by the University of Exeter will help clinicians classify whether a patient has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, ensuring they get the best treatment and reducing complications.

Basking sharks exhibit different diving behaviour depending on the season, a new study shows

Tracking the world’s second-largest shark species has revealed that it moves to different depths depending on the time of year.

Alumni fund research into mitigating impacts of sport and leisure in the marine environment

Scientists know that light, litter and noise are all major stressors on marine life but we don’t yet have a full understanding of their combined and comparative effects on the environment. However this is set to change thanks to two Exeter alumni. 

Exeter climate expert plays pivotal role in stark IPCC report

A world-leading climate scientist from the University of Exeter has played a pivotal role in the latest Special Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Jackdaws learn from each other about ‘dangerous’ humans

Jackdaws can learn from each other to identify “dangerous” humans, new research shows.

Wanted: five volunteers to join scientific research mission to Antarctica

The search is on for five passionate individuals to travel to Earth’s most remote continent and join Antarctic Scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams, from the University of Exeter, on a first-of-its-kind scientific research mission in December.

Celebration of major new partnership between the University of Exeter and Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery

Experts from the University of Exeter and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (RAMM) are celebrating the start of a major new partnership.

Diving birds follow each other when fishing

Diving seabirds watch each other to work out when to dive, new research shows.

New study to explore the history of sexual violence in South Africa

A major new study will explore the history of sexual violence of South Africa, drawing on the voices of women.

Exeter receives substantial funding boost for business growth

The University of Exeter has received an £800,000 funding boost to create a vibrant and innovative ‘Enterprise Zone’, it has been announced.

Parental involvement plays key role in children’s academic attainment, research shows

New research has shown how parental engagement has a positive effect on a child’s academic attainment – regardless of age or socio-economic status.

Voters expect much more from political parties who win decisive election victories

Voters expect much more from politicians when the media describes them as having won a decisive electoral victory, research shows.

Inter-microbial warfare may help overcome fungal infection

A new £2.7 million research programme will investigate whether a ‘nanoweapon’ could be deployed in the global battle against deadly fungal infections.

Discovery of rare Roman cattle bones sheds new light on ancient farming

The “incredibly rare” discovery of Roman cattle bones by archaeologists has shed new light on how ancient farmers butchered and sold meat.

Scanning the lens of the eye could predict type 2 diabetes and prediabetes

New research shows that specialist measuring of the lens in the eye can predict patients with type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) (also known as prediabetes, a condition that often leads to full blown type 2 diabetes).

Survey launches to improve continence in children with disabilities

A survey for parents, carers, and health professionals has launched to assess how the NHS manages continence for children with disabilities or special educational needs.

Pioneering University of Exeter research nominated for higher education “Oscars”

Two pioneering University of Exeter research projects which will help bring about major reforms to divorce law and improve lives for people with dementia in care homes have been nominated for prestigious awards.

New films bring forgotten lives of women in Franco’s Spain to life for a new generation

The lives of remarkable women whose impact on history was curtailed by Spain’s Franco dictatorship will be recreated for a new generation thanks to a major new historical project.

The “pathobiome” – a new understanding of disease

Cefas and University of Exeter scientists have presented a novel concept describing the complex microbial interactions that lead to disease in plants, animals and humans.  

Drama and impact of cricket captured by Kia Oval’s first Poet-in-Residence

The beauty and history of cricket – a game which has captivated the country this summer - will be captured in verse by the Kia Oval’s first Poet-in-Residence.

Young Researcher Award for diabetes and pregnancy specialist

An academic specialising in diabetes and pregnancy has been recognised with an international award.

New research warns incentives to plead guilty can undermine the right to a fair trial

New research suggests that the right to a fair trial can be undermined by benefits associated with pleading guilty, and that such benefits are putting pressure on vulnerable defendants to admit to crimes they did not commit.

Exeter retains top 150 global position in latest rankings

The University of Exeter has retained its place in the top 150 universities worldwide in the latest influential league table.

Genetics Society awards for two Exeter Academics

Two academics at the University of Exeter are set to receive prestigious awards from the Genetics Society.

When should NHS contact patients over faulty genes?

The NHS and health services worldwide need to develop policies on when patients should be “re-contacted” about faulty genes, as the current lack of guidance creates a dilemma for health services, experts have warned.

University of Exeter and BMT partner up to enhance technical excellence

University of Exeter and BMT are celebrating the signing of a new collaboration agreement. 

Snack tax may be more effective than a sugary drink tax to tackle obesity

Research involving the University of Exeter Medical School finds that the effect of taxing high sugar snacks is double that seen for a similar price increase on sugar sweetened drinks.

Genetic factors influencing adult obesity take effect in early childhood

Body mass index (BMI) in infants, children and adults is influenced by different genetic factors that change as we age, according to a major new study.

The Argument for Sexual Selection in Bacteria

Sexual selection can sometimes explain phenomena that natural selection alone cannot, and some bacteria could also exhibit sexual selection, researchers at the University of Exeter argue.

Major new study tracing the history of psychiatry will show roots of today’s global mental health

A major new study of the history of psychiatry will show how efforts to create a “global standard” for mental health has left a lasting legacy on the treatment offered today.

Rising research star receives prestigious ERC funding award

A rising research star at the University of Exeter has received a significant funding boost from the European Research Council (ERC), it has been announced.

Tickets available for free, family-friendly weekend event in Bude

A spectacular weekend of sound, light, music and art will bring together regional and international artists to explore the connection between coastal living and wellbeing.

Babies’ own genes influence when they are born

Large genetic study involving data from Exeter mothers and babies reveals new insights into pregnancy duration and the timing of delivery.

Iconic folk song "Widecombe Fair” didn’t originate from Devon village, new book reveals

The quest to discover the true origins behind one of the most quintessentially English folk songs has taken a new, surprise twist.

Major fungal research centre moves to Exeter

A top research centre focussed on tackling fungal diseases has relocated to the University of Exeter.

More exciting opportunities to celebrate Exeter City Football Club’s incredible history announced

An exciting series of exhibitions, films and events celebrating the incredible history of Exeter City Football Club has been announced.

Giving people a “digital identity” could leave them vulnerable to discrimination, experts warn

Global efforts to give millions of people missing key paper documents such as birth certificates a digital identity could leave them vulnerable to persecution or discrimination, a new study warns.

Impact of climate change on global banana yields revealed

Climate change could negatively impact banana cultivation in some of the world’s most important producing and exporting countries, a study has revealed.

Exeter Science Park businesses soar with support from global number one incubator

Award-winning business support provider, SETsquared Exeter has helped to raise significant investment for its growing client base in Exeter as part of the World-leading SETsquared Partnership.

The middle aged are lonelier than older and younger people

Middle-aged people are lonelier than older adults and young people, new research suggests.

DHGE and University of Exeter to deliver online programmes in nutrition, recovery and rehabilitation

Dignity Health Global Education (DHGE) has joined forces with the University of Exeter to transform workforce development and empower staff to educate patients on nutrition, rehabilitation and recovery.

Empathy for perpetrators helps explain victim blaming in sexual harassment

Men’s empathy for other men who sexually harass women may help explain why they are more likely to blame victims, new research suggests.

Exeter retains position amongst world’s best universities in influential ranking

The University of Exeter has retained its position as one of the best universities in the world, according to the latest influential rankings.

Learn how to avoid fast fashion at Cornish events this month

Experts working to help find ways to stop Britain’s fast fashion addiction will share their findings at a new exhibition touring Cornwall this month.

Too much inequality impedes support for public goods, according to research published in Nature

Too much inequality in society can result in a damaging lack of support for public goods and services, which could disadvantage the rich as well as the poor, according to new research from the University of Exeter Business School, the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) and Harvard University.

New technique can show links between prey and microplastics

A brand new method has been developed to investigate links between top predator diets and the amount of microplastic they consume through their prey, offering potential insights into the exposure of animals in the ocean and on land to microplastics.

Work placements undertaken whilst at university can improve job prospects – but quality of supervision matters

Thousands of university students are spending the summer doing work placements and internships and this is likely to see them return with more professionalism and improved self-belief, according to an expert from the University of Exeter Business School. 

Rainforests can only absorb CO2 as long as nutrient stores last

How much carbon dioxide can tropical rainforests absorb?

Arctic sea-ice loss has “minimal influence” on severe cold winter weather, research shows

The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice through climate change has only a “minimal influence” on severe cold winter weather across Asia and North America, new research has shown.

Green turtles eat plastic that looks like their food

Green turtles are more likely to swallow plastic that resembles their natural diet of sea grass, new research suggests.

Energy price cap has "destroyed" competitive market for consumers, research shows

Introducing a price cap for energy bills has “destroyed” the UK’s competitive market for gas and electricity, new research warns.

Staring at seagulls could save your chips

Staring at seagulls makes them less likely to steal your food, new research shows.

Astronaut joins Exeter as Professor

An expert in space medicine will be joining the University of Exeter as an Honorary Professor.

Forget trying to recreate the close-knit communities of the past – they never existed

The happy, close-knit communities some claim England had in the past are a myth and never existed, new research shows.

Robot cameras reveal secret lives of basking sharks in UK marine conservation first

An autonomous ‘SharkCam’ has been used in the UK for the first time to observe the behaviour of basking sharks in the Inner Hebrides.

Road verges provide refuge for pollinators

Roadside verges provide a vital refuge for pollinators – but they must be managed better, new research shows.

Art and science unite to explore how coastlines impact our mental health

Two specially curated weekends of sound, light, music and art will unite local communities, regional and international artists to explore the connection between coastal living and wellbeing.

'How-to' guide launched to speed up spread of ‘game-changing’ stroke treatment

An Exeter academic has been involved in the launch of a how-to guide to help accelerate the use of ‘game-changing’ emergency treatment for acute stroke.

Some polar tipping points ‘already passed’

Some tipping points that will cause vast quantities of polar ice to reach the ocean have already been passed, a top climate scientist says.

Humans running planet like ‘rowdy schoolchildren flying Starship Enterprise’

Humans are controlling Earth’s life support systems like “rowdy schoolchildren” let loose on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, according to a leading scientist.

Forgiving your boss can increase job satisfaction

Workers should consider forgiving their boss for mistakes because doing so boosts their own job satisfaction, according to research from the University of Exeter Business School.

Gulf between UK fracking industry and public opinion laid bare as less than 1 in 10 people say regulation of shale gas extraction is too strict

A major new public attitudes survey on fracking shows people have low trust in the energy companies involved and want decisions taken at a local level.

Ancient stone tools found in remote rock shelter reveal vital clues about life in ancient Central America

Ancient stone tools found in remote rock shelters have revealed new clues about life in ancient Central America.

Analysis reveals economic cost of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are ‘tip of the iceberg’

A new research review highlighting the hidden costs of dementia suggests that traditional measures only show the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of the cost impact on society.

Market competition sets tone for lower cost of UK mobile phone contracts, research shows

Healthy and competitive markets – and not stringent regulations – help dial back the cost of mobile phone contacts, according to new research.

Maths experts receive prestigious fellowships

Two leading mathematicians from the University of Exeter have been selected to receive prestigious international fellowships.

Study reveals how bacteria beat immune systems

The evolution of more severe infections is not necessarily driven by bacteria multiplying faster, new research shows.

Supergen ORE Hub awards £1million to advance research in offshore renewable energy sector

The Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy Hub has awarded almost £1million to UK universities to support ambitious research projects investigating all aspects of offshore renewable energy (ORE).

Using weather radar to monitor insects

Scientists are developing a pioneering technique that allows them to monitor insects in the air using weather radars, as part of a research project called BioDAR.

Collaboration between historians and community groups key part of success of First World War centenary

Collaboration between historians and community groups has played a key part in the success of the First World War centenary commemorations, research shows.

Short films animated by autistic artists provides insight into talent that autism can bring

Autistic adults have created beautiful animations as part of a project that highlights their creativity and different ways of thinking.

Privatization of public goods can cause population decline, research shows

Scientists have given a fascinating new insight into the way microbes adopt a ‘co-operative’ approach to securing the nutrients they need to thrive.

More sensitive climates are more variable climates, research shows

A decade without any global warming is more likely to happen if the climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide emissions, new research has revealed.

Sustainable land management key to reducing Amazon wildfires, study shows

The unrelenting deforestation of the Amazon region could lead to a dramatic increase to the risk of destructive wildfire outbreaks, research has shown.

‘Intensive’ beekeeping not to blame for common bee diseases

More “intensive” beekeeping does not raise the risk of diseases that harm or kill the insects, new research suggests.

Apathy: The forgotten symptom of dementia

Apathy is the most common neuropsychiatric symptom of dementia, with a bigger impact on function than memory loss – yet it is under-researched and often forgotten in care.

Wearing hearing aid may help protect brain in later life

A new study has concluded that people who wear a hearing aid for age-related hearing problems maintain better brain function over time than those who do not.

Exeter nurse chosen to be part of prestigious new national research leadership programme

An Exeter academic has been selected to become part of a brand new nurse and midwife research initiative.

Healthy lifestyle may offset genetic risk of dementia

Living a healthy lifestyle may help offset a person’s genetic risk of dementia, according to new research.

Exeter researcher scoops award at international dementia conference

An Exeter researcher has won an award at an international Alzheimer’s conference, in recognition of his work in contributing to possible new treatments for symptoms of neurodegenerative disease.

QuantIC wins £28m funding boost in ‘Next Leap Forward’

A ground-breaking research hub involving the University of Exeter, which is focused on the development of quantum-enhanced imaging systems, will be funded for five more years, it has been announced.

No new males: Climate change threat to Cape Verde turtles

Rising temperatures could mean no male loggerhead turtles hatch at a key breeding ground by the end of this century, new research suggests.

£9 Million Boost to South West Health Research

A partnership that carries out health research in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, with direct benefits to patients’ health and NHS care delivery, has secured a further £9m in funding for the next five years.

Researcher prize and $200,000 for worm research that could help treat rare genetic child diseases

A prehistoric gas and tiny microscopic worms are part of a bid to find new treatments for a group of rare genetic children’s diseases, thanks to a $200,000 award from US charity The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

£10 million funding for pioneering new Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste announced

A £10.5 million investment will fund a pioneering new collaborative research centre, designed to solve some of the most pressing global environmental challenges of our time.

Best male biathletes ‘more attractive’

Top male biathletes are more attractive to the opposite sex, according to a new study by scientists at the universities of Exeter and Bristol.

Standing frame intervention improves life for people with MS, research shows

A new study has shown that people in the advanced stage of multiple sclerosis (MS) experience significant improvements in movement and balance thanks to a specialised standing frame.

Overfishing plus climate change equals threat to fisheries

Overfishing increases the threat posed by climate change to fish stocks and fisheries, according to a new report for MPs.

Study Provides Insights into Depression in People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Depression is common in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but the actual causes of depression in this group are unknown.

Project to examine ‘price of birdsong’

What is the natural world worth? Can you put a price on birdsong?

Astronomers help wage war on cancer

Techniques developed by astronomers could help in the fight against breast and skin cancer.

Hundreds of sharks and rays tangled in plastic

Hundreds of sharks and rays have become tangled in plastic waste in the world’s oceans, new research shows.

Quorn protein builds muscle better than milk protein

Data presented at the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) conference demonstrates mycoprotein is a more effective source of protein to support post exercise muscle building compared to some animal proteins.

‘Gentle recovery’ of Brazil’s leatherback turtles

Brazil’s leatherback turtles are making a “gentle recovery” after 30 years of conservation efforts, new research shows.

It’s dog eat dog on the canine social ladder

Climbing the social ladder is a ruff business for dogs, new research shows.

Roman road and possible mine discovered during Cornish archaeological excavations

Archaeologists have discovered a Roman road and possible ancient mine during excavations in Cornwall as they work to discover more about the history of the county.

Volcanoes, nanoparticles and wireless chargers: women in science showcase research in town centre

The public is invited to see women in science present their research in Princesshay on Saturday June 29.

High quality genomics Masters now available online

Health professionals across the world can now register for the first certified online-only genomics programme in which students do not need to visit the university.

Health Data Research UK to fund Exeter Masters programme in health data science

A newly funded Masters programme at the University of Exeter will equip health professionals with the skills to use big data in the NHS.

Significant UK air quality improvements over past 40 years cut death rates

Policies to improve air quality in the UK over the past 40 years have led to significant reductions in pollution and associated mortality rates, a new study has found.

Crop pests more widespread than previously known

Insects and diseases that damage crops are probably present in many places thought to be free of them, new research shows.

Colour change and behaviour enable multi-coloured chameleon prawns to survive

Chameleon prawns change colour to camouflage themselves as the seaweed around them changes seasonally, new research shows.

Beauty and power of summer solstice at Stonehenge celebrated in new poem

The beauty and power of the summer solstice at Stonehenge has been celebrated in a new poem by a leading writer as part of a unique project to stimulate literary creativity around the country.

Skin bacteria could save frogs from virus

Bacteria living on the skin of frogs could save them from a deadly virus, new research suggests.