Research News

National circular economy hub to lead the way in UK bid to create a sustainable future

A new research hub led by the University of Exeter will spearhead national efforts to create a sustainable, circular economy where fewer resources are used and more waste materials reused – delivering huge benefits to the environment and UK economy.

Motion sensitivity research could benefit people with inner ear condition

Research into motion sensitivity could lead to improved rehabilitation programmes and an improvement in building designs for people with a rare inner ear condition that affects their balance

Genital shape key to male flies' sexual success

Having genitals of a certain shape and size gives male flies a major reproductive advantage, new research shows.

Guppies have varying levels of self-control

Just like humans trying to stick to New Year's resolutions, guppies have varying levels of self-control, a new study shows.

Changing resilience of oceans to climate change

Oxygen levels in the ancient oceans were surprisingly resilient to climate change, new research suggests.

Simple, cheap test can help save lives from colorectal cancer

New research has demonstrated that a simple, cheap test can help identify who is at risk of developing colorectal cancer, aiding early diagnosis and potentially saving lives

COVID-19: Mortality risk increases by 20 per cent when ICUs are full

Patients admitted to very full hospitals have an increased chance of dying which is equivalent to being up to 11 years older

Ancient DNA reveals secrets of Game of Thrones wolves

An extinct species of wolf made famous in the TV show Game of Thrones split off from others nearly six million years ago and are only a distant relative of today’s wolves, researchers have found.

‘Fake News Law’ needed to protect the public against the spread of fake news, experts argue

There is an urgent need to regulate fake news, and even criminalising the deliberate creation and spread of false information should not be ruled out, legal experts have warned.

Discovery of thousands of pieces of fabric gives historians a rare glimpse into fashions of the past

The discovery of thousands of pieces of 18th century fabric has given historians a rare glimpse into fashion hundreds of years ago. 

Grey camouflage 'better than zebra stripes'

Dull, featureless camouflage provides better protection from predators than zebra stripes, according to a new study.

Rotten Egg Gas Could Guard Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Typically characterised as poisonous, corrosive and smelling of rotten eggs, hydrogen sulfide’s reputation may soon get a facelift

Take 15 minutes to complete the Big Farming Survey

RABI has launched the largest ever survey of farming people in England and Wales, with a target of achieving 26,000 responses. 

BAME parliamentary candidates not picked to fight ‘winnable seats’ in areas with less tolerance towards diversity, study suggests

Political parties are increasingly likely to avoid selecting ethnic minority candidates for ‘winnable’ constituencies at General Elections in areas where there are less tolerant attitudes toward diversity, study suggests.

BCG vaccine trial extends across Devon, in partnership with RD&E

A large global trial designed to test the theory that the widely used BCG vaccine might help protect against COVID-19 amongst healthcare staff and care home workers is expanding.

Positive ‘tipping points’ offer hope for climate

Positive “tipping points” could spark cascading changes that accelerate action on climate change, experts say.

University of Exeter KTP plays key role in the manufacturing process of the new Covid-19 vaccine

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University of Exeter and Smart Manufacturing LTD is playing a direct and key role in the production process of the new COVID-19 vacccine.

Ongoing sudden stratospheric warming could increase risk of snow over coming weeks

A pioneering new study helps shed light on the chances of extreme cold, and potentially snow in the UK in the next fortnight.

Poorer pupils most likely to be away from school at the end of 2020, researchers tracking coronavirus learning loss have found

Poorer pupils were most likely to be away from school at the end of 2020, experts analysing the learning loss caused by coronavirus have found.

Speeding up machine learning by means of light

Scientists have developed a pioneering new approach that will rapidly speed up machine learning – using light.

New research sheds light on early mechanisms driving diatom bloom formation

Scientists have discovered how diatoms (a globally important group of eukaryotic algae) sense the availability of phosphorus, a vital macronutrient that controls diatom growth and productivity in the oceans.

Big bumblebees learn locations of best flowers

Big bumblebees take time to learn the locations of the best flowers, new research shows.

People back coronavirus restrictions but think autumn local lockdowns were mismanaged by the Government, survey shows

There is widespread public support for coronavirus restrictions, but most people believe local lockdowns this autumn were mismanaged by the Government, a new survey shows.

Discovery of 66 new Roman Army sites shows more clues about some of the empire’s most infamous conflicts

The discovery of dozens of new Roman Army sites thanks to remote sensing technology has revealed more about one of the empire’s most infamous battles.

 

Doctors should change the way that they ask patients about self-harm and suicide, study recommends

Doctors can better help patients with mental health concerns by adopting a different questioning style around self-harm and suicide, experts have said.

Major changes to interpretation of the Human Rights Act needed to protect people during arrest and detention, research argues

Major changes to the way courts interpret the Human Rights Act are necessary so the legislation does more to protect people detained because of the expansion of police powers, a new study says.

Ivory Coast creates first Marine Protected Area

Ivory Coast has announced the creation of its first Marine Protected Area (MPA).

Difference in blood pressure between arms linked to greater death risk

A difference in blood pressure readings between arms is linked to greater risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

Legal reforms needed to protect people from “deepfake” and AI intellectual property theft, expert warns

Legal reforms are needed to protect people from their image being copied by “deepfake” or AI technology, an expert has warned.

New drug molecules hold promise for treating rare inherited terminal childhood disease

Scientists at the University of Exeter have identified a way to “rescue” cells that have genetically mutated

Major new research project to help pupils promote peace and make sense of the violent past

Experts have begun a major new research project to help pupils around the world to use history and heritage to promote peace and make sense of past violence. 

Crops near Chernobyl still contaminated

Crops grown near Chernobyl are still contaminated due to the 1986 nuclear accident, new research shows.

Squirrels need good neighbours

Living beside familiar neighbours boosts a squirrel's chances of survival and successful breeding, new research shows.

Shark fishing bans partially effective

Bans on shark fishing are only partially effective in protecting sharks, new research suggests.

‘EU’s sustainable finance rules undermine climate goal,’ claim experts

The European Commission’s planned new rules on sustainable finance could undermine the bloc’s climate change goals, according to an open letter signed by Professor Chendi Zhang, Director of the Business School’s new Exeter Sustainable Finance Centre.

Physicists solve geometrical puzzle in electromagnetism

A team of scientists have solved the longstanding problem of how electrons move together as a group inside cylindrical nanoparticles.

Joint Centre of Excellence in Environmental Intelligence hosts inaugural event

The key challenges, priorities and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues will be showcased at a special event this week.

Babbler bird falls into climate change trap

Animals can fall into an "ecological trap" by altering their behaviour in the “wrong direction” in response to climate change, researchers say.

Research dispels fears human stem cells contain cancer-causing mutations

Pioneering new research has made a pivotal breakthrough that dispel concerns that human stem cells could contain cancer-causing mutations.

COVID lockdown causes record drop in CO2 emissions for 2020

The global COVID-19 lockdowns caused fossil carbon dioxide emissions to decline by an estimated 2.4 billion tonnes in 2020 – a record drop according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA), University of Exeter and the Global Carbon Project.

Research sheds new light on cause of deadly lung disease

New research could shed light on the mystery cause of a lung disease that is a major killer, and potentially unlock new treatments

£300,000 from NIHR to investigate the views of older adults on strategies to improve recovery from planned surgery

A team of researchers from across the University of Exeter Medical School, has secured £300,000 in funding to continue their work into the impact of strategies to improve the recovery of older adults undergoing planned surgery.

Leading researchers receive prestigious ERC funding awards

Two of the University of Exeter’s most respected researchers have received a significant funding boost from the European Research Council (ERC), it has been announced.

Funding awarded to help more people in Wales tackle rising cases of domestic abuse

Delivery drivers, neighbours and colleagues in virtual meetings could help tackle rising domestic abuse with the right training and support in a world changed by COVID-19.

Research develops new theoretical approach to manipulate light

The quest to discover pioneering new ways in which to manipulate how light travels through electromagnetic materials has taken a new, unusual twist.

Peatland preservation vital to climate

Preserving the world's peatlands – and the vast carbon stores they contain – is vital to limiting climate change, researchers say.

Mapping global impacts for all vegetable oils key to sustainability

A lack of data on the environmental and social impacts of vegetable oil crops stands in the way of informed discussions about their relative sustainability, according to a new study by members of the IUCN’s Palm Oil Task Force.

Experts, politicians, charity leaders and activists join forces to discuss impact of religion and culture on the lives of people with disabilities in Namibia

Experts, politicians, charity leaders and activists met to discuss the impact of religion and culture on the lives of people with disabilities in Namibia.

University of Exeter historian’s work on epidemics honoured by the AHRC Medical Humanities Awards

Pioneering research by a University of Exeter historian on the impact and management of epidemics has been honoured at this year’s AHRC Medical Humanities Awards.

Newly discovered ancient villages laid out like a clock face are further proof of human impact on the Amazon

Ancient Amazonian villages laid out like a clock face have been discovered by experts, thanks to technology that allows them to see below the rainforest canopy.

Impact of social isolation on the brain... of fish

Have you recently wondered how social-distancing and self-isolation may be affecting your brain?

Scientists predict 'optimal' stress levels

Scientists have created an evolutionary model to predict how animals should react in stressful situations.

Digital health passports should not be rolled out on a mass basis until COVID-19 vaccines are available to all, report warns

Digital health passports should not be introduced on a mass basis until coronavirus tests are available and affordable to everyone in the country, report warns

'Message in a bottle' tracks plastic pollution

Electronic tags released in the Ganges river show plastic pollution can travel thousands of kilometres in just a few months.

Why soft skills could power the rise of robot leaders

What would the world look like if socially-skilled robots stepped into the roles normally reserved for humans?

Incredible history of one of England’s last pierrot troupes on display for the first time

For decades they were one of the country’s last remaining pierrot troupes, bringing joy to people of all ages at seaside resorts with their singing, dancing and games. 

Birds able to adjust egg-laying date

Many birds are able to change their egg-laying date to cope with variable conditions, new research shows.

The distress caused by the Coronavirus pandemic means parents should maintain the “vital tonic” of the Father Christmas myth for children this year, psychologist urges

Parents agonise about how to handle difficult questions about Father Christmas when children grow up, but the coronavirus pandemic means it could be damaging to be totally honest this year.

Small and large birth weight linked to genetics of mother and baby – except in tiniest babies

Genetics of mother and baby contribute to most cases where babies are born very large or very small, according to new research

Exeter Diabetes Professor wins Belgian’s top scientific prize from country’s queen

Andrew Hattersley, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Exeter, has won the Baillet Latour Health Prize 2020

Plastic contaminants harm sea urchins

Plastics in the ocean can release chemicals that cause deformities in sea urchin larvae, new research shows.

Newly discovered Amazon rock art show the rainforest’s earliest inhabitants living with giant Ice Age animals

Amazonian rock art newly discovered by researchers provides further proof the rainforest’s earliest inhabitants lived alongside now-extinct giant Ice Age animals.

Public can explore hundreds of new prehistoric, Roman and medieval archaeological sites identified through aerial reconnaissance

The public can explore hundreds of new prehistoric, Roman and medieval sites discovered in Romania by archaeologists using aerial reconnaissance.

Stickleback study reveals 'parallel' evolution

Animal species in different parts of the world can evolve in "parallel" in response to similar conditions, according to a new study of fish.

Brain’s ‘speedometer’ could help solve part of dementia puzzle

Nearly one million people in the UK have dementia

Call for 'debt driving licence'

People borrowing money for the first time should only be given small amounts until they have proved their competence, a new study says.

The Exeter hip: 50 years of making healthcare better

An innovative hip stem developed in Exeter 50 years ago today has now been implanted in more than two million patients across the globe

Exeter team leads Cochrane Review on physical activity for people with congenital heart disease

A team led by the University of Exeter has carried out a detailed review of evidence on physical activity interventions for people with congenital heart disease.

Participants wanted for most in-depth brain study of early Alzheimer’s disease

Exeter researchers are seeking local volunteers to take part in the world’s most detailed study into the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease

Space worms experiment reveals gravity affects genes

Living at low gravity affects cells at the genetic level, according to a study of worms in space.

Waste fishing gear threatens Ganges wildlife

Waste fishing gear in the River Ganges poses a threat to wildlife including otters, turtles and dolphins, new research shows.

The danger of Z-drugs for dementia patients

Strong sleeping pills known as ‘Z-drugs’ are linked with an increased risk of falls, fractures and stroke among people with dementia

New guide on using drones for conservation

Drones are a powerful tool for conservation – but they should only be used after careful consideration and planning, according to a new report.

University of Exeter, Dorset Museum and Dorset History Centre mark pioneering research

Experts from the University of Exeter, Dorset Museum and Dorset History Centre have celebrated their pioneering research, including on the life and work of the novelist and poet Thomas Hardy.

Liver cancer ten times more likely in men with common genetic disorder haemochromatosis

Men who have the Western world’s most common genetic disorder, haemochromatosis, are ten times more likely to develop liver cancer

COVID-19 is just one factor impacting wellbeing of employees working from home, study finds

A new study on work-life balance has found that the COVID-19 crisis is a crucial factor – but not the only one – behind low levels of wellbeing among employees working from home.

Plant evolves to become less visible to humans

A plant used in traditional Chinese medicine has evolved to become less visible to humans, new research shows.

Indonesian wildfires a 'fixable problem'

Indonesian wildfires that cause widespread air pollution and vast carbon emissions are a "fixable problem", according to the leader of a project set up to help tackle the issue.

International team to examine critical role of culture in building peace and preventing conflict

An international team will embark on a major project to expose and build on the critical role of culture in enhancing possibilities for sustainable peace and preventing conflict.

Bacteria and 3D printers could help restore coral reefs

A team of University of Exeter students are using genetically engineered bacteria to produce a material that could help repair degraded coral reefs.

Pioneering health research at the University of Exeter to continue thanks to renewed Wellcome funding

Pioneering University of Exeter work on worldwide health challenges will continue thanks to renewed funding for a unique research centre.

New anthology of powerful pieces about the climate crisis from writers and scientists

Writers from around the world and climate scientists have penned powerful and thought-provoking pieces about the climate crisis for a new anthology.

Reform of UK company takeover rules would boost productivity and investment, Parliamentarians told

Reforms to company takeover rules could boost UK productivity, increase investment opportunities and limit inefficient management, politicians have been told.

Sexual orientation of men is new ‘STEM gap’, study finds

Men in same-sex relationships are significantly less likely to have a degree in a STEM subject than men in different-sex couples, a new study has shown. 

Exeter experts recognised as being among world’s most influential scientists

Leading academics from the University of Exeter have been recognised as being amongst the world’s most influential researchers, according to a prestigious new ranking.

Exeter part of UK-wide genomics consortium in £12.2million funding boost

A £12.2 million funding boost will help scientists at the University of Exeter and the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Trust contribute to national efforts to map how COVID-19 spreads and evolves

New app allows people to explore some of Europe’s most historic cities from their own homes

People can step back in time to Renaissance Italy or Elizabethan England as part of a new app which allows people to take exciting tours of some of Europe’s most historic cities from their own homes.

Pacific project will build a circular economy to target plastic pollution

Scientists aim to tackle plastic pollution in the Galapagos Islands and wider Eastern Pacific in a major project based on cooperation with local researchers and communities.

Nearly a third of hospitals in England reached maximum ventilator bed capacity during first wave of Covid-19 pandemic

Thirty percent of hospitals in England reached their maximum occupancy levels for beds with mechanical ventilation support during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic

£800k funding to investigate treatments for devastating lung disease

Researchers at the University of Exeter have won more than £800,000 in funding to study a deadly lung disease – idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Teaching and complex tools 'evolved together'

The human ability to teach and our use of complex tools may have evolved together, according to new research.

New funding for research on parent carers in crisis

University of Exeter researchers have been awarded £239,000 to explore suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, and self-harm in parent carers

Migrating animals 'live fast and die young'

Animals that migrate "live fast and die young", new research shows.

Tropical peatland conservation could protect humans from new diseases

Conservation of tropical peatlands could reduce the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the likelihood of new diseases jumping from animals to humans, researchers say.

Chemical clues in leaves can reveal ash tree resistance to deadly disease

Naturally occurring compounds in ash leaves could be linked to susceptibility of individual trees to the fungal disease ash dieback (ADB), new research shows.

Study reveals physical demands of two-hour marathon

Elite runners need a specific combination of physiological abilities to have any chance of running a sub-two-hour marathon, new research shows.

Experts urge new campaign to stop acrimonious family court battles during relationship breakdowns

A permanent change in cultural attitudes is needed to steer separating parents away from acrimonious legal proceedings during family breakdowns, experts have said. 

Academics in favour of universities refusing funding from nations connected to human rights concerns, survey shows

Academics are in favour of universities refusing funding from foreign organisations and individuals or nations linked with human rights concerns, a new survey of over 1,500 social scientists based in UK universities shows.

Community action and a higher profile in schools key to growth of Cornish language

Community activism and a higher profile in schools will be essential for the numbers speaking Cornish to increase, an expert in the language has said.

University of Exeter and Medicines Discovery Catapult combine to industrialise academic medicines research

Today (November 12th 2020) the University of Exeter and Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) announce their strategic partnership to accelerate medicines Research & Development (R&D), creating value for the sector and enhancing translational skills.

Evolution favours new diseases of 'intermediate' severity

New epidemic diseases have an evolutionary advantage if they are of "intermediate" severity, research shows.

Slow down to avoid falls when wearing masks

Older people wearing face masks need to take extra care to make sure they don’t trip over obstacles when walking.

Pioneering new Circular Economy Centre in Technology Metals announced

The University of Exeter will lead a pioneering new research centre, designed to revolutionize how crucial metals are extracted, used and reused in clean and digital technologies across the UK.

Scientists unravel how and why Amazon trees die

A huge new study has unravelled what factors control tree mortality rates in Amazon forests and helps to explain why tree mortality is increasing across the Amazon basin.

Puzzled otters learn from each other

Asian short-clawed otters learn from each other when solving puzzles to get food, a new study shows.

A few kilograms weight loss nearly halves the risk of diabetes, large scale research study finds

Providing support to help people with prediabetes make small changes to their lifestyle, diet and physical activity can almost halve the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

VSimulators technology to develop footwear for active older people

A project that will use cutting-edge technology to develop safe and comfortable footwear for active older people has received a grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

New technique could revolutionise accuracy and ease detection of biomechanical alterations of cells and tissues

Scientists have developed an optical elastography technique that could revolutionise the accuracy and ease to which health professionals can detect biomechanical alterations of cells and tissues.

Funding boost for the next generation of environmental scientists

The University of Exeter and its partners have secured a new £3.5m Centre for Doctoral Training with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to research chemicals in the environment.

Animal groups consider multiple factors before fighting

Groups of animals consider multiple factors before deciding whether to fight rivals, researchers say.

New research identifies ‘triple trouble’ for mangrove coasts

Some of the world’s most valuable ecosystems are facing a "triple threat" to their long-term durability and survival, new research shows.

Female mongooses start battles for chance to mate

Female banded mongooses lead their groups into fights then try to mate with enemy males in the chaos of battle, new research shows.

Slow-living animal species could be disease ‘reservoirs’

Animals that live slowly – breeding less rapidly and living longer – could be "reservoirs" of diseases that could jump to new species including humans, new research suggests.

Water engineering expert launches new £10 million European water systems project

A University of Exeter academic is set to receive a share of £10 million pounds of funding for a six-year European research project, looking at designing the next generation of intelligent urban drinking water systems.

Widespread public support for job guarantees and exam reform, survey shows

There is strong public support for job guarantees and reforms to exams in 2021 to help young people affected by the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey shows.

'Remarkable' project wins Newton Prize award

A "remarkable" project that aims to bring safe and reliable energy to informal settlements in South Africa has won the Chair's Prize in the 2020 Newton Fund awards.

Basketball fouls can be predicted by personality traits – but not the ones you’d expect

A basketball player can be dishonest or bad-tempered yet is not more likely to commit fouls, a new study has shown.

Sea-level rise will have complex consequences

Rising sea levels will affect coasts and human societies in complex and unpredictable ways, according to a new study that examined 12,000 years in which a large island became a cluster of smaller ones.

New environmental intelligence tool will help protect Cornwall’s wildlife and landscape

An environmental online hub for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will help protect the region’s precious wildlife and landscape.

Understanding rare type of diabetes gives insights into critical mechanisms of insulin production

Solving the genetic puzzle of why babies developed a rare type of diabetes has uncovered a new biological pathway that is fundamental to insulin production