Research News

Research moves closer to unravelling mystery cause of multiple sclerosis

A new study has made a major new discovery towards finding the cause of multiple sclerosis (MS), potentially paving the way for research to investigate new treatments.

Want to stay mentally healthy in older age? Stimulate your brain in early life

Stimulating the brain by taking on leadership roles at work or staying on in education help people stay mentally healthy in later life, according to new research.

Captive meerkats at risk of stress

Small groups of meerkats – like those often seen in zoos – are at greater risk of chronic stress.

Computer game helps scientists understand animal camouflage

Computer games have helped scientists understand animal camouflage and colour vision. 

Educational equality expert to begin new role at the University of Exeter

A leading expert on social mobility and educational inequality has been appointed to work to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who want to study at the University of Exeter.

Global dementia expert gives first lecture as head of Exeter Medical School

World-leading dementia expert Professor Clive Ballard will deliver his first lecture since joining the University of Exeter.

Two in five GPs to ‘quit within five years’

Large scale survey exposes severity of impending GP shortfall.

El Nino reveals impact of global warming on marine production

The extent to which climate change impacts the vital marine food web - which feeds the already pressured global fisheries – is revealed through a new, innovative study.

Ketamine shows positive results for treating severe depression

A new paper sets out principles for responsibly testing innovative treatments for severe depression, based on treating more than 100 patients with approximately 1,000 infusions of ketamine over six years.

Huge permafrost thaw can be limited by ambitious climate targets

Global warming will thaw about 20% more permafrost than previously thought, scientists have warned – potentially releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Logging threatens breeding turtles

Debris from logging in tropical forests is threatening the survival of hatchling leatherback turtles and the success of mothers at one of the world’s most important nesting sites in Colombia.

Birds to help unravel the inner working of nature’s most complex societies

Prestigious Human Frontiers Science Programme grant awarded to international research team led by University of Exeter

University of Exeter and Keypath Education launch digital revolution in UK Higher Education

The University of Exeter and Keypath Education have announced a new ten-year partnership that will see the University provide a range of online Masters Degrees to UK and international students.

Outdated divorce law causes needlessly painful and destructive breakups, new research finds

Outdated divorce law is causing needlessly painful and destructive breakups and exacerbating conflict between couples, a major new study has found.

Cornish granites could solve riddle of pinpointing metals crucial for low carbon tech

The composition of granite found underneath much of the South West peninsula could offer a vital clue to where deposits of metals crucial for the production of many low carbon technologies can be found.

Chess bonds literary critic and Nobel Prize-winning author, newly uncovered letters show

They often found themselves thousands of miles apart but author Sir William Golding and journalist Anthony Curtis never let that stop them pursuing one of their favourite pastimes – chess.

Early climate ‘payback’ with higher emission reductions

Climate scientists have shown that the early mitigation needed to limit eventual warming below potentially dangerous levels has a climate ‘payback’ much earlier than previously thought.

New ultrafast flexible and transparent memory devices could herald a new era of electronics

An innovative new technique to produce the quickest, smallest, highest-capacity memories for flexible and transparent applications could pave the way for a future golden age of electronics.

Weather forecasting technology used to predict where proteins anchor within human cells

Met Office technology used to study climate change is being used by scientists to predict the sorting and location of proteins in cells of the human body.

Communities to work with archaeologists to research history of Devon and Cornwall, thanks to National Lottery players

Communities in Devon and Cornwall will be able to research the history of Roman, Iron Age and medieval settlements in the region by helping experts on a major archaeological dig and associated surveys this year.

Devon Hospitals Race Ahead to Hit Target on Women on Boards

Devon health trusts are setting the pace for representation of women at the top of the NHS. The local hospital trusts have hit the official target for women on NHS boards three years ahead of schedule.

Pioneering project to start ‘small deposit’ mining revolution receives €7 million funding

A pioneering new project, designed to lead an ethical and sustainable international ‘mining revolution’, has received a multi-million pound funding boost.

Dementia: The right to rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is as important for people with dementia as it is for people with physical disabilities, according to a leading dementia expert.

New tool will help GPs decide if patients under 50 have serious bowel condition

A new research-backed risk assessment tool will support GPs in identifying the symptoms of bowel cancer and inflammatory bowel disease in patients aged under 50.

£25m fund could boost high-tech South West projects

Hi-tech South West businesses could be boosted by a new investment fund worth up to £25 million.

£2 million to improve rehabilitation of older people after hospital discharge

Researchers have received £2 million of funding to conduct a five year national study looking at how rehabilitation can be improved for older people with frailty following discharge from hospital.

Top social scientist boosts Exeter’s research excellence

One of the UK’s leading social scientists is joining the University of Exeter from her previous post as Chief Executive of the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC).

Republicans less likely to be critical about Obamacare when reminded about their own medical needs

US Republican voters are less likely to be critical about the performance of the controversial “Obamacare” health reforms when they are reminded about their own medical needs, new research shows.

Remarkable history of Exeter City FC seen in new exhibition

Rarely-seen pictures will tell the remarkable story of Exeter City FC at a new exhibition dedicated to the club’s unique history.

The foundation of aquatic life can rapidly adapt to global warming, new research suggests

Important microscopic creatures which produce half of the oxygen in the atmosphere can rapidly adapt to global warming, new research suggests.

Can online therapy reduce distress in dementia carers?

A new study is inviting people who care for someone with dementia to help investigate whether an online therapy can help carers cope with feeling of stress, anxiety or depression.

Tropical rainstorms and a wobbly rope bridge in the cloudy treetops at the Eden Project’s new Weather Maker

Visitors to the Eden Project can now trek across an aerial rope bridge, shelter from tropical rain and travel through clouds thanks to the opening of a thrilling new rainforest walkway.

Impact of wobbly bridges and sky-scrapers on human health to be tested in government-funded research centre

The impact of vibrations from very tall buildings and wobbly bridges and floors on people’s health and wellbeing is to be researched in a new £7.2 million government-funded national research facility.

Extensive ice cap once covered sub-antarctic island of South Georgia

A new study reveals the sub-antarctic island of South Georgia – famous for its wildlife – was covered by a massive ice cap during the last ice age.

Exeter scientist wins prestigious dementia prize

University of Exeter researcher Dr Katie Lunnon has won the Early Career Investigator of the Year Award at the Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference 2017.

Soft coral species exhibit strikingly different patterns of connectivity around the British Isles

The evolution of land animals has been shaped by barriers such as oceans and mountains which have divided them and sent them down different genetic paths. 

More South West firms to use space technology and science thanks to new funding

Small businesses will be able to exploit the technology developed for space exploration thanks to a new project led by the University of Exeter funded by the UK Space Agency. 

Breeding oilseed rape varieties for pollinator-friendly traits

Amounts and sugar content of nectar vary between commercial varieties of oilseed rape (OSR) produced with different breeding systems, when tested in the glasshouse. 

Celebrating 10 years of European Research Council funding

The University of Exeter will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the European Research Council (ERC) with a celebratory public event at the Streatham Campus.

European funding launches Marine-i to provide support to marine businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Up to £6.8m of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) has been secured to develop marine technology research, development and innovation activities in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Project tackling barriers to Higher Education receives £500,000 funding boost

A pioneering new project which seeks to tackle potential barriers faced by students with vocational qualifications when they enter higher education, has received a significant funding boost.

Diabetes expert wins top international scientific award

A world expert in diabetes will deliver a lecture presented as the top international science award by Diabetes UK.

Scientists develop calculators to help clinicians decide on best diabetes treatments

People with diabetes could benefit from digital ‘risk calculators’ in the future that help healthcare professionals prescribe the best combination of medicine for each person. 

Exeter subjects ranked amongst the global best

Both science and humanities subjects at the University of Exeter have been recognised as being amongst the very best in the world, according to an influential global league table.

Blueberry concentrate improves brain function in older people

Drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older people, according to research by the University of Exeter.

Ancient peoples shaped Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest was shaped by ancient people who lived there, new research reveals.

Virtual reality training for ‘safety-critical’ jobs

New virtual reality training could help prevent accidents in “safety-critical” industries like the NHS, aviation, the military and nuclear power.

Exploring the economic value of trees’ social and environmental benefits

The social and environmental outputs of woodlands play a much broader role in the economy than is often recognised, according to a new Research Report by the University of Exeter for the Forestry Commission.

Biggest ever archive of children’s writing created to help experts assess language skills

Experts will collect the most extensive archive to date of children’s school work as part of a major project seeking to track how the way they use language changes as they get older.

Caledonian forests threatened by climatic change

Efforts to conserve the remaining fragments of the great Forest of Caledon in Scotland may be doomed to fail unless a new strategy is rapidly adopted, new research suggests.

Scientists reveal core genes involved in honey bee immunity

An international team of researchers has identified a core set of genes involved in the responses of honey bees to multiple diseases caused by viruses and parasites.

New research could trigger revolution in computer electronics manufacturing

A pioneering new technique to produce cutting-edge, versatile microchips could revolutionize the speed, efficiency and capability of the next generation of computers.

Declining Arctic sea ice does influence European weather – but is not a cause of colder winters

The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice through climate change is unlikely to lead to more severe winter weather across Northern Europe, new research has shown.

Banded mongooses go to war over sex and territory

Gang warfare is not unique to humans – banded mongooses do it too.

Planned protection area would help basking sharks

A proposed Marine Protected Area (MPA) off Scotland’s west coast would help basking sharks, researchers say.

Watching birds near your home is good for your mental health

People living in neighbourhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress, according to research.

Exeter helps protect Myanmar marine life

A new plan to protect Myanmar’s diverse marine life has been announced.

Hidden relationship between Spain’s finest women writers uncovered by Exeter expert

The hidden close relationship between two of Spain’s finest women writers has been brought to life through letters uncovered by a University of Exeter expert.

People with cystic fibrosis ‘should get exercise plans’

People with cystic fibrosis could benefit from being prescribed personalised exercise plans by healthcare professionals, according to experts at the University of Exeter.

Exeter doctor wins prestigious diabetes research award

A University of Exeter researcher has just been awarded nearly £800,000 to find out why Type 1 diabetes develops in babies.

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

Warming seawaters threaten the stability of tropical coral reefs, with potentially devastating implications for many reef species and the human communities that reefs support.

Warming ponds could accelerate climate change

Rising temperatures could accelerate climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide stored in ponds and increasing the methane they release, new research shows.

Basking sharks seek out winter sun

The winter habits of Britain’s basking sharks have been revealed for the first time.

Gene editing could help tackle cancer and inherited diseases

Gene editing techniques developed in the last five years could help in the battle against cancer and inherited diseases.

Pioneering Spanish women remembered through new plaques in Madrid

Pioneering women in pre-civil war Spain are being remembered for the first time through new public memorials in Madrid thanks to a University of Exeter academic.

App combines latest research to help users curb food cravings

Experts are seeking volunteers to test a research-based app that aims to help users curb cravings for unhealthy foods and lose weight.

First comprehensive legal guide for cyber behaviour published by University of Exeter expert

The first comprehensive guide covering the legal rules of behaviour in cyberspace, which will be used by governments around the world, has been published by a University of Exeter academic.

Listening to music can improve unconscious attitudes towards other cultures

Listening to five minutes of West African or Indian pop music can give the listener more positive attitudes towards those cultures, research from the Universities of Oxford and Exeter has found.

Tough early life makes wild animals live longer

Growing up in tough conditions can make wild animals live longer, new research suggests.

Climate change and fishing create ‘trap’ for penguins

Endangered penguins are foraging for food in the wrong places due to fishing and climate change, research led by the University of Exeter and the University of Cape Town has revealed.

University of Exeter launches its largest ever fundraising Campaign

The University of Exeter has launched its most ambitious philanthropic Campaign to date to reinforce its position as one of the leading research institutions worldwide.

Celebrity divorce lawyer backs research to help strengthen couple relationships

Prominent divorce lawyer Baroness Shackleton is funding new University of Exeter research which could help uncover the secret of finding life-long love.

Hundreds of ancient earthworks built in the Amazon

The Amazonian rainforest was transformed over two thousand years ago by people who built hundreds of large, mysterious earthworks.

Real Game of Thrones brought anarchy to the UK, experts find

England’s first civil war, a real Game of Thrones power struggle between two cousins, brought anarchy to the UK in the twelfth century AD.

Increasing water table in agricultural peatland could cut UK greenhouse gas emissions

Increasing the water table could help to slow down global warming, boost crop yields and preserve peat soils, according to a new study.

New drive to tackle deadly global disease

The University of Exeter is part of a pan-European partnership worth almost 30 million Euros to improve the prevention and management of Diabetic Kidney Disease.

LED lighting could have major impact on wildlife

LED street lighting can be tailored to reduce its impacts on the environment, according to new research by the University of Exeter.

Nobel Laureates to deliver keynote speeches at Living Systems Institute Opening International Symposium

Two Nobel Laureates will deliver keynote speeches at a prestigious international scientific symposium celebrating the opening of the University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute (LSI).

Emoticons help gauge school happiness level in young children

A new questionnaire based on emoticon-style facial expressions could help teachers and others who work with children as young as four to engage them on their happiness levels in the classroom.

Predator threat boosts friendships among guppies

Danger from predators causes animals to form stronger friendships, according to new research.

Low level of oxygen in Earth’s middle ages delayed evolution for two billion years

A low level of atmospheric oxygen in Earth’s middle ages held back evolution for two billion years, raising fresh questions about the origins of life on this planet.

Legal training for aid workers to help protect migrant children from exploitation

Aid workers in refugee camps and shelters in Greece are receiving legal training to help keep migrant children safe thanks to an expert from the University of Exeter.

New genes for height revealed in global study of 700,000 people

83 new genetic variants that strongly influence human height have been discovered in a study.

‘Mirror game’ test could secure early detection of schizophrenia, study shows

Virtual reality could hold the key to unlocking an affordable, reliable and effective device to provide early diagnosis and management of schizophrenia.

Climate change scientists should think more about sex

Urgent need to check how males and females respond differently to ocean acidification.

Antibiotics can boost bacterial reproduction

The growth of bacteria can be stimulated by antibiotics, scientists at the University of Exeter have discovered.

Role of terrestrial biosphere in counteracting climate change may have been underestimated

Research suggests the capacity of the terrestrial biosphere to absorb carbon dioxide may have been underestimated in past calculations due to certain land-use changes not being fully taken into account.

New translation opens a window into the world of the ‘father of genetics’

For decades the “father of genetics” Gregor Mendel has been portrayed as living an isolated, monk-like existence, cut off from society.

Rare footage of mother and baby beavers in the River Otter

Public invited to take part in a national survey on whether beavers should be reintroduced permanently into Britain

New research to act as a catalyst to help GPs diagnose cancer

A revolutionary Cancer Research UK-funded project will investigate ways of bringing new and improved cancer diagnostic tests to GPs.

Defining massacres as ‘a holocaust’ diminishes Nazi persecution of the Jews

Labelling mass killing and massacres as a “holocaust” risks downplaying the scale of the Nazi plan to eradicate the Jews and Roma (gypsies), a leading expert on the holocaust says.

‘Great West’ region can make the UK a global leader, say Vice-Chancellors and industry leaders

South West England and South East Wales can recapture the ambitious vision of Isambard Kingdom Brunel as a hyper-connected, smart and specialist region, MPs have heard.

Exeter Law Professor Addresses NATO Secretary-General and North Atlantic Council on Cyber Law

On 19 January, Professor Mike Schmitt spoke on international law of cyber operation to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller, and the North Atlantic Council (NAC).

Forests ‘held their breath’ during global warming hiatus, research shows

Global forest ecosystems, widely considered to act as the lungs of the planet, ‘held their breath’ during the most recent occurrence of a warming hiatus, new research has shown.

Mammal testing could be cut by moth larvae

The number of mammals used in animal testing could be cut dramatically and replaced with moth larvae.

Breakthrough by Exeter cell biologists

We all need contacts – how organelles hug in cells

GW4 joins industry partners to develop ‘first of its kind’ supercomputer

GW4 Alliance, together with Cray Inc. and the Met Office, has been awarded £3m by EPSRC to deliver a new Tier 2 high performance computing (HPC) service for UK-based scientists.

Prehistoric mega-lake sediment offers key insight into how inland regions responded to ‘super-greenhouse’ event

Sediment found at the site of one of the largest lakes in Earth’s history could provide a fascinating new insight into how inland regions responded to global climate change millions of years ago.

Why hospital antibiotic management strategies do little to curb resistance

With an alarming growth in antibiotic resistance and doctors increasingly having to resort to last-chance antibiotics to save patients, is there a better way for hospitals to manage antibiotic treatment regimens?

Research shows driving factors behind changes between local and global carbon cycles

Research has provided a fascinating insight in the quest to determine whether temperature or water availability is the most influential factor in determining the success of global, land-based carbon sinks.

Intensive animal production may boost flu pandemic threat

Mass livestock production is driving molecular changes in diseases that could lead to human pandemics, according to an expert from the University of Exeter.