Research News

First international academic “Santa survey” shows children stop believing in Father Christmas aged eight

It’s that time of year when children look forward to a stocking full of presents - but the first international academic “Santa survey” shows many adults also wish they still believed in Father Christmas and some had felt betrayed when they discovered the truth.

Crucial environmental research receives major funding boost

Pioneering new research on major environmental issues, led by scientists from the University of Exeter, have received a major funding boost, it has been announced.

First women parliamentary candidates utilised their gender to win votes, records show

Britain’s first female parliamentary candidates utilised their gender as a campaigning tool to win votes and championed new policies such as equal citizenship, analysis of records show.

What if global warming passes 1.5°C?

What will happen if humanity fails to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Drones help map sea level rise

Drones can be used to create low-cost and accurate 3D maps of coastal areas, new research shows.

Exeter research ranked among the most influential of 2018

Research conducted by Exeter experts has been recognised amongst the top 100 influential in 2018.

Human antibody discovery could save lives from fungal killer

A new way to diagnose, treat and protect against stealth fungal infections that claim more than 1.5 million lives per year worldwide has been moved a step closer, according to research published in Nature Communications.

Hong Kong’s waters benefit health and wellbeing

A ground-breaking study has revealed how spending time in and around Hong Kong’s ‘blue spaces’ (harbours, coastlines and beaches) is linked to better health and wellbeing, especially for older adults.

Exeter Recognised in UK’s Top Breakthroughs List for Revolutionary Hip Replacement

The Exeter Hip has been listed as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs for its life-changing impact on nearly two million lives across half a century.

‘Hangxiety’ higher in shy people

Very shy people are more likely to suffer “hangxiety” – anxiety during a hangover – than their extrovert friends, new research shows.

Helium exoplanet inflated like a balloon, research shows

Astronomers have discovered a distant planet with an abundance of helium in its atmosphere, which has swollen to resemble an inflated balloon.

Innovative technology centre opening at Oceansgate development

A new centre for marine innovation, based at Plymouth’s Oceansgate development, is now up-and-running thanks to European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding.

Scientists secure prestigious awards for global impact of microplastics research

A team of researchers has won two prestigious awards for the impact of work highlighting the presence, and potential impacts, of microplastics in our oceans.

Microplastics found in all sea turtle species

Tests on more than 100 sea turtles – spanning three oceans and all seven species – have revealed microplastics in the guts of every single turtle.

Scheme to improve wellbeing of parent carers to start trials

A support programme to help parents of disabled children stay healthy in mind and body will begin its first trial in the coming months, and is looking for participants.

Graphene unlocks new potential for ‘smart textiles’

The quest to create affordable, durable and mass-produced ‘smart textiles’ has been given fresh impetus through the use of the wonder material Graphene.

Asylum hearing help from new video

People seeking asylum will be helped to prepare for appeal hearings by a new video created by experts from the University of Exeter and Asylum Aid.

More than £340,000 funding for international trial to support people with dementia

More than £340,000 of UK funding will support the University of Exeter’s role in a new trial that aims to test a new way of supporting people who live with dementia to cope with life’s challenges.

Exeter’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Strategy commended

The University of Exeter’s role in a high-level strategic fund, designed to pioneer new ways to tackle some of today’s greatest global challenges, has received a commendation.

Exeter City’s incredible history brought to life in new stand

Exeter City’s incredible history has been brought to life in the club’s new Stagecoach Adam Stansfield Stand thanks to the efforts of academics, volunteers, fans and former players.

Extreme heat damaging health and livelihoods and threatening to overwhelm world’s hospitals

New research published in The Lancet medical journal shows that rising temperatures as a result of climate change are already exposing us to an unacceptably high health risk. It warns, for the first time, that older people in Europe and the East Mediterranean are particularly vulnerable to extremes of heat, markedly higher than in Africa and SE Asia.

Study Finds Biases in Widely Used Dementia Identification Tests

Quick tests used in primary care settings to identify whether people are likely to have dementia may often be wrong, according to a study published in the November 28, 2018, online issue of Neurology® Clinical Practice, an official journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

UK Space Agency funds new experiments on International Space Station

UK science will be launched into space to help tackle the effects of ageing, thanks to funding from the UK Space Agency.

Exeter experts among world’s most influential scientists, according to new ranking

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.

Climate change could lead to threefold increase in storms that bring flooding to Europe and North America, research shows

Powerful storms that cause extreme weather conditions such as flooding across Europe and North America could increase threefold by the end of the 21st century.

‘Bee-lief’ in wildflowers’ value to courgette pollination

A pioneering new study has revealed the value of pollination services to courgette.

Study reveals why older women are less healthy than older men

Genes that act late in life could explain why women have poorer health than men in older age, according to new research.

One in eight of five to 19-year-olds had mental disorder in 2017: major new survey

The University of Exeter has played a key role in a national survey which found that one in eight (12.8%) of children and young people aged between five and 19, surveyed in England in 2017, had a mental disorder.

Online ADHD service map aims to stop young people slipping through net

Researchers at the University of Exeter have released a map put together from the results of a national survey. The new map aims to help identify existing services and gaps in provision for young adults with Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD).

Primary teachers have 'higher psychological distress’ than other professional groups

Primary school teachers experience higher levels of clinically significant distress than people in comparable professions, according to the first study to make the comparison over a sustained time period.

Frogs breed young to beat virus

Frogs from groups exposed to a deadly virus are breeding at younger ages, new research suggests.

Voters would have forgiven Cameron for failing to hold an EU referendum, study shows

Many voters would have forgiven David Cameron if he had failed to deliver on his campaign promise to hold an EU referendum, a study suggests.

Improving dementia care and treatment saves thousands of pounds in care homes

Improving staff training in care homes and reducing reliance on harmful medications saves thousands of pounds per year, as well as improving quality of life and reducing agitation in dementia, new research has demonstrated.

Exeter experts help in hunt for new antibiotic drugs

Exeter scientists are part of an international team helping to find new antibiotic drugs to treat killer infections.

Female vets still face discrimination

Female vets still face discrimination, a new study has revealed.

Marine and citizen scientists take to the seas to help secure a future for Atlantic bluefin tuna in UK waters

Cefas and University of Exeter have launched a bluefin tuna tagging programme to try and find out more about the migration patterns of these enigmatic predators.

£500,000 further funding for teacher classroom management study

Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School have received £500,000 from the Education Endowment Foundation to further enhance a study that supports teachers to improve behaviour in their classroom by developing their classroom management technique.

Experts trace remarkable history of colonial Indian wildlife paintings

The mysterious origins of remarkable paintings of Indian wildlife are no longer shrouded in mystery thanks to detective work by experts around the world.

University of Exeter expert contributes to Government’s bovine TB strategy review

A University of Exeter expert has contributed to the review of the Government’s 25 Year Bovine TB Strategy.

Great War Armistice was marked in Devon with joy and sadness

Those on the “Home Front” in Devon marked the end of World War One with both joy and sadness, a University of Exeter historian has found.

Exeter researcher wins Young Investigator Grant

A University of Exeter researcher is among a group of promising scientists awarded Young Investigator Grants by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

DNA discovery gives new insight into ancient history of South America

The discovery of ancient DNA from the earliest inhabitants of South America has revealed important new information about how people settled in the Americas.

Being overweight likely to cause depression, even without health complications

A largescale genomic analysis has found the strongest evidence yet that being overweight causes depression, even in the absence of other health problems.

Exeter expert shortlisted for NERC Impact Awards 2018

4,000 tons of microbeads no longer released into ocean after pioneering plastics research

‘Boost confidence and motivation to stop vets quitting’

Employers and employees must work together to tackle issues of confidence and motivation, as a new report from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) reveals day-to-day experiences in the workplace are the biggest drivers for burnout and exit from the veterinary profession.

Thousands of WW1 soldiers packed out bombed buildings to watch films

Cinema-going was so popular among troops serving in the trenches in World War One thousands regularly packed into bombed out buildings near the front line to watch the latest films, new research shows.

Female volunteers needed for stress study

Researchers at the University of Exeter are looking for volunteers to help them explore whether assigning a more positive meaning to a stressful event can reduce stress and improve emotional wellbeing.  

Health services must address multiple conditions in dementia care

Most people living with dementia also have at least one other health condition, and health services need to adapt to optimise their health and quality of life, a new study concludes.

Genetic factors tied to obesity may protect against diabetes

Some genetic variations associated with obesity actually protect against Type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke, new findings suggest.

Alzheimer’s Society to fund Exeter research into brain inflammation

The University of Exeter has received a £361,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Society for a three year project to investigate the role that infections have in driving inflammation in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

Are Frankenstein and Dracula Blood Brothers?

In Hollywood films, Frankenstein’s monster (or ‘Being’) usually appears as a shambling zombie. Count Dracula is sleek and sophisticated. Though they have often appeared on double bills, they are very different monsters – or are they?

3% of children hit daily activity target

Only one in 30 children does the recommended amount of daily physical activity, new research suggests.

Free movement can protect humans from environmental threats

Greater freedom of movement and investments in human rights and social opportunities can help protect humans from environmental threats like rising sea levels, new research says.

Honeybees at risk from Zika pesticides

Up to 13% of US beekeepers are in danger of losing their colonies due to pesticides sprayed to contain the Zika virus, new research suggests.

£2.7m study to focus on dementia support workers in primary care

A new study is investigating how to introduce dementia support workers into GP surgeries, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of life for dementia patients and their carers.

Birds startled by moving sticks

Do animals – like humans – divide the world into things that move and things that don’t? Are they surprised if an apparently inanimate object jumps to life?

Losing control of gene activity in Alzheimer’s disease

Pioneering research into the mechanisms controlling gene activity in the brain could hold the key to understanding Alzheimer’s disease and might help identify effective treatments in the future.

Exeter among top 100 universities in the world for social sciences and law

The University of Exeter has been named as one of the top 100 places in the world to study social sciences and law in new influential rankings.

High stakes decision-making causes a little more cheating, a lot less charity, research shows

The age old adage of virtue being its own reward may not hold true in the corporate world – in fact, honourable acts could lead workers to behave more selfishly later on, new research has shown.

Research gives new insight into the evolution of the nervous system

Pioneering research has given a fascinating fresh insight into how animal nervous systems evolved from simple structures to become the complex network transmitting signals between different parts of the body.

Societies can remain distinct despite migration

Countries around the world can retain distinct cultures despite migration, new research shows.

Innuendo alone can fuel conspiracy theories, research shows

Innuendo alone in news coverage can fuel belief in conspiracy theories, according to a new study.

Public must help shape ‘smart cities’

The public must play a key role in the ongoing “smart cities” revolution, researchers say.

How schools can optimise support for children with ADHD

New research gives the clearest guidance yet on how schools can best support children with ADHD to improve symptoms and maximise their academic outcomes.

Beaver numbers increase across Tayside

Beaver numbers across Tayside have increased in the past six years, according to a new survey commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and carried out by the University of Exeter.

University of Exeter postgraduate receives prestigious fellowship from the WWF

An Exeter Student has been awarded a prestigious fellowship to further her research into the threats river dolphins face from fisheries and infrastructure in the Peruvian Amazon.

Asian hornets: First UK use of radio tags to find nest

Electronic radio tags have been used for the first time on the UK mainland to help find a nest of invasive Asian hornets, which was then destroyed.

Stunning virtual tour of exoplanets wins prestigious award

A stunning virtual reality documentary that allows budding astronomers and space enthusiasts to explore the exotic worlds orbiting distant stars has been honoured with a special pan-European award.

Engineering expert secures prestigious RAEng Industrial Fellowship

An Engineering expert from the University of Exeter has been awarded a prestigious Fellowship to help pioneer better and more reliable flight control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Mental Well-Being Related to Better Brain Health in Older Adults

A positive sense of mental well-being is related to better brain health among older adults, according to a new report issued today by the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) and involving University of Exeter research.

Exeter academics secure prestigious Alan Turing Institute Fellowships

Prestigious fellowships from The Alan Turing Institute will help nurture the next generation of data science research excellence at Exeter.

New half-light half-matter particles may hold the key to a computing revolution

Scientists have discovered new particles that could lie at the heart of a future technological revolution based on photonic circuitry, leading to superfast, light-based computing.

E-cigarettes should be used more actively to help smokers quit, experts recommend

“Ongoing nervousness” about the use of e-cigarettes in stop-smoking services can be a “significant” barrier to people finding support, research revealed during “Stoptober” shows.

 

Research into equine vision leads to trial of new fence and hurdle design to further improve safety in jump racing

The colours deployed on hurdles and fences on British racecourses may be set to change following cutting-edge research led by the University of Exeter into the way that horses perceive colour.

Home rehabilitation helps people with heart failure achieve better quality of life

A new home-based rehabilitation programme could help thousands of heart failure patients to achieve a better quality of life.

New state-of-the-art optical spectrum analyser will help to detect disease

Pioneering research, conducted by Professor Frank Vollmer at the University of Exeter’s Living Systems Institute, will advance even further thanks to support from the Berthold Leibinger Stiftung.

App to understand and improve the mental health of young people

Teenagers’ attachment to their smart phones is being harnessed to prevent anxiety and depression and improve wellbeing.

Exeter secures international autism research grant

A three year international research grant of $975,000 USD (almost £750,000) has been awarded to the University of Exeter for research by Professor Jonathan Mill into the genetics of autism.

Exeter academic wins renowned cancer research award

An Exeter paper has won Research Paper of the Year under the cancer category in the Royal College for General Practitioners (RCGP) Research Awards.

Future European science leaders to work on cutting-edge peroxisome research

The EU funded Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network PerICo has announced the start of a new, four-year, research programme on Peroxisome Interactions and Communication.

Over 30s with type 1 diabetes frequently misdiagnosed with type 2

New research presented at this year’s annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) reveals that many cases of type 1 diabetes (T1D) diagnosed after the age of 30 are not being properly identified and are frequently misdiagnosed as being type 2 diabetes (T2D), potentially leading to delays in receiving appropriate treatment.

Warmer springs can reduce summer plant productivity

Warmer springs are leading to substantially reduced plant productivity across the Northern hemisphere in the later months of the year, a new study has revealed.

Experiencing extreme weather is not enough to convince climate change sceptics

Experiencing extreme weather is not enough to convince climate change sceptics that humans are damaging the environment, a new study shows.

Miniature magnetic swimming devices to revolutionise diagnostics and drug delivery

Scientists have created miniature magnetic swimming devices – which mimic the appearance of sperm cells – that could revolutionise disease treatment by swimming drugs to specific areas of the body.

Weight gain from adolescence linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes

New research presented at this year’s annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Berlin, Germany, reveals that weight gain between the age of 10 and adulthood is associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk that is independent of body mass index (BMI).

‘I just don’t fancy drinking’ – Exeter study helping alcoholics

“I suppose I’d say I was high-functioning but still a problem drinker. I drank in the evenings and although I wasn’t in trouble with the police, or going broke, or getting ill, if you drink at that level, it takes a toll.”

16-24 year olds are the loneliest age group, according to new BBC Radio 4 survey

BBC Radio 4 has today announced the results of The Loneliness Experiment, a nationwide survey conducted by BBC Radio 4’s All In The Mind in collaboration with Wellcome Collection. It is the largest survey into the issue of loneliness to date.

Dog intelligence ‘not exceptional’

People who think dogs are exceptionally intelligent are barking up the wrong tree, new research shows.

Singling out “rising stars” in companies could demotivate staff, research shows

Firms who fast-track individuals to leadership positions and identify “rising stars” risk demotivating their employees, a study shows.

Why a ‘cuckoo in the nest’ can go undetected

Researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Cambridge have shed light on why some species cannot tell the difference between their own offspring and those of intruders that have been slipped into their nests.

Rare genetic disorders more complex than thought

Researchers have found that the genetic causes of rare neurodevelopmental disorders vary more than previously thought.

Microplastics found deep in sand where turtles nest

Microplastics have been found deep in the sand on beaches where sea turtles lay their eggs.

Professor adds to Health Economics expertise at Exeter

A professor who specialises in clinical trials further bolsters Exeter’s contributions to improving public healthcare.

Eye training to help children with dyspraxia

Children with a coordination disorder can improve skills like throwing and catching with new training videos developed by the University of Exeter.

Major funding to explore genomic changes in dementia

Exeter researchers will join forces with global experts to investigate the mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s disease, in a project announced on World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21).

Multi-million-pound project will put Devon at the forefront of solving global environmental and big data challenges

A £6.4 million initiative to boost Devon’s expertise in solving future global environmental and big data challenges has formally launched in Exeter - The Environmental Futures & Big Data Impact Lab (Impact Lab).

More work needed to help students make successful transitions from revised A-levels to university, study finds

The reformed A-level system is not effectively preparing students for aspects of their university studies, a new report has found.

Discovery could explain failed clinical trials for Alzheimer’s, and provide a solution

Researchers have discovered a vicious feedback loop underlying brain degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease which may explain why so many drug trials have failed.

Workshy bosses breed contempt and abuse in the workforce, research shows

Workshy bosses can promote a contemptuous attitude amongst their staff - leading to anger, frustration and abuse in the work place, new research has shown.

Remains of weapons, sandals and coins shed new light on Roman conquest of Northwest Iberia

Newly discovered remains of weapons, hobnails from sandals and coins will help experts piece together the untold story of how the Romans won control of Galicia and Northern Portugal from local tribes for the first time.

Models could own the rights to their own catwalk sashay, new analysis shows

Models could make a claim to own the rights to the recording of their sashays and struts they use on the catwalk – and should be able to make more money from their appearances during fashion shows, new legal analysis shows.

Knowing your neighbour cares about the environment encourages people to use less energy

Giving people information about how much gas or electricity their neighbours use encourages them to use less energy, research shows.

Exeter joins UK’s leading mental health experts to solve treatment challenge

The University of Exeter is part of a new collaboration which will see the country's top mental health researchers and clinicians joining forces to solve some of the greatest mental health challenges facing the UK public.

Research shows that more companies should treat diversity as part of business strategy

The majority of the UK’s largest companies have adopted policies on boardroom diversity but their reporting to stakeholders needs to improve. 

New University of Exeter Business School centre opened by Dame Ellen MacArthur

Record-breaking sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has officially marked the opening of a new centre at the University of Exeter Business School, which is dedicated to tackling some of the world’s greatest social and economic challenges.

Famous theory of the living Earth upgraded to ‘Gaia 2.0’

A time-honoured theory into why conditions on Earth have remained stable enough for life to evolve over billions of years has been given a new, innovative twist.

Disrupting genetic processes reverses ageing in human cells

Research has shed new light on genetic processes that may one day lead to the development of therapies that can slow, or even reverse, how our cells age.

One foot in the grave for pheasants that favour a side

Pheasants that more strongly favoured one foot over the other die younger than those that don’t, new research suggests.

New bacterial strain named after Cornish discovery

A new bacterial strain will be named after Cornwall following its identification from a skin infection. 

Striking increase in mental health conditions in children and young people

The proportion of children and young people saying they have a mental health condition has grown six fold in England over two decades, new research reveals.

Worms in space: The Molecular Muscle Experiment

Thousands of worms are being flown to the International Space Station later this year for scientists to understand more about spaceflight-induced muscle loss -  the first UK experiment to take place on the International Space Station.

Britain’s first ‘national’ anthem embraced Boudica and druids

The national fervour that traditionally surrounds the Last Night of the Proms would have had a very different focus if Britain’s first ‘national’ anthem was still in vogue, research has shown.

Study reveals night-time habits of captive flamingos

What do captive flamingos do at night, when their zoo or wildlife park is closed?

Peatlands will store more carbon as planet warms

Global warming will cause peatlands to absorb more carbon – but the effect will weaken as warming increases, new research suggests.

Exeter in new UK Research and Innovation Mental Health Networks

The University of Exeter is involved in two of eight new Mental Health Networks to be announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The networks will bring researchers, charities and other organisations together to address important mental health research questions.

Ancient household waste gives more clues about Devon’s Roman history

Recently discovered household waste thrown away by families thousands of years ago will provide valuable clues for archaeologists uncovering the secrets of Devon’s Iron Age, Roman, and Medieval history.

Bird bacteria study reveals evolutionary arms race

A study of a songbird and a bacterium that infects it has revealed how species in conflict evolve in response to each other.

Exeter researchers awarded nearly £1 million to target lethal lung disease

Exeter researchers have been awarded a grant of almost £1 million to develop new compounds which could treat the UK's second most common lung disease.

Victorians enjoyed rudimentary version of Netflix, new research shows

Victorian families were able to enjoy their own version of Netflix by utilising an early form of ‘pay-per-view’ entertainment to while away winter evenings, new research has found.

Burly bird gets the worm

The pecking order of garden birds is determined by their size and weight, new research shows.

Stroke doubles dementia risk, concludes large-scale study

People who have had a stroke are around twice as likely to develop dementia, according to the largest study of its kind ever conducted.

Drought increases CO2 concentration in the air

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere rises faster during drier years because struggling ecosystems absorb less carbon, new research shows.

Male and female tennis players decline at same rate

The physical abilities of male and female tennis stars decline at the same rate as they age, new research shows.

Wild dolphins learn tricks from each other

Dolphins learn tricks from each other in the wild, new research shows.

Beluga whales and narwhals go through menopause

Scientists have discovered that beluga whales and narwhals go through the menopause.

Increase in storms could have ‘catastrophic impact’ on fishing industry

Potential changes in the frequency and intensity of storms off the coast of the UK and around the world could have a “catastrophic impact” on the livelihood of fishermen and sustainability of fishing industries, research led by the University of Exeter has shown.

Scientists unravel history of lost harbour of Pisa

New insights into the evolution and eventual disappearance of Portus Pisanus, the lost harbour of Pisa, have been revealed.

Therapy that helps people with dementia maintain lifestyles rolled out

A technique that helps people with dementia see satisfying progress in achieving everyday goals that help them live their lives is now being rolled out.

The bright ways forests affect their environment

Why do forests emit the gases that give pine forests their distinctive smell? Scientists think they've found out.