Research News

Telling people not to ‘down’ drinks could make them drink more

Campaigns designed to stop young people “bolting” drinks can make them more likely to do it, new research suggests. 

Smart doll uses ‘espionage’ powers for education

A controversial “smart doll” has been reprogrammed to enlighten adults rather than potentially spying on children.

Evolved masculine and feminine behaviour can be inherited from social environment – not just from genes

The different ways men and women behave, passed down from generation to generation, can be inherited from our social environment – not just from genes, experts have suggested.

‘Inefficient’ sailing fleet keeps oyster fishery alive

Oyster stocks in a Cornish fishery are sustained thanks to “inefficient” traditional fishing methods, new research suggests.

Commuters could help cut Exeter congestion

City commuters could play a pivotal role in helping curb traffic congestion in and around Exeter, thanks to a pioneering initiative.

New children’s books mix storytelling and science

Birds and turtles are common enough on the pages of children’s books – but what about bacteria or psyllids (otherwise known as jumping plant lice)?

Hubble Detects Exoplanet with Glowing Water Atmosphere

Scientists have found the strongest evidence to date for a stratosphere on an enormous planet outside our solar system, with an atmosphere hot enough to boil iron.

How to keep your brain sharp in older age

New research from the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) has revealed which mentally engaging activities best keep the brain sharp.

Riding the wave: pioneering research tames Nanoquakes

Researchers from the University of Exeter have pioneered a new technique to control high frequency sound waves, commonly found within everyday devices such as mobile phones.

University and leading British surf brand seek wetsuit recycler

A pioneering inventor is being sought to create recycled and recyclable wetsuits.

Children to explore natural world at Science in the Square

Budding nature-lovers will be taken on a voyage of discovery to find out how animals have evolved to deal with friends and foe, at a special interactive event.

Boat noise disrupts fish co-operation

Noise from motorboats changes the behaviour of cleaner fish and the species they help.

How camouflaged birds decide where to blend in

Animals that rely on camouflage can choose the best places to conceal themselves based on their individual appearance, new research shows.

Can singing help overcome impact of strokes?

Researchers are seeking volunteers to help study the benefits of singing groups for people with a communication disorder associated with strokes.

Grown-up gannets find favourite fishing grounds

Like humans, some birds can spend years learning and exploring before developing more settled habits. 

Moth larvae testing firm wins grant

A spinout company, which provides moth larvae for use in scientific testing – reducing the need for tests on mice and rats – has won a £100,000 grant.

Men were diagnosed as infertile in medieval times – and recipes drawn up to cure them, research shows

Men could be held responsible for the failure to produce children as far back as medieval times, a new study of medical and religious texts has shown.

Dementia researchers raise thousands for Alzheimer’s Society in epic bike challenge

Five researchers at the University of Exeter have pedalled from London to Paris, raising thousands of pounds for Alzheimer’s Society.

Exeter researcher wins prestigious diabetes research award

An Exeter researcher has just been awarded £362,337 from leading charity Diabetes UK to understand if certain genes can protect people from developing Type 2 diabetes.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

Supporting coastal communities in Southeast Asia

A group of UK researchers have been awarded funding to help support coastal communities in East and South East Asia that depend on healthy and diverse marine ecosystems.

Exclusion from school can trigger long-term psychiatric illness

Excluding children from school may lead to long- term psychiatric problems and psychological distress, a study of thousands of children has shown.

Sea temperature changes contributing to droughts

Fluctuations in sea surface temperature are a factor in causing persistent droughts, research suggests. 

One minute of running per day associated with better bone health in women

A single minute of exercise each day is linked to better bone health in women, new research shows. 

‘No solid evidence’ for biopesticide-diarrhoea link

A report commissioned by EU food regulators wrongly linked a highly effective biopesticide with diarrhoea in humans, an expert says.

Scientists shed new light on the complex and intricate processes that help the body combat stress

Scientists have developed a pioneering new approach to reveal how the body releases hormones in order to combat stress.

People with dementia benefit from goal-oriented therapy

Personalised cognitive rehabilitation therapy can help people with early stage dementia significantly improve their abilities.

One social hour a week in dementia care improves lives and saves money

Person-centred activities combined with just one hour a week of social interaction can improve quality of life in care homes.

Daily crosswords linked to sharper brain in later life

The more regularly people report doing word puzzles such as crosswords, the better their brain function in later life, a large-scale and robust online trial has found.

Clownfish males become fierce females if their ‘wife’ is eaten

Male clownfish, immortalised in the film Finding Nemo, change sex completely if their female mate is eaten or dies, research by marine biologists shows.

Squirrels have long memory for problem solving

Squirrels can remember problem-solving techniques for long periods and can apply them to new situations, researchers have discovered.

Exeter secures EPSRC grant to revolutionise wireless technologies

The University of Exeter has received a multi-million pound research grant to pioneer new techniques and materials to control and manipulate electromagnetic and acoustic energy.

One in three cases of dementia could be prevented by targeting risk factors from childhood onwards

One in three cases of dementia could be potentially prevented if brain health is improved throughout life.

Experience sights of ancient Exeter using virtual reality

People can step back in time and experience what it would have been like to live among the crowded streets of Georgian Exeter thanks to virtual reality.

Football boosts bone development in boys

Playing football can improve bone development in adolescent boys, new research shows.

Research looks into whether sea spray is losing its sparkle

Pioneering new research has given a fresh insight into the crucial role that sea spray plays in climate change.

Interactive family events to give public fascinating insight into space weather

People of all ages will be given a fascinating insight into the future of pioneering space weather research, during a special series of interactive events, later this month.

Child’s portions of fish and chips on menu as fish shrink

Sea-bass and sardines to replace cod because of climate change.

Research reveals West Antarctic Ice Sheet loss over the last 11,000 years

Wind-driven incursions of warm water have forced the retreat of glaciers in West Antarctica over the last millennia, new research has revealed.

Research shortfall on common form of dementia highlighted

New research has highlighted the scarcity of evidence on the prognosis of dementia with Lewy bodies.

Bowel cancer diagnosis delayed by other illness

A new study revealed that additional serious long-term health conditions, such as heart disease, can push a bowel cancer diagnosis back by up to twenty six days.

Research could give insight into genetic basis of the human muscle disease, myopathy

Pioneering research using the tropical zebrafish could provide new insights into the genetic basis of myopathy, a type of human muscle disease.

A fifth of male fish in UK rivers now ‘trans-gender’ due to chemicals in human waste

Anti-depressants flushed down the loo reduce natural shyness in fish.

Devon cohabiting couples needed to help researchers uncover the secret of finding life-long love

Devon cohabiting couples can help experts uncover the secret of finding life-long love by taking part in a University of Exeter research project.

Hydrogen peroxide protects plants against sun damage

Plants use hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to control how their cells react to varying levels of light, new research shows.

Aspirin reduces risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women

Extensive study offers ‘definitive proof’ of improved outcomes in high-risk pregnancies.

Rare archaeological find could be the first time unique pottery seen in the South West

Archaeologists excavating a site where Iron Age, Roman, and early medieval communities lived for more than a thousand years have unearthed pottery believed to have never been seen before in the South West.

Monitoring changes in wetland extent can help predict the rate of climate change

Monitoring changes to the amount of wetlands in regions where permafrost is thawing should be at the forefront of efforts to predict future rates of climate change, new research shows.

Ape expert joins War for the Planet of the Apes Q&A

A real-life primate expert joined stars of new film War for the Planet of the Apes for a Q&A with journalists.

Two Exeter diabetes researchers recognised as “Rising Stars”

Two researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School have been recognised as rising stars in diabetes research.

Starting school young can put child wellbeing at risk

New research has shown that the youngest pupils in each school year group could be at risk.

Soapbox Science returns to Exeter

Ever wondered what happens in your brain when you eat chocolate? Or whether Nemo’s dad should’ve been less worried about finding his son and more concerned about ocean acidification?

One year on from the EU referendum, Brexit voters describe themselves as middle class, educated but dissatisfied with life

A year since the vote to leave the European Union, new research has found that Brexit voters are more likely to describe themselves as middle class, educated and fed up, rather than angry and working class.

Role aerosols play in climate change unlocked by spectacular Icelandic volcanic eruption

Cloud systems “well buffered” against aerosol changes in the atmosphere, research shows.

Top scientist to talk climate change at Glastonbury

Glastonbury festivalgoers can look forward to a heady mix of Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry – and a lesson on climate change from a top scientist.

Ancient Devon community had a taste for exotic food and drink

Devon farmers who made their home in the same remote location for 1,200 years had a taste for exotic imported food and drink, archaeologists have found.

Drowsy dormice doze into decline

Britain’s population of hazel dormice has declined by more than 70%, new research shows.

Hiding true self harms career and sense of belonging

Hiding your true self at work can damage your career and reduce your sense of belonging in the workplace, a new study suggests.

£2 million for Exeter Centre of Excellence in dementia care research

Alzheimer’s Society has announced today that it has committed almost £2million to the University of Exeter.

Living Systems Institute a double winner at 2017 Michelmores Property Awards

The University of Exeter’s flagship Living Systems Institute (LSI) secured two accolades at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Volcanic eruptions triggered dawn of the dinosaurs, research shows

Huge pulses of volcanic activity are likely to have played a key role in triggering the end Triassic mass extinction, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, new research has found.

‘BEEHAVE’ project wins innovation award

A project which helps protect bees has won the 2017 BBSRC Innovator of the Year award for Social Impact.  

New technique could revolutionise manufacturing of vital safety equipment

An innovative new technique to use graphene to produce the ultimate photodetectors could revolutionise the manufacturing of vital safety equipment, such as radiation and smoke detection units.

Exeter’s world diabetes expert awarded CBE

A world-leading expert diabetes has been awarded the CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Ancient city found in Ethiopia sheds new light on country’s history

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient, forgotten city in Ethiopia once thought to be the home of giants.

Secret of why jewel scarab beetles look like pure gold, explained by physicists

‘All that glitters is not gold’, finds research programme into way jewel beetles reflect light.

£800,000 to develop life-saving heel-prick test for babies with diabetes

Exeter’s world-leading diabetes experts have been awarded more than £800,000 to develop a test for babies with neonatal diabetes.

Visiting virtual beach improves patient experiences during dental procedures.

Imagine walking along a South Devon beach on a lovely day. The waves are lapping on the shore, rabbits are scurrying in the undergrowth, and the bells of the local church are mingling with the calls of the seagulls.

Extraordinary travel journal sheds new light on pre-World War I Germany

An extraordinary travel journal discovered by a University of Exeter academic sheds new light on life in Europe before it was changed forever by World War I.

Climate change risk for animals living in prime conditions

Animals living in areas where conditions are ideal for their species have less chance of evolving to cope with climate change, new research suggests.

Exeter engineering expert secures prestigious international award

A materials scientist from the University of Exeter has been bestowed with a prestigious international award.

Cornwall cats needed for behaviour study

Where does your cat go when it leaves the house? What does it eat?

Late-nesting birds and bees face habitat threat

Bird and bumblebee species that nest late in the year are suffering more from the destruction of habitats, new research suggests.

GW4 Alliance to unveil cutting-edge microscopy facility

A shared microscopy facility will lead to a better understanding of human health and disease at a molecular level.

Exeter retains strong position in influential league table

The University of Exeter has retained its strong position in the QS World University Rankings.

Older adults under-referred for mental health therapies

A large research study from the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter has revealed that older people are not being referred for mental health support nearly as frequently as their younger counterparts.

Exeter hosts IPCC meeting on the 1.5°C Global Warming target

Some of the world’s leading climate scientists are gathering in Exeter for a high-profile event to examine the impact, significance and implications of global warming, in relation to the Paris Agreement 2015.

New website to help voters make General Election choice

Voters struggling to decide where to put their mark on the ballot paper in the General Election can get advice from a new website which allows them to compare promises made by politicians.

Universities of Exeter and Queensland cement new global impact partnership

The University of Exeter and The University of Queensland (UQ) have reinforced their relationship by cementing a new multi-million pound partnership designed to bolster their joint global research impact.

Public confused by climate change messages

Experts, charities, the media and government confuse the public by speaking “different languages” on climate change.

First archaeological survey of Exeter Cathedral Green for a generation to take place

The first full-scale archaeological survey of Exeter’s Cathedral Green is taking place as experts try to find out what secrets still lie beneath the ground in the ancient area.

Pollution ‘devastating’ China’s vital ecosystem, research shows

The startling extent to which man-made pollution is devastating China’s vital ecosystem’s ability to offset damaging carbon emissions has been revealed.

Walk-in camera obscura and giant pop-up book part of family fun at the University of Exeter

Children can enjoy exploring a walk-in camera obscura and a giant pop-up book at a free family day at the University of Exeter.

Women ‘damned either way’ on maternity leave

Women are judged negatively if they choose to take maternity leave – and if they don’t – new research suggests.

Global schools programme provides ‘inoculation against extremist violence’, academics find

The Tony Blair Institute’s global dialogue programme makes teenagers more resilient to recruitment by extremists.

Newly discovered notes show Venetian physician had a key role in shaping early modern chemistry

Newly discovered notes show the Venetian doctor who invented the thermometer and helped lay the foundations for modern medical treatment also played a key role in shaping our understanding of chemistry.

Summer rainfall in vulnerable African region can be predicted

Summer rainfall in one of the world’s most drought-prone regions can now be predicted months or years in advance, climate scientists at the Met Office and the University of Exeter say.

Teachers who write themselves can boost children’s confidence in creative writing

Giving teachers time and support to become creative writers has helped them motivate their students, according to the findings of a two-year research project.

Planting trees ‘not viable alternative’ to cutting emissions

Growing plants to capture CO2 is not a viable way to curb climate change, a new study shows.

Raised blood platelet levels ‘strong predictor’ of cancer

Having a high blood platelet count is a strong predictor of cancer and should be urgently investigated to save lives, according to a large-scale study.

Rules for space warfare to be drawn up

An international coalition of lawyers is to draft the first ever legal manual of space warfare.

Exeter researchers unite and take on 350 mile cycle challenge to defeat dementia

A team of six passionate dementia researchers from the University of Exeter are uniting against dementia and cycling 350 miles from London to Paris in a bid to raise £12,000 for the charity Alzheimer’s Society.

Five ways people can act on dementia

Five ways people can act on dementia, backed by research

Hay fever map of Britain published to help sufferers avoid hotspots

Admissions to hospital for asthma spike days after high pollen counts.

Antarctica ‘greening’ due to climate change

Plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change, scientists have found.

Computer game could help children choose healthy food

A simple brain-training game could help children choose healthy snacks instead of chocolate and sweets, according to a new study.

University retains global position in influential rankings

The University of Exeter has reinforced its position amongst the leading universities both nationally and internationally, according to the latest influential global rankings.

Social ties help animals live longer

Large families and strong social ties help animals live longer, new research suggests.

Scientists take first tentative steps to explore potential climate of Proxima B

The quest to discover whether a planet orbiting our closest neighbouring star, Proxima Centauri, has the potential to support life has taken a new, exhilarating twist.

Exeter researchers help protect Peru’s river dolphins

Peru's river dolphins will get new protection thanks to a plan developed with help from the University of Exeter.

Forget sharp suits and shoulder pads – good leaders should only look like their staff

Forget sharp suits and shoulder pads – for most employees the ideal leader actually looks exactly like them, not the designer-clad employer often portrayed in TV or films, according to a new study.

Ethical business practice can flourish in nations with serious corruption problems, research shows

Ethical business practice can flourish even in countries with widespread corporate corruption problems, research shows.

Vice-President of Royal Society visits University of Exeter

One of the UK’s leading scientists has praised the “energy, commitment and enthusiasm” of researchers at the University of Exeter, during a special visit.

Jurassic drop in ocean oxygen lasted a million years

Dramatic drops in oceanic oxygen, which cause mass extinctions of sea life, come to a natural end – but it takes about a million years.

Primitive atmosphere discovered around ‘Warm Neptune’

A pioneering new study uncovering the ‘primitive atmosphere’ surrounding a distant world could provide a pivotal breakthrough in the search to how planets form and develop in far-flung galaxies.

Pint of Science Exeter to take local science breakthroughs to city pubs

Experts from the University of Exeter and the Met Office will bring their research out of the laboratory and into city watering holes, as the world's largest festival of public science talks arrives in Exeter.

Brexit negotiations crucial for future UK energy supplies and nuclear safeguards

Energy policy offers the UK and EU an important opportunity to develop new models of partnership and common ground imperative to the UK’s future, according to a new Chatham House paper.

No evidence that enrichment activities encourage pupils to study STEM A-levels, research finds

There is no evidence to suggest enrichment activities run to interest pupils in science, technology, engineering and maths results in significantly higher numbers of teenagers studying these subjects at A-level.

Low levels of ‘memory protein’ linked to cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s Disease

Research has discovered that low levels of the protein NPTX2 in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s may change the pattern of neural activity in ways that lead to learning and memory loss.

Global warming kills gut bacteria in lizards

Climate change could threaten reptiles by reducing the number of bacteria living in their guts, new research suggests.

Insecticide-resistant flies ‘rubbish’ at courting females

Insecticide resistance sounds like a superpower for the average male fruit fly – but there’s a catch.

Volunteers needed to help save ‘less popular’ species

Which species would you save from extinction: Elephants or newts? Toads or tigers?

‘Good vibrations’ no longer needed for speakers as new research encourages graphene to talk

A pioneering new technique that encourages the wonder material graphene to “talk” could revolutionise the global audio and telecommunications industries.

Students award for Medical Sciences research community

The Medical School’s Medical Sciences programme has been voted Subject with the ‘Best Research Community’ at the University of Exeter Students Guild Teaching Awards.

UEFA should better support football clubs playing in the Europa League, research shows

UEFA should review the money it gives football clubs who participate in the Europa League because of the financial and logistical difficulties caused by playing in the competition, an expert has said.

Environment and Sustainability Institute appoints new Director

Professor Juliet Osborne has been appointed as the new Director of the University of Exeter’s flagship Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI).

Mongoose pups conceal identity to survive

Young mongooses may conceal their identity – even from their own parents – to survive.

Light pollution has serious impact on coastal wildlife, research shows

Scientists have recognised for some years that light pollution is a growing phenomenon that impacts on the behaviour and success of many animals.

Shortage of essential diphtheria treatment drugs needs international action, experts warn

International action is needed to tackle a global shortage of medicine which could hinder the ability of doctors to treat diphtheria, experts have warned.

New population of endangered cats found in Borneo

A new population of an endangered and elusive cat species has been found in Borneo.

Research-based healing exhibition at Musgrove Park

An exhibition on healing will bring together people’s experiences of physical and mental mending as part of a research project.

BBC broadcast information about Britain’s military setbacks to win hearts and minds in Germany during World War II

The BBC transmitted news about Britain’s military setbacks during World War II to Germany as part of a sophisticated operation to win hearts and minds and combat Nazi propaganda, new research shows.

Banded mongooses target family members for eviction

Banded mongooses target close female relatives when violently ejecting members from their social groups, University of Exeter scientists have found.

Fans to relive Exeter City history as team battles for promotion

Forget just cheering on from the stands - football fans can explore the unique history of Exeter City through a new documentary as players embark on a promotion battle.

A third of emergency cancer patients haven't seen their GP

Around one third (34%) of cancer patients diagnosed as an emergency had not consulted their doctor beforehand, according to a Cancer Research UK funded study published today (Tuesday) in the British Journal of General Practice.

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.

Cornwall physicist lives the same day twice in global speaking tour

A University of Exeter professor has gone round the world in 39 days to promote the importance of physics.

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.

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.