Research News

The impact of zoos on society is largely underestimated

The benefits of zoos to society and local communities are largely underestimated by the wider population, new research shows.

“Ineffective” organisation of police digital forensics slowing down investigations

“Ineffective” methods of risk assessment and the processing of items for digital forensic analysis have led to police tensions and are slowing down investigations, a new study warns.

New University of Exeter tutoring scheme to boost children’s literacy

A new tutoring scheme for hundreds of children in the South West will help to boost literacy in the region.

New “Citizens Panel” tasked with improving English schools for children with SEN

Children, parents and teachers will take part in an innovative Citizens Panel tasked with improving education for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

Skateboarding represents both pollution and sustainability

Skateboarding is a “polluted” leisure activity which both harms the environment and boosts sustainability, a new study argues.

Dietary nitrate – found in beetroot juice - significantly increases muscle force during exercise

A new study has found that consuming dietary nitrate – the active molecule in beetroot juice – significantly increased muscle force while exercising.

Pheasants at risk on unfamiliar ground

Pheasants are most likely to be killed by predators on unfamiliar ground, new research shows.

University of Exeter contributes to ‘invisible disabilities’ parliamentary report

Members of the University of Exeter’s Inclusivity Project have contributed to a parliamentary briefing that highlights the challenges faced by people with invisible disabilities in education and work.

New research quantifies the 'wow' factor of sunrise and sunset for the first time

A new study has identified the impact that fleeting natural events, such as sunrises and sunsets, can have on people, and sought to quantify their effects for the first time.

Three ‘super-leverage points’ offer hope for climate breakthrough

Three “super-leverage points” could trigger a cascade of decarbonisation in sectors covering 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report presented today at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Reading project which pairs old and young boosts wellbeing among children and the elderly, analysis shows

A reading project which pairs the old and young helps to boost wellbeing among children and the elderly, analysis shows.

Exeter Scientist secures prestigious astronomy award

Dr Oliver Allanson from the University of Exeter has been recognised by the Royal Astronomical Society for early career achievements in astronomy.

Powerful research-led play exploring parent carers' experiences debuts at Exeter Phoenix

A new play based on research that explores the experiences of parents caring for disabled children is showing at Exeter Phoenix.  

Could ketamine stop problematic gambling? New study investigates

Researchers at the University of Exeter are seeking participants to investigate the effect of ketamine on gambling addictions.

Gaia helps discover directly imaged planet undergoing nuclear fusion

Scientists have used the subtle movements of a distant star to help discover a new exoplanet – which is displaying signs of undergoing nuclear fusion in its core. 

Trio of Exeter researchers appointed to new UK Young Academy under prestigious Royal Society

Three University of Exeter researchers are among the first bright minds to be appointed to the new UK Young Academy network under the prestigious Royal Society.

Forests recovering from logging act as a source of carbon

Tropical forests recovering from logging are sources of carbon for years afterwards, contrary to previous assumptions, new research shows.

Most former SpAds become “shadow lobbyists” when they leave Whitehall, major new analysis shows

Most former SpAds become ‘shadow lobbyists’ when they leave Whitehall, major new analysis of the career paths of political special advisors shows.

Exeter research in Carbon Brief’s top media papers of 2022

University of Exeter research features in Carbon Brief’s list of the most talked-about climate papers of 2022.

Research will raise awareness of women’s experiences of second trimester pregnancy loss

Women’s experiences of second-trimester pregnancy loss will be used to help improve healthcare and support as part of a new study.

New research will reveal more about how environmental education will help children’s wellbeing

New research will reveal more about how environmental education in schools and colleges can help children’s health and wellbeing.

Penalties, corruption and legislation are failing to deter harmful gas flaring in Nigeria, study shows

Legislation is failing to end gas flaring in Nigeria which is harming the environment and people’s health, a new study warns.

Former football manager with motor neurone disease appeals for others to take part in research

A dentist and former football manager whose life has changed dramatically since his ALS diagnosis has appealed with others who have the disease to join him in a new brain imaging study to help the race to find new treatments.

Medieval doctors thought fertility suddenly ended rather than slowly declining with age, study shows

Medieval doctors saw fertility as having a cut-off point rather than slowly declining with age, ancient medical texts show

Chinese Communist Party zero-covid “volunteers” have suffered from stress and anxiety, study shows

“Volunteers” tasked with enforcing the Chinese Communist Party’s zero-covid policies have suffered from stress and anxiety, a new study shows.

“Robust” amendments to insurance law and international environmental law needed to allow carbon capture, utilisation and storage

“Robust” amendments to insurance law and international environmental law are needed to allow carbon capture, utilisation and storage to take place legally so the technology can be used in the fight against global warming, a new study says.


Overshooting climate targets could significantly increase risk for tipping cascades

Temporarily overshooting climate targets of 1.5-2°C could increase the tipping risk of several Earth system elements by more than 70%, a new risk analysis shows.


Scientists turn to astrophysics to measure body clock in hospital patients

An interdisciplinary team led by University of Manchester scientists has adapted a technique originally developed to analyse data from stars to devise a way of accurately measuring the human body clock in hospital patients.

Sir Michael Barber to chair work to improve life prospects across the South-West

Sir Michael Barber, a world-renowned expert on government delivery, will chair the newly created South-West Social Mobility Commission, it was announced today.

Ultra-strong ‘threads’ made of proteins help tiny organisms live in boiling acid

Scientists have discovered a new chain-like structure that helps single-celled organisms survive in the sulfur-rich hot acid springs of Yellowstone National Park in the USA. 

Harmful fungal toxins in wheat: A growing threat across Europe

Harmful fungal toxins are on the rise in Europe’s wheat and affect almost half of crops, according to a new study.

Children and young people need lessons in building strong relationships to counteract negative role models and “Disneyfied” portrayals of love, experts say

Children should get lessons in school on how to build strong relationships to counteract negative role models and any “Disneyfied” portrayals of love they are exposed to, experts have said.

Heat network customers need action now to protect them from “devastating” unregulated price rises and reliability issues

Heat network customers need action now to protect them from the potentially devastating consequences of unregulated price rises and reliability issues, an expert has warned.

Plastic pollution kills sea urchin larvae

Sea urchin larvae raised in high levels of plastic pollution die due to developmental abnormalities, new research shows.

Economic behaviour not influenced by gender or biological sex, study finds

Gender and sex assigned at birth are not as decisive in economic decision-making as previously thought, a new study finds.

New study finds logged tropical forests are surprisingly vibrant and need protection

Logging affects many of the world’s tropical forests, and such forests are often considered degraded because they have lost vegetation structure, biomass and carbon stocks.

University academic wins prestigious national book prize for ‘provocative’ analysis of God

God: An Anatomy, written by Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Religion, has won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize 2022.

£1 million NIHR funding for new Exeter blood pressure research initiative

A million-pound grant from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) will fund ground-breaking research that aims to deepen knowledge about blood pressure in older people, with a view to identifying disease earlier.

£2.4million to fund largest-ever trial of ketamine-assisted therapy for alcohol disorder

A new £2.4 million phase III trial delivered across seven NHS sites across the UK will investigate whether ketamine-assisted therapy could help alcoholics stay off alcohol for longer.

Fossil site reveals giant arthropods dominated the seas 470 million years ago

Discoveries at a major new fossil site in Morocco suggest giant arthropods – relatives of modern creatures including shrimps, insects and spiders – dominated the seas 470 million years ago.

New research finds that social group values are most readable in the way we write

Linguistic style can offer a clearer insight into the value and principles of a social group compared to what they say about themselves.

Connecting Late Antiquities: new project launched to create digital resources to aid research into one of history’s most iconic eras

The fall of the Roman Empire will be the focus of the two-year AHRC-funded project bringing together Exeter, University of London and the University of Bonn.

Mental health support for farmers needs radical overhaul, say researchers

Mental health services in rural areas need urgent attention to ensure the needs of farmers are properly met, according to researchers.

People respond more intuitively to spoken language and more analytically when reading

Opinion poll or survey results could potentially change depending on whether respondents are provided with spoken or written information, new research suggests. 

Arts and humanities vital in national crises concludes COVID‐19 pandemic report

National research project unique in depth, breath and focus, delivers its report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the role that arts and humanities research had on social inclusion and national wellbeing.

Modified CVs can help working mothers mind the employment gap

New research explores practical ways to overcome the bias faced by job seekers as they try to re-enter the workforce following a career break.

Rhino conservation in Nepal creates a burden for communities, infrastructure and other species, study warns

Efforts to conserve rhinos in Nepal have put a burden on communities, infrastructure and other wildlife in Nepal, a new study warns.

Let the patient choose their type 2 diabetes medication says research study

A largescale new study offers a new approach to treating in type 2 diabetes - that puts patients in charge of their own medication. 

Academics unite to call for action on reducing pollution from pharmaceuticals

Academics from across the University of Exeter and other universities and industry sector call for action on reducing pharmaceutical pollution.

Reliable planning tool for the emissions path to achieving the Paris temperature goal

Researchers have developed a new method for the successive calculation of the emission reductions which are necessary for achieving temperature targets, such as the 2°C goal.

Underwater footage reveals sharks’ flexible feeding skills

Underwater cameras have revealed the impressive range of skills nurse sharks use when feeding.

World Aids Day: Crowdfunder launched for lifesaving research into deadly meningitis in HIV

A new University of Exeter crowdfunder has been launched in time for World Aids Day (Thursday December 1), to fund vital research and education aimed at stopping all deaths from a form of meningitis that is deadly to those living with HIV by 2030.

Businesses need more guidance to protect and restore the natural world

The majority of UK businesses have plans to address their impact on biodiversity and nature loss, but a lack of guidance and sharing of best practice are barriers to progress, a new report reveals.

New research article reveals the scale of manual graft needed to keep ‘the cloud’ aloft

Dr Alexander R.E. Taylor visited internet data centres to learn of the human effort it takes to keep the cloud aloft.

Female monkeys ‘actively reduce’ social network as they age

Female rhesus macaques “actively reduce” their social networks and prioritise friends and family as they get older, new research shows.

New research identifies how public service media organisations can lead the way in creating a responsible approach to algorithmic recommendations

A new report, published by the Ada Lovelace Institute and co-authored by Dr Silvia Milano from the University of Exeter, explores the development and use of recommendation systems in public service media organisations in the UK and Europe.  

One in four older teens now has a probable mental health disorder, new research shows

One in four 17-19-year-olds now has a probable mental health disorder – up from one in six last year.

Historian captures Queen Elizabeth II’s Exeter legacy in new book

The late Queen Elizabeth II's 11 visits to the city of Exeter are captured in a new book by Devon historian Dr Todd Gray MBE.

Skateboarding continues to be subversive despite being part of mainstream competitions such as the Olympics, researchers say

Skateboarding continues to be unkempt, subversive and tacitly political despite inclusion in mainstream competitions like the Olympics, experts have said.

Misinformation tool measures exposure to false claims by political elites

Researchers have developed a new tool to measure Twitter users’ exposure to misinformation from political elites.

All areas of UK should have dedicated 'Food Policy' office, experts tell MPs

All UK local authorities should have a dedicated “Food Policy” office to encourage healthier diets and sustainability, experts have told MPs.

University of Exeter to host British Science Festival 2023

The British Science Association (BSA) and the University of Exeter are pleased to announce that the British Science Festival will take place in Exeter across four days next September.

Childhood poverty impacts wellbeing in middle-age, study shows

Experiencing poverty in childhood has a particular impact on wellbeing in adulthood around middle-age, according to new research.

Primate study ties importance of social environment to molecular markers of age in the brain

As people age, maintaining a positive and predictable social environment becomes more and more important.

Dieback of the Amazon rainforest under climate change in the latest Earth System Models

Dieback of the Amazon rainforest has long been touted as a possible climate tipping point, even though only a small minority of Earth System Models were projecting dieback. 

Underwater tsunamis created by glacier calving cause vigorous ocean mixing

Scientists on a research vessel in Antarctica watched the front of a glacier disintegrate and their measurements “went off the scale”.

First pandemic young people’s mental health review says service demand will rise

The first comprehensive study to evaluate research on the mental health of children and young people using evidence that spanned before and during COVID-19 has found an impact on mental health that could result in an increased demand for support services.

Egyptian lagoon vital to Cyprus turtles

The number of green turtles breeding in Cyprus has risen in recent years – but this bounce-back depends heavily on an Egyptian lagoon where many turtles feed, new research shows.

New technology maps movement of microscopic algae, crucial to ocean health

The movement patterns of microscopic algae can be mapped in greater detail than ever before, giving new insights into ocean health, thanks to new technology developed at the University of Exeter.

£2.6 million to fund largest ever study into social prescribing for dementia

A new study will investigate how social prescribing could be used in promoting a higher quality of life for people living with dementia. 

Scientists unravel mysteries of exoplanet atmosphere

Scientists using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have secured a major breakthrough in the quest to unravel the mysteries of the atmospheres of distant planets – a molecular and chemical profile of the exoplanet WASP-39b. 

Recognition of Kurdish rights by Persian protestors key to fundamental change in Iran

Fundamental change in Iran is only possible if there is recognition of Kurdish rights by Persian communities, an expert has said.

Guidance for solicitors on reporting serious misconduct is legally deficient and lacks clarity, experts warm

Current guidance for solicitors on reporting serious misconduct is legally deficient and lacks clarity, experts have warned.

Prestigious European research grants set to fund projects on disability-inclusive climate adaptation and women in philosophy

European Research Council Starter Grants totalling 3,000,000 Euros awarded to two Exeter academics

University of Exeter teaching resources for KS4 and KS5 pupils to bust myths around ‘common law marriage’ awarded PSHE Association Quality Mark

University of Exeter resources designed to help children learn at school about the legal consequences when relationships break down have been awarded the PSHE Association’s Quality Mark.

Exeter awarded £14 million for antimicrobial resistance research to fight “next global pandemic"

The University of Exeter and collaborators have recently been awarded £14 million for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research – widely acknowledged as the “next global pandemic”

Exeter experts react to COP27

Researchers from the University of Exeter have given their views on the COP27 climate change conference.

Exeter Hip: history, science, and future of world-leading hip implant explored at museum event

Members of the public can learn about the history and science behind the life-changing Exeter Hip in a talk at Exeter’s largest museum.

Electric pulses save sharks from fishing hooks

Gadgets that emit small electrical pulses can drastically cut the number of sharks and stingrays caught accidentally on fishing lines, new research shows.

University of Exeter Business School wins THE Business School of the Year in industry “Oscars”

The University of Exeter Business School has been named Business School of the Year in the 2022 Times Higher Education Awards, known as the “Oscars” of higher education.

Learn about the spicy history of the chilli plant at hot chocolate-themed Exeter event

The hot and spicy history of the chilli plant will be on the menu as part of a special hot chocolate-themed event in Exeter.

Increased engagement with local communities could encourage a better sense of belonging among students

Dr Richard Vytniorgu, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, has written a policy note for the Higher Education Policy Institute on the issue of student belonging.

Little objective evidence to show effectiveness of learner-centred teaching methods, study warns

There is currently relatively little objective evidence that the much-promoted “learner-centred” approach to teaching is effective, according to new research.

Little objective evidence to show effectiveness of learner-centred teaching methods, study warns

There is currently relatively little objective evidence that the much-promoted “learner-centred” approach to teaching is effective, according to new research.

Exeter researchers recognised in global rankings

Twenty-one researchers from the University of Exeter have been recognised as leading experts in Clarivate’s annual highly cited researchers list.

Pension clawback adversely affected women and those with disabilities, analysis shows

Pension clawbacks have adversely affected women and those with disabilities, new analysis shows.

Artificial Intelligence can help companies better serve all shareholders, study recommends

Artificial intelligence can help reduce “short-termism” in companies and help firms better serve all shareholders, a new study recommends.

No sign of decrease in global CO2 emissions

Global carbon emissions in 2022 remain at record levels – with no sign of the decrease that is urgently needed to limit warming to 1.5°C, according to the Global Carbon Project science team.

‘Climate activism is everywhere – and not just on the streets,’ claim authors of new book

 A new book documents the ‘transformation’ of climate activism, arguing it has gone beyond the streets to exist in new and unexpected forms.

Children motivated by morality rather than social norms when it comes to the question of eating animals

Concenrs over animal welfare the chief driver of children's attitudes to meat-eating

Iranian regime “doubling down” on media manipulation in response to recent protests, analysis shows

The Iranian regime is “doubling down” on the manipulation of media in response to recent protests to create armed conflict between different ethnic groups, an expert has warned.

Ambition to succeed despite adversity motivates people from diverse backgrounds to pursue legal careers, study shows

A desire to succeed despite adversity motivates people to pursue a legal career, but barriers caused by finances and careers advice are obstacles, a new study suggests.

Alumni from Britain’s top girls’ public schools 20 times more likely to reach elite positions

Unique 120-year historical analysis of Who’s Who reveals that private girls’ schools have a propulsive effect on the trajectories of women to elite positions - but not the extent that leading private boys' schools do so with men.

New analysis shows “dire” supply and affordability gaps for housing in Cornwall

New analysis shows “dire” supply and affordability gaps for housing in Cornwall

Biodiversity economics research programme awarded £1m

A research project that will help the UK meet its biodiversity commitments and improve understanding of the effectiveness of biodiversity policies has been awarded a £1 million grant from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

New research to discover more about the “invisible community” of academics who have spent time in care

New research will reveal more about the largely invisible community of academics who spent time in care when they were children.

Exeter researcher receives prestigious Celebrating Impact Prize

A University of Exeter researcher has been named among the winners of the 2022 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) prizes.

University of Exeter at COP27 climate talks

A wide range of University of Exeter research and projects will feature at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt.

New way of exploring causes of rare condition could spare angst for families like Tilly’s

As a toddler, Tilly Douglas’s blood sugar was so variable that she would sometimes have to be on a feeding tube while eating – and would still experience dangerously low blood sugar levels within an hour. She was a regular resident at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

500 million year-old fossils reveal answer to evolutionary riddle

An exceptionally well-preserved collection of fossils discovered in eastern Yunnan Province, China, has enabled scientists to solve a centuries-old riddle in the evolution of life on earth, revealing what the first animals to make skeletons looked like. The results have been published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Regional Ambassador appointed to promote space industry in the South West

Grant Day appointed to inaugural position

Textiles industry faces ‘legislative challenges’ to clean growth, report finds

Businesses that make new products from old clothing and waste textiles face ‘legislative challenges’ that stop them from selling their products, a new report finds.

‘Summit meeting' set for South West’s artistic community

The Creative Peninsula Summit set for the Eden Project on 18-19 November

New principles to encourage transparency and prevent greenwashing in financial sector

New practical principles will encourage transparency and prevent greenwashing in the financial sector.