Research News

Net zero policies are ‘emperor’s new clothes’, academics warn

Net zero targets are a “fantasy” that often just protect “business as usual”, a leading expert in environment and sustainability has said. 

App boosts Amazon tree project

A new app will help small-scale farmers grow trees and earn a living in deforested parts of the Amazon.

Common antidepressant should no longer be used to treat people with dementia

A drug used to treat agitation in people with dementia is no more effective than a placebo.

Visiting Lourdes results in a transcendent experience for two in five pilgrims, study finds

Two in five Pilgrims who visit Lourdes report having a transcendent experience, researchers have found.

Essay examines the history of petrochemicals and their impact on global geopolitics

All aspects of people’s lives are now bound to a “seemingly unlimited supply of cheap and readily disposable” petrochemicals, a new essay argues.

Few parents aware excessive praise is not good for children’s learning, new study shows

Few parents are aware praising children too much can harm their learning, a new study shows.

Experts to track impact of inspirational charity connecting old and young through reading

Education experts are working to pilot the impact of an inspirational charity which connects old and young through reading.

The mystery of horse domestication decoded at last - success of modern horses due to genetic changes which led to more docile behaviour and an improved back

Modern horses owe most of their success to genetic changes which led to more docile behaviour and an improved back, a new study shows.

Tool to guide local health policy amid climate change shortlisted for COP26 Climate Challenge Cup

A simple tool to help organisations use the latest evidence to adapt to climate change in ways that benefit human health has been shortlisted for the international Climate Challenge Cup.

Portrayals of same-sex couples in Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice as “bromances” is a missed opportunity to challenge assumptions, study argues

Same-sex dancing partnerships on reality TV shows have downplayed sexual and romantic intimacy on the dancefloor in favour of portrayals of “bromances”, a study argues.

Despite the farming community facing significant mental and physical health challenges, more than 50 per cent remain optimistic about the future of their farm businesses

RABI’s Big Farming Survey results have revealed that despite the farming community facing significant mental and physical health challenges, more than 50% remain optimistic about the future of their farm businesses. 

Report highlights opportunities to mitigate climate change to promote human health

A new report involving an Exeter expert shows how action to mitigate climate chance could promote human health.

Research on detecting cancer in primary care wins RCGP Research Paper of the Year award

University of Exeter have won the 2020 Research Paper of the Year for Clinical Research, awarded by the Royal College of General Practitioners, for their paper on detecting cancers in primary care.

DNA reveals how ice ages affected African rainforests

Tree DNA has revealed how African rainforests responded to past climate change including ice ages, new research shows.

Leprosy confirmed in wild chimpanzees

Leprosy has been found in wild chimpanzees for the first time, a new study reveals.

Research brings scientists a step closer to harnessing viruses to fight antibiotic resistance

As antibiotics increasingly develop resistance, scientists have moved a step closer to harnessing viruses as an alternative form of therapy.

Rewilding efforts in England are “domesticated” and of a smaller scale compared to efforts in other nations, study argues

A unique “domesticated” form of English rewilding is now emerging, which is distinct from activities in other parts of the world where there are lower levels of human intervention, a new study argues.

Climate denial and scientific discoveries 'emerged simultaneously'

Denial of climate science emerged simultaneously with key scientific discoveries about humanity's impact on our planet, according to a new book.

Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation partner with University of Exeter in £2.3 million programme to support environmental leadership in Africa

A six-year programme to research land management and ecosystem resilience in Africa was initiated in October 2021 thanks to philanthropic support from the Oppenheimer Generations Research and Conservation.

Devon's Climate Assembly shows the way to a net-zero future

The Devon Climate Assembly has developed and voted in support of a range of measures that if implemented would significantly cut carbon emissions across the county.

New book provides fresh insights on dramatic Star Wars battles

People can explore epic Star Wars battles in an innovative new way through an entertaining book which gives fresh insights on the famous films, animation, books, and comics

University of Exeter expert advises on Imperial War Museums’ ground-breaking new Second World War and Holocaust exhibition

A University of Exeter expert has helped to develop the Imperial War Museums’ ground-breaking new Second World War exhibition.

Crucial benefits of vital moorland restoration works revealed

The crucial benefits of vital moorland restoration works; enhancing carbon storage, improving water storage and providing good quality water, have been revealed through a pioneering collaborative research project. 

Climatic impacts of black carbon aerosols over South-East Atlantic underestimated, research shows

The full magnitude of the impact of smoke from seasonal fires in Central Africa is underestimated by some climate models over the South-East Atlantic, new research has shown.  

Report calls for urgent action to address alarming lack of diversity in climate change decision making less than a month before COP26 begins

A new report has revealed extremely low levels of ethnically diverse and equal gender representation in the debate around tackling climate change in Bristol.

Could outdoor experiences help people with schizophrenia or psychosis?

With World Mental Health Day on 10 October, researchers at University of Exeter are calling for participants to take part in two studies investigating whether outdoor experiences can help people with schizophrenia or psychosis.

Exeter-led team receives national funding to roll-out innovative rehab programme

Healthcare professionals will be trained to deliver an award-winning programme, led by the University of Exeter, which supports people with heart failure to undergo cardiac rehabilitation in their own homes, thanks to funding from NHS England.

Researchers unite with artist to shine a spotlight on UK’s unpaid carers

Large scale, hand-drawn animations of unpaid carers will be projected onto buildings in London and Exeter this month

Compassionate communities key to preventing domestic abuse

New research by the Wales Violence Prevention Unit and the University of Exeter indicates people are more likely to take action against domestic abuse and its warning signs if they feel connected to their community.

Ancient Greek wisdom brought to COP26 to help improve climate change decision-making

Ancient Greek understanding of how people think will be available at the COP26 conference to help organisations make better decisions to tackle the global climate emergency.

Study shows emotional toll faced by police staff analysing child sex abuse images

Police staff who have to analyse and categorise images of child sexual abuse cope with the trauma associated with their work by developing informal ways to support each other, research shows.

Budding space enthusiasts can become "Exoplanet Explorers" in new online game

Aspiring astronomers and budding young space enthusiasts are set to be given a unique opportunity to hunt for distant planets far outside our solar system, thanks to a cutting-edge, interactive new online game.

Almost one-in-three people globally will still be mainly using polluting cooking fuels in 2030, research shows

Almost one-in-three people around the world will still be mainly using polluting cooking fuels and technologies– a major source of disease and environmental destruction and devastation – in 2030, new research warned. 

Patients with “red flag” cancer symptoms not referred for urgent investigation in 6 out of ten cases

Six out of ten patients who show common “alarm” symptoms for cancer are not referred for urgent investigation, a largescale new study has revealed.

JCEEI to play integral role in pioneering resilient infrastructure partnership

Experts from the Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence (JCEEI) will play an integral role in a pioneering new partnership, designed to boost the UK’s infrastructure resilience to extreme climate and weather events.

Exeter researcher secures prestigious national Fellowship to pioneer new generation of solar panels

A Renewable Energy Expert from the University of Exeter has received a prestigious national fellowship to pioneer new research to create ultra-compact and lightweight solar panel technology. 

Cats' whiskers reveal felines favour free lunch

Domestic cats that regularly catch wild animals still get most of their nutrition from food provided at home, new research shows.

One in six children has probable mental disorder in 2021 – continuing 2020 peak

A survey published today by NHS Digital found one in six children in England had a probable mental disorder in 2021 – a similar rate to 2020 but an increase from one in nine in 2017.

Type 2 diabetes drug trial uses patient experience to find their best drug

An innovative trial which invited people to take three drugs in turn, then choose their preferred option, has generated insights into which type 2 diabetes drug is best to prescribe to individuals.

Hospitals in Cornwall committed to cutting plastic use – but ‘closing the loop’ essential, say researchers

Cornwall's hospitals are redoubling their efforts to use less single-use plastics despite the huge demand for PPE during the Covid-19 pandemic.

£2.5 million to improve treatment of delirium in hospitals

A new £2.5 million research programme led by the University of Exeter will find new ways to help people recover from delirium after hospital stays, which could stop dementia symptoms getting worse.

Cruise ships must be effectively regulated to minimise serious environment and health impact

The cruise ship industry should be subject to global monitoring and effective legislation because of its continuous increasing impact on both the environment and human health and wellbeing, according to new research.

Stark divides in parenting attitudes towards education revealed by new research

Middle class parents of school-age children are more likely than working class parents to ask teachers for information regarding their children’s education (61 per cent versus 46 per cent).

Exeter 13th on global list of climate experts

The University of Exeter is ranked 13th on a global list of experts in "climatic processes".

Exeter professor helps convince Treasury how best to value environment of tomorrow

A University of Exeter Business School academic has been instrumental in a government review into how we value the environment of tomorrow in evaluating investment decisions made today.

Number diagnosed with autism jumps 787 per cent in two decades, study shows

The number of people diagnosed with autism has jumped by 787 per cent in the past two decades, a new study shows, likely an effect of increasing recognition.

Artificial intelligence may be set to reveal climate change tipping points

Researchers are developing artificial intelligence that could assess climate change tipping points.

Functioning of terrestrial ecosystems governed by three main factors

Ecosystems provide multiple services for humans. However, these services depend on basic ecosystem functions which are shaped by natural conditions like climate and species composition, and human interventions.

Limiting the impacts of technology materials for the low carbon transition

Researchers have demonstrated how a detailed ‘cradle to grave’ evaluation at the outset of new metal mining explorations can greatly mitigate against negative environmental impacts. 

Desert teamwork explains global pattern of co-operation in birds

A new study from the Kalahari Desert finds that teamwork allows birds to cope with brutally unpredictable environments.

 

Hoverflies navigate using sun and body clock

Hoverflies use a combination of the sun and their body clock to navigate when they fly south for the winter, new research shows.

Rising research star secures prestigious Fellowship

One of the University of Exeter’s rising research stars has been awarded a prestigious Engineering Research Fellowship, it has been announced. 

Digital evidence at risk of being missed because of fragmented police training and coordination, study warns

There is a risk of crucial digital evidence being missed or misinterpreted because of a shortage of adequate skills and knowledge in police forces, a new study warns. 

New “SafePod” to help level up access to data for University of Exeter researchers

University of Exeter experts are now able to carry out more of their research on campus after new secure facilities were introduced to allow them to access confidential data in the city.

Three Exeter primary care research projects funded under NIHR research school

Three projects that aim to improve different aspects of primary care in the UK will be funded as part of the University of Exeter’s recent membership in a national research collaboration.

Help develop powerful new Exeter play about LGBTQIA+ loneliness at new community events

People are invited to help develop a powerful new play about the history of LGBTQIA+ exclusion due to be performed in Exeter.

Care for hip fractures in dementia explored at World Alzheimer’s Day event

A new approach to treating people with dementia who endure hip fractures will be laid out at a special symposium on World Alzheimer’s Day.

Artificial Intelligence could help predict harmful algal blooms

A new project will develop Artificial Intelligence tools to predict harmful blooms of algae in the ocean.

University of Exeter supports launch of new NHS Ocean Project

A new project aiming to reduce healthcare’s impact on the oceans is being jointly launched by the University of Exeter and NHS Ocean.

More effective partnerships between medics and dance professionals needed to discover the benefits of dance to health, report finds

More effective partnerships involving medical and care staff, alongside professionals from the dance sector, are needed for experts to better understand how dance can help promote good health, according to a new report.

Atmosphere and caring teachers at special schools more important to parents of children with SEN than educational standards, study shows

Parents are more influenced by the atmosphere and how caring staff are than academic educational standards or the curriculum when choosing a special educational needs school, a study shows.

Innocent children feeling pressure to admit guilt to avoid prosecution, report warns

Children who have not committed a crime are likely to be admitting guilt and accepting cautions just to avoid prosecution, a new report warns.

How climate change could impact algae in the global ocean

Global warming is likely to cause abrupt changes to important algal communities because of shifting biodiversity "break point" boundaries in the ocean, according to new research.

NIHR research school recognises Exeter’s excellence on public and environmental health

Excellence and innovation in public and environmental health research at the University of Exeter have been recognised through membership of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research.

Two shortlistings for national Nursing Times Awards

Two teams linked to the University of Exeter have been shortlisted for awards at the prestigious 2021 Nursing Times Awards.

Young people to join forces with science and drama experts to produce musical about climate emergency

Teenagers in Torbay will join forces with leading scientists and drama experts to produce a musical about the climate emergency ahead of the major COP26 summit.

Exeter research results in practical self-help guide for people with dementia

A free self-help guide is now available to support people diagnosed with dementia to achieve their goals to enjoy daily activities and independent living.

Roads have far-reaching impact on chimpanzees

Roads have a negative impact on chimpanzee populations that can extend for more than 17 km, new research shows.

Rapid increase in global light pollution

Global light pollution has increased by at least 49% over 25 years, new research shows.

University of Exeter students help to show multilingual pupils the value of their language skills

University of Exeter students have worked with multilingual teenagers to help them see the value of their incredible language skills as part of a unique research project.

Rethink 'cost-benefit analysis' to tackle climate crisis

Policymakers need better analysis tools to help them tackle the systemic climate crisis, experts say.

Exeter part of world’s first trial for new cancer test

The University of Exeter is part of a collaboration working with the NHS on the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear.

£1.5 million for Exeter to research the role of genes and specific cell-types in Alzheimer’s disease

Research that will for the first time examine changes in how genes function in specific brain cell-types to better understand the development of Alzheimer’s disease has received a £1.5 million grant from the Medical Research Council.

Major international study reports the impact of genetics on epigenetic factors

Understanding what causes epigenetic variation could be a step closer thanks to a new atlas of genetic effects on epigenetic factors.  

Encyclopaedia chapter will aid UN goal on improving ocean sustainability

The University of Exeter has led a collaboration to define the term “Oceans and Human Health” for a new Encyclopaedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Experts set to use history and comedy to empower LGBTQ+ young people to play a central role in climate activism

Experts will use history and comedy to empower LGBTQ+ young people to play a central role in climate activism as part of a major project held ahead of the COP26 conference.

World-leading dementia expert bolsters Exeter’s research excellence

A world-leading expert in a wide range of dementia research is joining the University of Exeter, where he will further bolster an outstanding reputation for academic excellence on ageing.

Focus on coercive control and gendered approach must be at the heart of efforts to address domestic violence and abuse, study argues

Moving away from a gender-neutral approach and a greater focus on the impact of coercive control should be at the heart of attempts to address domestic violence and abuse, a study argues.

Giving performers copyright over their work could protect them from deepfake technology, study shows

Giving performers copyright over their work could protect them from being cloned by deepfake technology, a study says.

Lack of global standards for Covid-19 certificates 'barrier to their successful implementation', report warns

The lack of global standards for coronavirus certificates is a key barrier to their successful implementation around the world, a new report warns.

‘Tipping points’ in Earth’s system triggered rapid climate change 55 million years ago, research shows

Scientists have uncovered a fascinating new insight into what caused one of the most rapid and dramatic instances of climate change in the history of the Earth.

Unrealistic experiments mean true impact of nitrogen pollution on the environment is unknown, study warns

Unrealistic scientific experiments mean the true impact of nitrogen pollution on the environment remains poorly understood, a new study warns.

Landmark CFC ban gave planet fighting chance against global warming, research shows

Without the global CFC ban we would already be facing the reality of a ‘scorched earth’, according to researchers measuring the impact of the Montreal Protocol.  

Housebuilder funds climate study into future of home construction

Vistry Group, a top five national housebuilder, is funding research at the University of Exeter to explore the impact of climate change on homes and housebuilding in the future.

Men, Conservative Party supporters and Brexit-backers more likely to support the use of nuclear weapons, study shows

Men, Conservative Party supporters and those who wanted Britain to leave the EU, are more likely to want to retain Britain's nuclear deterrent, a study shows.

Scotland’s beaver population doubles in three years, survey finds

The number of beavers in Scotland has more than doubled in the last three years, according to a new population survey.

Farmers help create ‘Virtual safe space’ to save bumblebees

Solutions to help pollinators can be tested using a “virtual safe space” tool created by scientists at the University of Exeter in collaboration with farmers and land managers.

Impact of citizen-led forensic efforts to find the “disappeared” in Latin America analysed as part of major new study

The impact of grassroots forensic practices led by families trying to find the “disappeared” in Latin America will be analysed as part of a major new study.

Historical funding arrangements are the cause of significant inequities in special educational needs funding, study shows

Significant inequities in the budgets given to local areas to fund high special educational needs are largely the result of historical spending arrangements, research shows.

Major new study will explore if a tree’s ‘memory’ can increase its resilience

Experts will explore whether trees can remember past stress conditions such as drought or disease and transfer these memories to their descendants as part of a major new study.

 

Elite universities need to do much more work to simplify admissions and address major misperceptions among for applicants, new analysis concludes

Research highlights “huge complexity” in use of contextual admissions among Russell Group universities. Current university students meanwhile are likely to vastly over-estimate the proportion of student intakes who come from private schools.

High BMI causes depression – and both physical and social factors play a role

A largescale new study provides further evidence that being overweight causes depression and lowers wellbeing and indicates both social and physical factors may play a role in the effect.

Major Atlantic Ocean current system may be approaching critical threshold, research shows

A major current of the Atlantic Ocean – which acts like a global-scaled conveyor belt and includes the Gulf Stream - may have been losing stability over the last century, research has shown. 

Crop farmers face new disease pressures as climate changes

Climate change will increase the burden of crop diseases in some parts of the world and reduce it in others, new research suggests.

Trial tests new technique to manage mood swings within Bipolar Disorder

Researchers have conducted a new trial to identify how an existing psychological therapy can be adapted to help people cope with and manage frequent Bipolar mood swings.

New drug molecules could prevent skin ageing caused by sun exposure

Two new molecules that generate minute amounts of the gas hydrogen sulfide have been found to prevent skin from ageing after being exposed to ultraviolet light found in sunlight.  

Internationally-renowned Global Health expert joins Exeter

A Professor of Global Health who has a wide range of expertise in investigating health inequalities in disease risk and prevention in countries across the world has joined the University of Exeter.

Researchers identify new genes linked to longer reproductive lifespan in women

The age at which women go through menopause is critical for fertility and impacts healthy ageing in women, but reproductive ageing has been difficult for scientists to study and insights into the underlying biology are limited.

Research highlights “serious concerns” about strategy and conduct of Post Office lawyers during High Court case

Further investigations should take place to assess whether lawyers involved in a recent Post Office case in the High Court may have committed professional misconduct in their handling of that case, researchers have said.

Plastic creates 'evolutionary trap' for young sea turtles

Plastic pollution creates an "evolutionary trap" for young sea turtles, new research shows.

New research by The Prince’s Countryside Fund highlights the importance of auction marts for the social, health, and wellbeing of their visitors

A new report commissioned by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, and carried out by researchers from the University of Exeter, highlights how auction marts tackle social isolation and improve the health and wellbeing of their users.

First academic research paper co-published on Instagram shows legacy of one of Algeria’s most influential modern artists

The first research to be simultaneously co-published in an academic journal and on Instagram shows the lasting legacy of one of Algeria’s most influential modern artists.

Olympic sports making slow progress on environmental sustainability, study finds

Most International Federations in this summer’s Olympics are taking minimal if any action at all on climate and the environment, a new study has found.

Warning over start of commercial-scale deep-sea mining

Deep-sea mining in international waters could begin in two years – but researchers say this is unnecessary and could cause irreversible damage to marine ecosystems.

Past abrupt climate changes provide 'early warning signals' of cascading tipping points

Past tipping points triggered cascades of global climate, ecological and societal change, researchers say.