Research News

Buildings to generate their own power with innovative glass blocks

Buildings could soon be able to convert the sun’s energy into electricity without the need for solar panels, thanks to innovative new technology.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Research shortfall on common form of dementia highlighted

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

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 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.

Rising stars of research at Exeter receive MRC fellowships

Prestigious fellowships from the Medical Research Council (MRC) will help nurture the next generation of research excellence at the University of Exeter.

Physicists read Maxwell’s Demon’s mind

Pioneering research offers a fascinating view into the inner workings of the mind of ‘Maxwell’s Demon’, a famous thought experiment in physics.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Motor-boat noise makes fish bad parents, leading to the death of their babies

Noise from motorboats is making fish become bad parents, and reducing the chance of their young surviving, research led by marine experts at the University of Exeter has shown.

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.

Professor William Harvey awarded Urwick Prize 2017

The Urwick Prize for 2017 was awarded by the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants at their Education Supper held at Armourers Hall on 6 June.

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.

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.

‘BEEHAVE’ project up for award

A project which helps protect bees has been nominated for an innovation award. 

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.