Inspiration through ground-breaking research
Source: Durham University

Durham University is an institution that achieves global impact, remaining focused on cutting-edge research with an expert faculty who stand at the forefront of solving future world challenges.

Students at the university form part of this culture of distinction, leading them to rewarding and challenging careers.

Here, faculty have access to some of the best resources available and results cement the institution as a notable Russell Group member. Durham University also ranks in the top 100 research universities.

What gives Durham the edge is its ability to produce impressive research in a multitude of fields. Key research areas include energy, hazard and risk, cosmology and surface science.

Energy for the future

The Durham Energy Institute aims to tackle societal aspects of energy use in order to find practical low-carbon answers to the energy challenges we face. This type of research is becoming increasingly significant as we move into an uncertain future.

Faculty and students from Durham University are involved in research into the potential of geothermal energy. This type of energy is low-carbon, secure and can bring economic opportunities to certain UK regions.

As well as this, a study is being conducted that hopes to improve the reliability and competitiveness of offshore wind power. This project is being sponsored by the Faculty of Science at Durham University as well as the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.

The importance of this study will come into play throughout the next decade as investment decisions are made within this highly uncertain sector. Through an investigation of investment planning over a wide range of technology options, the team will design, test and validate new power system planning and asset management techniques.

Hazard and risk solutions

This is an area in which Durham has conducted a first of its kind study. It was led by Dr Claire Horwell of the Department of Earth Sciences and the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience. The study found that industry-certified particle masks are most effective at protecting people from volcanic ash, whilst commonly used surgical masks offer less protection.

Dr Claire Horwell. Source: Durham University

Volcanic ash can induce symptoms such as coughing, breathlessness and wheezing, also exacerbating pre-existing conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis.

The study showed that surgical masks are less effective than industry-certified masks because of their poor fit. It also found that cloth or clothing that’s often used as an unofficial means of respiratory protection do not properly filter dangerous particles.

Research such as this has lasting impact for people all over the world who are frequently exposed to volcanic ash. Results of the study are of particular importance as, recently, erupting volcanoes have affected Hawaii, Guatemala and Bali.

Cosmology discoveries

BUFFALO, led jointly by Durham and the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark, is a new survey of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope aimed at expanding its view of largely uncharted regions of the universe.

Thousands of galaxies that have gone unseen until now have been captured. BUFFALO will be investigating massive, luminous galaxies, looking into how and when they were formed. This will give us more information on the nature of dark matter and the evolution of lensing galaxy clusters.

The institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) at Durham has a founding goal of encouraging an interest among young people to venture into the sciences to tackle the problems of tomorrow.

Projects such as BUFFALO are an integral part of providing an inspiring environment.

Surface science breakthroughs

Professor Jas Pal Badyal is involved in the research area of Surface Science, particularly Nano-coating technology. This is a multi-billion-dollar industry mainly for its vast commercial functions.

Professor Jas Pal Badyal. Source: Durham University

The possibilities are endless in terms of the cleanliness of optical lenses, the feel of fabrics, the resistance of biomedical devices to bacteria, the speed of computer hard disks, and even the wear of car brake pads.

Research conducted by Professor JP Badyal’s research has led to three successful start-ups and 41 patent families. These projects also aim to find new functional surfaces that can be used in developing countries for purposes such as clean drinking water, solar harvesting and alleviating poverty.

An environment of innovation

Faculty at the university have been a part of the high standard for which Durham strives. Through these ground-breaking projects, Durham University is part of shaping the future. Students within this environment of cutting-edge research are able to consistently achieve impressive results and develop a natural intellectual curiosity.

Faculty at Durham and the projects that they work on create a community of academic excellence. The university is consistently ranked one of the top universities in the world with a notable strength in teaching and research.

The research achievements of Durham’s faculty enhance the wider student experience and the distinctiveness of the institution.

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