World-Class Research Flourishes at Durham

Article excerpt

Durham University, the current Sunday Times University of the Year, is ranked among the UK's top universities for its performance in world-leading research and innovation. The university sector's own trade journal, the Times Higher Education Supplement, puts Durham first in the UK and 18th in the whole world for science impact.

This is a measure of the level of citations about Durham in other people's research publications. In other words, it indicates how highly Durham staff are regarded, and how extensively the quality their work is recognised by the international research community.

Expertise ranges across a broad range of academic disciplines, in science and other areas, from photonics, e-science and other communications technologies to criminal law and public health; from international relations and global economic conditions to bio-sciences and renewable energy.

The strength and breadth of research underpins the University's contribution to the region and its businesses and to the development of the national economy. With 17 spin-out companies in operation and several more in the pipeline, the University is at the forefront of regional enterprise development. Many other local companies use intellectual property developed at Durham in areas such as digital enterprise technology, cell biology and plasma chemistry.

Vice-Chancellor Sir Kenneth Calman says: "Advances in the fight against disease and poverty, the protection of the environment, the introduction of new materials and technologies, our understanding of atoms and the universe ( all of these, and more, depend on the increase and sharing of knowledge."

Durham is a member of the N8 Research Partnership, along with the universities of Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York. This team is working to apply research excellence to industrial and social needs throughout the North of England and help to remove the pounds 30bn output gap between the North and the other English regions by 2025.

Applications of Durham innovation include:

* A new technique to help doctors use the power of light to analyse DNA and diagnose diseases more quickly.

* Stem cell work, including skin-growth for wound healing, fighting cancers and other disease.

* Better, long-lasting replacements for diseased joints, including hips, knees, and possibly fingers.

* The International Landslide Centre at Durham offers direct assistance and advice about coping with unstable land conditions, especially in developing countries.

* Ground-breaking work with smart molecules and materials, such as controlling surface properties to make them either repel water or absorb it, that can be used for a variety of applications including improved surgical instruments or new defence combat-wear. …