Media coverage pre-January 2017

The University in the news

Keep up to date with all our media coverage spanning TV, print, radio, digital – regionally, nationally and internationally.

April 2016

Fisheries research project

The University is part of an international team researching the impact of sea lice upon salmon fisheries, and has been recognised in the media for its work. The project will identify the factors involved in determining salmon susceptibility to lice in order to develop effective measures to address this global issue. Read the story in World Fishing.

Hot topic for community energy

A report by Professor Iain Stewart, Professor of Geoscience Communication, that outlines an alternative method of supplying heat and power to communities, has received significant media interest. The government-funded report suggests drilling a deep geothermal well below a city could tap into high temperatures found miles underground. Aberdeen City Council has said it is “willing to support” a bid to fund the scheme through the Scottish Government’s Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund, which funded the feasibility study. Read more in the Herald Scotland and on the Energy Voice website.

March 2016

Wave data from Morocco proves useful to Plymouth researchers

A study, gathering wave data from Scotland to Morocco, has helped University researchers clarify that storms battering Europe’s Atlantic coastline during the winter of 2013/14 were the most energetic in almost seven decades. Read the full article on the American Geophysical Union website.

Electricity flows through graphene without energy loss

A University-led study has found electrical signals transmitted at high frequencies lose none of their energy when passed through graphene. Graphene, which is 100 times stronger than steel, has been identified as having a range of potential uses across the engineering and health sectors. Dr Shakil Awan, a Lecturer in the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, is leading the study alongside colleagues from Cambridge and Tohoku (Japan) Universities and Nokia Technologies. Read more in Electronic Specifier.

International prize for epilepsy self-monitoring app

An app designed by University researchers and partners has received significant media coverage after winning an international challenge set by Epilepsy Foundation of America. The EpsMon app, which encourages people with epilepsy to check their condition every three months by answering a series of questions, beat 83 other entries to be named the winner of the competition, the aim of which was to produce a method to reduce the risk of seizures and help prevent Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). The University developed the app alongside Cornwall NHS Foundation Trust and Cornwall Royal Hospital and Oxfordshire-based charity SUDEP Action. Read more in EurekAlert.

February 2016

Brain damaged violinist makes music for the first time

A 10-year project led by the University and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London has received global media coverage after giving a brain damaged violinist the chance to play music again. Rosemary Johnson was left without speech and movement after a car crash 27 years ago. Thanks to the cutting-edge technology she is creating music again. Read more in the Telegraph and the Gulf News.

Recent summers likely to be the warmest of last two millennia

A study by a research group of 45 scientists, including Professor Neil Roberts, Professor of Physical Geography, demonstrates that temperatures over the past 30 years lie outside natural variations, supporting conclusions drawn by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. See RTE News.

Project aids communication for stroke survivors 

Dental therapy and hygiene students from the University have designed a communication tool to help stroke survivors at the dentist. They are working with the Stroke Association in Plymouth and Chatterbox on the system, which uses illustrations, emoticons and multiple choice, to assist patients during a consultation. Read more in The Dentist.

January 2016

Study explores content of playground paints

Research conducted by Dr Andrew Turner, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences, into the presence of toxic metals in play equipment has been covered by media across the world. The study suggested that playground paints, some of them less than a decade old, contain higher than permitted levels of lead and other elements. It also provided a series of recommendations to local authorities and parents of how the problem could be addressed. The story has carried nationally by BBC News Online, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, ITV and several others, and regionally in the Western Morning News and Plymouth Herald. Dr Turner has also been interviewed by a number of radio and TV outlets, including ITV Westcountry, BBC Spotlight, BBC Radio Devon and Heart FM.

New treatment for Parkinson’s being explored

A clinical trial using cholesterol-lowering treatment Simvastatin as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s, has been widely reported in the media. Led by Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD), the trials are getting underway in centres across the country with the hope that the treatment could become one of a number of effective ways to treat Parkinson's. Read more in

Arthritis drug could also treat ovarian cancer

A drug used for treating rheumatoid arthritis can kill off ovarian cancer cells in women with the BRCA1 mutation, University scientists have revealed. The drug auranofin is currently undergoing trials for repurposing to treat recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer, which makes up around 90 per cent of diagnosed ovarian cancers. Now Professor Awadhesh Jha from the School of Biological Sciences, working with colleagues at the Plymouth Oncology Centre at Derriford Hospital, has used laboratory tests to demonstrate that treatment with auranofin can also reduce the survival rates of cancerous cells exhibiting depleted levels of BRCA1. The study was published in Mutation Research: Fundamentals and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis and received coverage in the Daily Mail, Science News Line and Western Morning News.

Plymouth scientists discover new species in South Africa

A new species of beetle has been discovered by Plymouth scientists during a research trip to a South African desert oasis, and their work has attracted media attention. Detailed tests of the discovery in the Bokkeveld plateau have so far identified six new species after the Devon scientists found that the area was an unrecognised hotspot for water beetles. 

Images and codes could provide new passwords

A study suggesting that traditional passwords could be replaced by memorable patterns, pictures and codes has received international coverage. Led by PhD student Hussain Alsaiari, the project is known at GOTPass and suggests that pictures, as opposed to a phrase or string of characters, are more likely to prevent hacking. For more information visit CBS Boston and Digital Journal. See also the research paper – Secure Graphical One Time Password (GOTPass): An Empirical Study by Alsaiari, Papadaki, Dowland and Furnell – which is published in Information Security Journal: A Global Perspective.

December 2015

Unique vessel to be used for scientific research and teaching

International media coverage has been received in Hellenic Shipping News worldwide and Ship Management International, following the University’s announcement that it will receive a unique wave-propelled AutoNaut vessel for scientific research and teaching. 

Professor’s research receives high-profile coverage

The research of Professor Jason Hall-Spencer, in the School of Marine Science and Engineering, has received coverage on the Discovery Channel and BBC News. His work on ocean acidification in the Mediterranean features in a new film called Racing Extinction. In the documentary, director Louie Psihoyos and the group behind the Oscar winning documentary film The Cove look at the trafficking of endangered species and the race to prevent mass extinction. Professor Hall-Spencer’s research has also featured on the BBC News website, where he explains what ocean acidification looks like through two experiments at London’s Aquarium. 

Why jellyfish will benefit from ocean acidification

Further to his media coverage on the negative effects of ocean acidification, Professor Jason Hall-Spencer, from the School of Marine Science and Engineering, has had an article published on academic editorial site The Conversation about jellyfish and why they will benefit from warmer, more acidic seas. See the full article on The Conversation website

Study shows that huge climate shift took place in 1980s

A climate study that has found evidence of a global shift in the 1980s, published in Global Change Biology, has received media interest. The study, led by Philip C Reid, Professor of Oceanography at Plymouth University’s Marine Institute, and Senior Research Fellow at the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS), documents a range of associated events caused by the shift, from a 60 per cent increase in winter river flow into the Baltic Sea to a 400 per cent increase in the average duration of wildfires in the Western United States. It also suggests that climate change is not a gradual process, but one subject to sudden increases, with the 1980s shift representing the largest in an estimated 1000 years.

November 2015

Ground-breaking discovery

Global media interest has been received on ground-breaking research published by a team of international physicists, including Plymouth University academic, Dr Nicolas Garron. The research analyses the behaviour of subatomic particles called kaons and could change how scientists understand the formation of the universe. See the International Business Times AU.

Missing piece in frozen puzzle

The University is featured in Nature World News following a joint collaboration with researchers from Stockholm University and the Natural History Museum (NHM) London. The team has identified moisture-sensitive molecules in the sediment of an ancient Swedish lake, which represent the melting of the Scandinavian ice sheet and indicate climate conditions in Northern Europe became much colder at the end of the last Ice Age. 

Baby blood test breakthrough

Research conducted by Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and the University, which has revealed that a simple DNA blood test could mark the end of invasive genetic testing during pregnancy, has received regional and specialist media coverage. 

Computer learns to speak like a child

A project to create a neural network that mimics the human brain, involving robotics researchers at the University, has received significant national and international media coverage. The project, the details of which were published in PLOS ONE, was led in the UK by Professor Angelo Cangelosi of the University’s Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems, working with colleagues at the University of Sassari, Italy. Read more in the Daily Mail.

The freedom to roam

A campaign to provide a GPS-based device to people with dementia to allow them to lead a more independent life has been highlighted in the media. Led by Ian Sherriff, Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia at Plymouth University and Chair of the Prime Minister’s Rural Dementia-Friendly Task and Finish Group, the device, which has already been approved in Scotland, was trialled on Dartmoor.

Climate solution 

A serious game co-designed by a group of Plymouth University academics has been promoted internationally by Climate Action and Solutions COP21 as a Climate Solution. Named EnerGAware, the game provides an innovative IT ecosystem in which users can design their own virtual home and avatar and learn about the potential energy savings from installing energy-efficiency measures. The project team at Plymouth University (who have received €384,000 in funding) comprises Dr Alba Fuertes, Dr Rory Jones and Professor Pieter de Wilde, from the School of Architecture, Design and Environment, alongside Dr Sabine Pahl from the School of Psychology.

Marine Station opening ceremony

International media have reported on the opening of a new waterfront teaching, research and diving facility at Plymouth University. Prince Albert II of Monaco opened the Marine Station during a special ceremony on 29 October. Read more in Monaco Life.

Life-saving website

A new website launched by paramedic students at Plymouth University, which provides advice and guidance on lifesaving techniques, has featured in the media. Read more on the Pirate FM website.

October 2015

Music Professor makes waves in America

Professor in Computer Music, Eduardo Miranda, from the School of Humanities and Performing Arts, saw his musical compositions Activating Memory and Mozart Reloaded performed on 26-27 September at the prestigious Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, California. Both pieces had been premiered at Plymouth University’s Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival.

Professor Miranda was also interviewed by popular morning show Fox 5 TV and newspaper San Diego Union-Tribune about research developed in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR).

He also showcased ICCMR's work on Brain-Computer Music Interfacing at the Scripps Research Institute – a world leader in biomedical research – and gave a keynote speech at Mozart and the Mind symposium at University of California, San Diego, in collaboration with The Arthur C. Clarke Centre for Human Imagination.

September 2015

Partnership to develop production system for a new antibiotic

Dr Mathew Upton, Associate Professor in Medical Microbiology at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences, has featured on the Today Programme and Homeland Security Today US online following a collaboration with world-leading industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology business Ingenza to develop an efficient, scalable microbial production system for epidermicin, a new class of antibiotic being developed for use in the fight against infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Dr Upton, who is leading the research team at Plymouth University, said: 

“This partnership will support the development of an exciting new family of antibiotics that rapidly kill harmful bacteria, even at low doses. These ground-breaking new medicines have huge potential to save lives, because they kill bacteria that cause some of the most significant diseases for which there are very few antibiotics left.”

Coastal scientist making waves

Dr Mark Davidson, Associate Professor in Coastal Processes, was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 and BBC News Online about the scientific ways to seek out the best waves for surfing. He also commented on recent high-profile initiatives to ‘manufacture’ waves, including a multi-million pound facility off the Dorset coast.

Britain's longest rulers

Following Queen Elizabeth II becoming Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, constitutional expert and Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Law, Dr Judith Rowbotham, has been interviewed by regional, national and international media discussing the similarities between Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria. Publications in which she features include the Oman Observer, Agence France Presse, Herald and Western Morning News. 

Read more in the News section of the University website. 

July 2015

Plymouth University academic speaks at climate change conference in France

Marine science Professor Camille Parmesan is one of a number of scientists who spoke at a climate change conference in France this month. The climate scientists gathered in Paris five months ahead of the deadline for a historic carbon-curbing pact to show that a radical shift to sustainable energy can still limit disastrous planet warming. Read more in the Times Live.

June 2015

Breakthrough in volcano eruption prediction

A study on volcano behaviour led by Plymouth University, which could lead to better predictive tools on potential eruptions, has been featured in a number of outlets, including 4-Traders. Using the latest equipment, including UV cameras and electron microscopes researchers led by Dr Paul Cole analysed the eruptive plumes and ash given off by Volcan de Colima, the most active volcano in the Americas. 

May 2015

New species of glass frog discovered

Worldwide coverage has been received after scientists discovered a new species of glass frog in Costa Rica. Dr Rob Puschendorf, from the School of Biological Sciences, was among the researchers who made the find – the first of its kind in the country since 1975. Read more in News

Scientists discover new species of beetle

A new species of diving beetle found in wetlands on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, has generated regional, national and specialist media coverage for Dr David Bilton, Reader in Aquatic Biology in the School of Marine Science and Engineering. Capelatus prykei is so different from any of the world’s other diving beetles that it has been placed in a new genus. See the International Business Times for more on this story.

April 2015

Zombie worms

Scientists at Plymouth University have generated significant media interest following the publication of a new research paper on Osedax – aka the ‘zombie worm’. It had been thought that the worms, which consume the skeletons of marine animals, had evolved in conjunction with modern whales. But in the paper, published in Biology Letters, Dr Nicholas Higgs and Dr Silvia Danise presented evidence to show that Osedax can be dated back at least 100 million years, which has implications for the fossil record of prehistoric marine animals. Read more in Discovery.

How we listen to music

Dr Alexis Kirke, composer in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research, is quoted on specialist website High Impact International Fast Company talking about the way we listen to music.

Alexis has appeared in a YouTube documentary (54:06) about filmmaking which features a series of interviews with people in the industry including Bill Duke (actor and director of high budget Hollywood features) and Spike Lee.

He has also been interviewed in relation to his work on Project EAR - Environments for Alzheimer's-friendly Radio.

Monday 15 December 2014 11:20:54

How we listen to music

Alexis has appeared in a YouTube documentary (54:06) about filmmaking which features a series of interviews with people in the industry.

October 2014

Scuba Squad: Cleaning the Ocean

Plymouth University marine scientists Professor Richard Thompson and Dr Kerry Howell are interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Costing The Earth programme as part of a report by Miranda Krestovnikoff on a dive off Pembrokeshire with NARC – Neptune's Army of Rubbish Cleaners – in search of marine litter. 

Marine station diver

Plymouth University academic gives his opinion on the goosebump sensor 

Dr Alexis Kirke, composer at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at Plymouth University, gives his opinion in an article in the European publication Newsweek on a piece of technology which may be used to mould and edit music and films.

Researchers in South Korea have designed the 'goosebump sensor' as an alternative to heart beat monitors and sweat sensors to detect positive emotions.

Tuesday 29 July 2014 16:30:46

Plymouth University academic talks about US-Iranian cooperation on Iraq

Plymouth University Lecturer in International Relations, Dr Christian Emery has been giving his expert opinion on the US-Iranian cooperation in Iraq. 

During an interview with BBC 5 Live presenter, Nicky Campbell, he talks about this as a historic moment between the two countries that have had a turbulent relationship for many years. 

Listen to the broadcast from 1:09:05

Wednesday 18 June 2014 10:47:47

Dr Richard Kirby goes to sea with the BBC Springwatch team 

Dr Richard Kirby, Plankton Biologist and Marine Institute Research Fellow at Plymouth University will be featuring on the BBC Springwatch programme on Wednesday evening (28 May 2014).

He is working with the BBC Springwatch team at Minsmere Nature reserve and this year the programme features spring in the sea as well as on land with a feature on plankton. Dr Kirby will be going to sea with the team to sample the plankton and reveal some of the amazing creatures that underpin the marine food web.

Dr Kirby has also appeared via the red button during Tuesday's "Springwatch Unsprung" talking to a live audience about the global citizen science Secchi Disk project he leads from the Marine Institute at the University.

Wednesday 28 May 2014 08:48:12

Crowdfunder in Forbes

Online business publication Forbes features an opinion piece on Plymouth University partner Crowdfunder. Crowdfunder is a fundraising platform for putting businesses in touch. It benefits from a partnership with the University's enterprise department.

Tuesday 29 April 2014 16:53:10

Celebrating one year of Secchi Disk citizen science

A global citizen science project that asks seafarers to study the phytoplankton of the waters in which they sail is celebrating its first anniversary.

To check the levels of phytoplankton in our oceans, the Plymouth team of scientists developed a free smart phone app called Secchi for seafarers and fishermen to use wherever they are in the world. To take part seafarers need to make a simple piece of equipment called a Secchi Disk, which was first invented by the Pope's astronomer Pietro Angelo Secchi in 1865.

The Secchi Disk is a round white 30cm disk of any material that is attached to a fibre-glass tape measure and lowered over the side of the boat into the water. The depth below the surface at which the Secchi disk just disappears from sight is recorded.

The 'Secchi depth' is a measure of the clarity of the seawater, which away from estuaries is influenced mainly by the amount of phytoplankton, and so the Secchi depth estimates the amount of phytoplankton in the sea. This depth can then be uploaded to a database using the Secchi app.

The Secchi Disk project has received a remarkable reception among sailors and the world cruising associations since launch, and data has been collected from around the world. It's been recommended to sailors by the Ocean Cruising Club and adopted by the Seven Seas Cruising Association as part of their Clean Wake project. It has been selected by the Environment of the Sea committee of the Cruising club of America, and it is part of the environmental programmes of the World Cruising Club and the Bluewater Cruising Association.

The project has also been incorporated by scientific organisations into their public outreach activities. The Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment have adopted the Secchi App as the data tool for a new Secchi Disk citizen environmental monitoring programme that they have rolled out in Swedish waters. Ifremer in France is also recommending the Secchi App via Phenomer and so is the project, Plancton du Monde. 

Celebrating its first anniversary on March 21, various media organisations have run pieces to reflect upon its success, including the national BBC website, National Geographic, and Onboard Online.

Tuesday 25 March 2014 09:48:23

COPD research generates extensive coverage

A large number of national and specialist publications and websites covered the results of a 20-year study led by researchers at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.

It revealed that 85 per cent of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) initially had their symptoms overlooked, and opportunities for diagnosis missed.

The story was featured in The Independent, The Guardian, and a large number of medical publications. 

Monday 24 February 2014 11:54:44