Public Research Programme

Research is at the core of everything we do at the University of Plymouth.

Our rich research culture seeks to better understand the world we live in, and – for many – make a difference that will leave it better for future generations.

We are celebrating the impact of this work by opening up the often intriguing world of research, inviting the public, researchers, businesses, and students to hear the fascinating research stories.

Introduced by Professor Jerry Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, we welcome you to our programme of research-focused events for captivating explorations of science, engineering, arts, culture, health, medicine and more. 

Join us in 2021/22 for the Inaugural Professorial Lectures, now delivered as hybrid events that can be enjoyed in-person or from the comfort of your home, and the annual Research Festival that will return next summer.

Inaugural Professorial Lectures

The Inaugural Professorial Lectures acknowledge our academics who have been awarded their professorship as a mark of their esteemed research.

Join us for a celebration of their accomplishments in a special evening where they share their journey so far and their insights into the specialist topics their high-quality research investigates. 

Mapping the deep – Professor Kerry Howell

Inaugural Professorial Lecture | Thursday 17 February | Book now

The deep sea remains the least explored, least understood and largest part of our planet. As populations rise and coastal resources dwindle, industry is pushing into deeper water to exploit new resources in order to meet growing demand. 

Professor Kerry Howell offers insight into her 20 years spent conducting fundamental research to inform sustainable management of deep-sea ecosystems, including how she is developing innovative technology and advancing scientific understanding of what marine life can be found there, how they function and their importance to society.

Rhythms of the brain – Professor Stephen Hall

Inaugural Professorial Lecture | Wednesday 16 March | Book now

The human brain generates enough electricity to power a small lightbulb and is more powerful than a supercomputer. How exactly does it work? And what are those electrical impulses doing?  Professor of Human Neuroimaging, Stephen Hall, takes a closer look inside the brain using advanced imaging techniques to understand how its electrical rhythms control cognition and behaviour. He shares fascinating insights into his translational research and the journey to launching the region's most advanced multi-modal human neuroscience facility, the Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC).

Jane Austen and her readers: what makes a bestseller? – Professor Annika Bautz

Inaugural Professorial Lecture | Thursday 31 March | Book now

What makes authors popular, and why does this change over time? Professor of nineteenth-century literature, Annika Bautz, takes us back in time to examine the history of the book and reading, exploring the evolving influences that shape the reception of an author’s work over time. She further examines how various cultures and countries have read the same texts in diverse ways, how the perceived value of texts shifts during social and political change, and who typically had access to reading in the first place.

The harms of hate: challenging Anti-Gypsyism – Professor Zoë James

Inaugural Professorial Lecture | Thursday 28 April | Book now

Who is deemed valuable and who is not in society – and what can we do about it? 

Professor Zoë James reflects on her extensive expertise on how and why Gypsies, Travellers and Roma experience multiple and complex harms in the UK and Europe, sharing how she has evidenced where they have been placed socially, physically and politically at the margins of society, how this exclusion has been sustained, and the impacts such harms have on these communities. 

Antibiotic resistance and the quest for discovery – Professor Mathew Upton

Inaugural Professorial Lecture | Wednesday 24 November | Watch now

Predictions indicate that by 2050, 10 million people per year will die from antibiotic resistant infections, igniting a new urgency to tackle this global crisis. 

Professor Mathew Upton reflects on his extensive microbiology research that focuses on discovering potential sources for antimicrobials that can be turned into the new classes of antibiotic, and his career so far including the launch of his spinout company, Amprologix. 

Research Festival

Research Festival 2021

28 June – 2 July

The annual Research Festival celebrated curiosity and collaboration, showcasing leading work across disciplines and inviting fellow academics, industry, students, policymakers, and the public to understand more of our world and those living in it.

Attendees heard cutting-edge research from world-leading experts and top keynote speakers and learned how their own research or business could achieve greater impact through collaboration, locally and globally.