Our world is a work in progress

We are proud to launch a new campaign to showcase just a snapshot of the world-changing research that has taken place at our University in recent years. 

As Citizens of Change, researchers at Leicester are dedicated to exploring some of today’s most critical issues, from the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and other human health issues to exploring the universe, preserving our natural world and our heritage, and ensuring social justice for all.  

As we are diverse in our makeup, we are equally diverse in our research. With significant advances made across the breadth of our disciplines, we have contributed to the most pressing global issues and advanced our understanding of some of academia’s big questions, proving the ever-increasing value of academic research to society.

We have particular strengths in five overarching themes: 

  • Space Power and AI: from space exploration to earth observation, satellites and analysing planetary rocks to AI and robotics, our research has no limits
  • Human Health: health touches everyone’s lives, our researchers improve treatments and quality of life of our patients, both locally and globally
  • Sustaining the World: the decisions we make about how to sustainably protect our planet today, determine the landscape of our world tomorrow
  • Cultural and Natural Heritage: delving into our past to explore the earliest cultural monuments, to the present and meeting the needs of modern society
  • Social Justice and Inclusion: we all want change for the better. We research societal issues to bring about equality, justice and inclusion to all

Our researchers change lives. Through a dedication to improving physical health and mental wellbeing, our academics tackle widespread diseases such as diabetes and cancer, whilst exploring how we can better meet the needs of communities around the world. This commitment to improving health outcomes, enabled our academics to take a leading role in the fight against COVID-19. Our academics addressed the challenges presented by the pandemic, from examining the virus at the molecular level, to defining the best patient care, to studying the long-term effects of the disease and how – and why – it affects patients from an ethnic minority differently.

It’s not only medicine that saves and improves lives. Our researchers tackle hate crime, protecting the most vulnerable individuals in society. Our research supports communities living in chronic economic disadvantage around the world through enhanced agriculture, improved air quality, and accessible healthcare provision.

As well as addressing the issues of today, we look back to ancient times to understand what the environments and societies of the past can teach us about our modern world, and in turn use modern techniques to reveal answers to millennia-old questions. We uncover the secrets of lost royals, protect ancient heritage from the threats of the modern world and preserve our cultural artefacts from the time of the Saxons through to the icons who shaped modern British culture. Our researchers are committed to breaking down the barriers that may prevent minority groups from accessing our shared heritage – ensuring representation and accessibility for all.

Looking to the future, we contribute to the development of technology to improve lives, such as enhancing the safety of autonomous vehicles, detecting cancer earlier using less invasive tests, and using artificial intelligence in healthcare. To preserve our world for future generations, our researchers are shaping current thinking about how we can use our planet’s resources more responsibly and to evolve cities that resemble natural ecosystems. We are striving to protect the landscapes that help to sustain life on Earth and monitor the environmental changes caused by human activity.

We explore beyond our own world to discover the secrets of space. Building on our heritage of over 60 years of space exploration, we are not only sending cutting-edge technology to Mercury and Mars but also developing more economical and sustainable ways to repair and power the technologies that we send into orbit. Our work in space has very real implications down on Earth too. Through our work in Earth observation, we are able to monitor land use and detect even the smallest changes to our climate and the quality of our air, as well as incorporating the latest satellite technologies into medical applications to offer patients a more personalised approach to their healthcare. We are proud to be at the forefront of developing research in the entirely new issues of law and international relations in space.

One of our most exciting adventures in space is on our doorstep here, in Leicester. We’re leading the development of Space Park Leicester, a £100m world-leading cluster for innovative research and innovation in space and Earth observation. Space Park Leicester will draw on experience from industry and academia, all working together in one central location.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, Professor Phil Baker said: “Our academics embody the idea that to be a researcher is to make a difference. The breadth of expertise found at the University of Leicester is helping to answer the big questions and change the world – for the better.”

“We continue to see the vital importance of the work of our academics through these uncertain times, where we face immense challenges not only from COVID-19 and climate change, but also huge opportunities from the rapidly changing technological landscape. The way we respond to this will influence generations to come. The potential that lies ahead for us is huge, and we must look to the knowledge of our experts to fully benefit from it.”

“Although this research is driven by our outstanding academics, we are thankful too for the contribution of our wonderful support staff who enable our researchers to continue their excellent work; from the estates team that maintains our research facilities to the professional services who support the smooth operation of the University, everyone at Leicester has helped play a role in our exceptional research activity.”