New Centenary film celebrates Leicester research heroes

The University of Leicester has premiered a new short film, celebrating 100 years of changing the world.

Research experts from the University’s first Century feature in the film, produced to mark Leicester’s Centenary year.

First opened in 1921, the University of Leicester has been at the cutting edge of world-changing research in a wide range of disciplines in the last 100 years.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester, said: “Watching this new film, it is difficult not to burst with pride at the lasting impact of Leicester research in the last 100 years.

“The four research heroes featured in our film typify everything that is great about our University community. They represent innovation, collaboration and, most importantly, the positive change which research continues to provide in our world.

“While we use this opportunity to celebrate what has gone before, we also look to the future – and as we embark on our second Century, world-changing research and education sits at the core of what we hope to achieve.” 

The new film, available on YouTube, celebrates four of the University’s research heroes.

Space scientist Professor Ken Pounds CBE discusses his role in pioneering space research in the UK. He established Leicester X-ray Astronomy Group in 1960, which discovered early evidence for stellar and supermassive black holes. Leicester continues to play a major global role in astronomy and planetary sciences.

Next, Dr Jo Appleby shares the impact of being part of the team to discover the remains of King Richard III under a Leicester car park. An archaeologist specialising in human osteology, Dr Appleby analysed the skeleton unearthed on the Greyfriars site – and she explains how the project captured the imagination of the world.

Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys tells the story of discovering DNA fingerprinting, early one morning in his Leicester laboratory. The pioneering work of Sir Alec and his team has helped detectives solve countless criminal cases across the world, as well as identify genetic links between long-lost family members.

Finally, criminology expert Professor Neil Chakraborti explains how Leicester’s Centre for Hate Studies – of which he is Director – works with organisations across the world to shape policy and practice in the study of hate crime, enabling professionals to engage with diversity, support victims, and tackle hate.

All four stories are featured in Our 100, a collection of 100 objects, concepts and people that define our past, present, and future – as nominated by the University community.

Explore the University of Leicester’s Centenary celebrations, Our 100 and more about our story so far at