Today marks the start of British Science Week so we’re showcasing five major contemporary British scientific achievements that have had a significant impact worldwide.
Aberystwyth University - New varieties of grass
The University of Aberystwyth has developed new varieties of grass that are considered to be one of the breakthroughs in scientific history according to Universities UK, the umbrella group for UK universities. Experts say these varieties have transformational economic and environmental benefits because of its impact on livestock. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions and will help feed the world population more sustainably. Its real life impact can be seen by the fact that today almost a third of the perennial rye grown by UK farmers comes from seeds developed by the university researchers, as well as being used internationally, helping to care for our planet.
Newcastle University - Diet to reverse type 2 diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes don't produce enough insulin to keep their blood sugar level normal, but the good news is that it can be reversed by diet alone as Professor Roy Taylor’s research from Newcastle University has shown. It is a daily 800 calorie diet for eight weeks which includes 3 litres of water and 200 calories worth of supplements (soups and shakes), and 200 calories from green vegetables. People who follow this diet usually don't need any medication or insulin, which can damage other organs.
Oxford University - Covid-19 vaccine
The Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine has shown to drastically reduce hospitalizations in severe cases in all age groups. It can be easily administered and stored in a fridge at the temperature of 2-8 degrees celsius. Because of its ease of administration and low cost, it is said to be the vaccine for the poor. To date it has saved millions of lives worldwide, and 2.5 billion doses at low cost have been administered all over the world.
Durham University - Water repellent mobile phone coatings
A research team from Durham University has developed water repellent mobile phones. It ensures that handsets are resistant to water damage, thus increasing the lifespan of a mobile phone. The research has led to the development of innovative waterproof nanocoatings and bio-inspired technology to help collect fog for clean drinking water in developing countries. Furthermore, this technology is also being used to protect over 3 million pairs of footwear, 100 million smartphones, and over 75% of the world’s hearing aids.
Edinburgh Napier University - Importance of staying active after cancer diagnosis
Researchers from Edinburgh Napier University found four reasons to stay active after cancer diagnosis:
• During treatment it will help reduce functional decline, breathlessness and tiredness.
• It reduces fatigue both during and after treatment.
• Improves quality of life both physiologically and emotionally.
• It also has long term benefits as it reduces the risk of cancer recurring.
From the days of penicillin first being discovered in 1928, to the Oxford Covid vaccine being given the all clear to be administered in 2020, British universities remain at the forefront of the world’s scientific research.
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