College of Science & Engineering


A listing of news and events for the year 2017.

Antarctic survey keeps ice loss on the radar

New high-resolution maps of the complex landscape beneath a major West Antarctic glacier will be valuable for forecasting global sea level rise, researchers say.

Immune finding raises allergy treatment hopes

Scientists have made a fundamental discovery about how our body’s immune system clears harmful infections.

Huawei 5G deal focuses on AI and smart robotics

Edinburgh experts and global telecoms firm Huawei are to collaborate on the development of artificially intelligent robots supported by next-generation wireless networks.

TV crime box sets give computers a lead in solving problems

Computers are being trained to solve problems by bingeing on episodes of a popular TV crime drama.

Robotics experts focus on industry challenges

Robotics and artificial intelligence researchers are lending their expertise to a raft of newly funded projects with industry applications.

The Great Dying: What happened 250 million years ago?

Rachel Wood Academics Unplugged Flyer
As part of the Academics Unplugged series of talks, Professor Rachel Wood of GeoSciences tells the tale as to how geochemical techniques can reveal the dynamic story of extinction and recovery that ushered in the modern world.

Data science boost aids postgraduate research

Postgraduate students are to benefit from a £10 million UK initiative to support data science research.

Africa-led research to tackle the challenge of infectious diseases

Around 50 million people could benefit from a new multidisciplinary research programme that is seeking new solutions to neglected tropical diseases and emerging epidemics in Africa.

$1bn Chinese biomedical campus opens

The partnership with Zhejiang University is the first of its type for the University and for China.

Biotech company raises $42.5m to treat sight loss

Edinburgh researchers are scientific co-founders of a new medical therapeutics company developing treatments for a common cause of blindness.

Climate change scholars begin online studies

Students from countries at high risk from climate change have begun new charity funded scholarships at Edinburgh.

University joins BBC data science partnership

BBC Research & Development has announced a five-year research partnership with eight UK Universities, including Edinburgh, to unlock the potential of data in the media.

Scientists help chart neutron star collision

Edinburgh scientists have taken part in the first detection and analysis of a powerful astronomical event – the merger of two very dense neutron stars.

Insight into our 50-plus lifespan still evolving

It is an evolutionary riddle that has long puzzled scientists ... now the quest to find out why we live beyond 50 is being helped by a new genetic study.

Monitoring microbes keeps Mars missions healthy

A simulated Mars flight has given scientists valuable insights into the likely risks from bacteria on spacecraft.

Brain study reveals how insects make beeline for home

Scientists have discovered how the wiring of bees’ brains helps them plot the most direct route back to their hive.

Nobel award for research pioneers

Two scientists with University links are among the winners of the 2017 Nobel Prizes.

Fossil points to early rise of ancient crocodiles

Artists impression of the Melksham Monster
A newly identified prehistoric marine predator has shed light on the origins of the distant relatives of modern crocodiles.

UK oil and gas reserves may last only a decade

The Scottish and UK oil industries are entering their final decade of production, research suggests.

Edinburgh Physicists join DUNE experiment

Researchers from Edinburgh are taking part in a flagship international experiment to study the properties of fundamental sub-atomic particles, called neutrinos, which could help explain more about how the universe works and why matter exists at all.

DNA discovery could help shed light on rare childhood disorder

New insights into how our cells store and manage DNA during cell division could help point towards the causes of a rare developmental condition.

Mars isolation mission

University of Edinburgh and UK Centre for Astrobiology PhD student Samuel Payler completes NASA’s 8-month long HI-SEAS Mars isolation mission.

Web trial seeks to make light work of business

Engineers from the University are to test their light-enabled internet technology in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands.

Fitness trackers could benefit from better security, study finds

The security of wearable fitness trackers could be improved to better protect users’ personal data, a study suggests.

Doors Open Day 2017

Doors Open Day 2017
The College of Science and Engineering will once again participate in Edinburgh Doors Open Day, a city-wide event coordinated by the Cockburn Association every year.

Improvements to King’s Buildings bus services

The University is rolling out a series of improvements to its bus services between the Central Area and King's Buildings.

UK final beckons for 3 Minute Thesis winner

The winner of the University’s 3 Minute Thesis competition is set to take part in the UK final of the contest.

ERI becomes Edinburgh Innovations

Edinburgh Innovation Logo
The University’s innovation management service was recently renamed Edinburgh Innovations.

UK cyber security head sees cutting-edge research

The head of the UK’s national organisation for cyber security has visited the University to learn first-hand about active research in the field.

Parasite insight may help curb sleeping sickness

Trypanosoma Brucei Parasite
New insight into sleeping sickness suggests communication between parasites that cause infection could affect the severity and spread of the disease.

Yellow Pencil underlines students’ success

Yellow Pencil underlines students’ success
A team of of Design Informatics students have won a coveted design award.

Forgotten pioneer’s Forth crossing dream realised after 200 years

It was to prove a bridge too far for engineers 200 years ago … but now a little-known Scot’s vision of a Forth crossing is set to become reality.

Oil and water may mix under extreme pressure

They say that oil and water do not mix … but now scientists have discovered that – under certain circumstances – it may be possible.

Students geared up for Hyperloop final

A team of Edinburgh students is competing in the final of one of the world’s most prestigious engineering competitions.

Wing shape helps swifts glide through storms

They are among nature’s best fliers, spending most of their time in flight … now scientists have shed new light on how swifts can glide with ease, whatever the weather.

Scientists help predict Neptune’s chemical make-up

Scientists have helped solve the mystery of what lies beneath the surface of Neptune – the most distant planet in our solar system.

Scientists rename prehistoric crocodile species

A new species of prehistoric sea crocodile has been identified by scientists.

Galaxies study sheds light on dark matter

A study of distant galaxies has enabled astronomers to make the most accurate measurement to date of the large-scale structure of the universe.

Head of College Professor Lesley Yellowlees to retire

Lesley Yellowlees, the distinguished Professor of Inorganic Electrochemistry, will stand down as Head of College on Friday 28th July after 6 years in the role.

Science events at the year's Edinburgh Fringe

There are a number of science related talks and events at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival which have links with the College of Science and Engineering.

WikiLeaks gave Trump edge in campaign race, Twitter study finds

Criticism of Hillary Clinton over documents posted by WikiLeaks played a key role in her failed US presidential campaign, analysis of social media suggests.

Particle discovery helps solve physics puzzle

Edinburgh scientists have helped identify a new type of particle in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Surface of Mars poses danger to life, tests show

The environment on Mars may be more harmful to Earth-based life forms than previously thought, experiments by Edinburgh scientists have shown.

Social care robots on show for public event

Staff, students and members of the public are invited to see how robots being developed at Edinburgh could help meet future healthcare challenges.

3 Minute Thesis Winner

Two awards for Chemistry postgraduate student.

Crops’ sweet bribes for ants help them bear fruit

Flowering crops such as beans and cotton offer their sweetest nectar to recruit colonising ants.

Piling on pressure solves enduring mystery about metal’s makeup

Scientists have solved a decades-old puzzle about a widely used metal, thanks to extreme pressure experiments and powerful supercomputing.

University & Huawei announce new data lab

Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology solution provider, today announced a partnership with the University of Edinburgh to open a new lab for distributed data management and processing.

Olive oil nutrient linked to processes that prevent cancer in brain

A compound found in olive oil may help to prevent cancer developing in the brain, a study shows.

Science on a Summer’s Evening 2017

On Wednesday 14th June, the College of Science and Engineering presents a special evening of lectures and hands-on science, showcasing exciting research at the University of Edinburgh.

Scientists outline plans to reduce the environmental footprint of Brazilian beef

Julian Hall and PhD student, Rafael de Oliveria Silva from the the School of Mathematics with co-authors from SRUC, the University of York and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation have published a paper on how the country's farmers can meet the rising demands for beef without increasing the amount of farming space used.

Quest for resilient chickpea may aid poor farmers

Scientists are seeking to develop chickpeas that can flourish in dry climates, to help some of the world’s poorest farmers reliably grow the staple crop.

Grant award aims to improve clean water techniques

Dr. Andrea Semiao from the School of Engineering has received £125,000 from EPSRC to support a 15-month project which contributes to the global need for reliable and sustainable provision of clean drinking water.

New research to prevent the spread of deadly fires in informal settlements

A cross-disciplinary research team from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering and School of Political Science have been awarded a £1.4M grant from the Global Challenges Research Fund.

Experts seek to shape bright economic future for North Sea

Businesses and researchers are coming together to identify opportunities for economic development in the North Sea.

Eminent scientists join Royal Society

Four Edinburgh academics have been elected to a prestigious fellowship in recognition of their outstanding contributions to science.

Brilliant Geometry - an interactive exhibition

An free interactive exhibition on the art of mathematical projections being held at Summerhall from May 13th to 4th June 2017.

Chemists awarded trio of Royal prizes

Three Edinburgh scientists have been recognised for the originality and impact of their chemistry research.

Galactic winds slow new star formation

Scientists have created computer simulations of events soon after the Big Bang to better understand how stars today are being formed.

Antarctic study sheds light on central ice sheet

Central parts of Antarctica’s ice sheet have been stable for millions of years, from a time when conditions were considerably warmer than now, research suggests.

Edible insects could cut harmful emissions

Eating insects instead of beef could help tackle climate change by reducing emissions linked to livestock production, research suggests.

College 3 Minute Thesis Competition finalists

The College of Science and Engineering heat of the Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT) was held on Tuesday 25th April.

Hard rocks from Himalaya raise flood risk for millions

Scientists have shown how earthquakes and storms in the Himalaya can increase the impact of deadly floods in one of Earth’s most densely populated areas.

Special status fails to protect forests from illegal tree loss

Protected forests in developing nations are losing large numbers of trees and creating significant carbon emissions, despite their special status.

Research for Emergency Aftershock Response

A multi-disciplinary project involving EPCC, GeoSciences and Concern Worldwide aims to improve emergency decision making in earthquake zones using mobile technology.

Carbon removal studies to inform climate policy

Scientists at the University are to carry out research to inform approaches to tackling climate change.

Ancient stone confirms date of comet strike

Evidence from a historic site appears to confirm the date of a comet strike that killed thousands.

Upgrade helps supercomputer tackle new challenges

Complex scientific problems could be solved by researchers with improved access to supercomputing facilities, following a £2.4 million investment.

Satellite project to track greenhouse gases

Scientists are preparing for the launch of a UK-French satellite that will measure greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, following official endorsement of the project.

New STFC-CDT in Data Intensive Science

STFC funds for a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Data Intensive Science have been awarded to a joint bid from University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow & University of St Andrews.

Academic Excellence Recognised

The Royal Society of Edinburgh announces its 2017 prizewinners including two from the College of Science and Engineering.

Skeletons developed as chemistry of oceans changed, study shows

Skeletons and shells first came into being 550 million years ago as the chemical make-up of seawater changed, a study suggests.

Government backing boosts cyber security research

University research into cyber security and online privacy is to be further developed following government recognition.

Marine energy testing tank sets sights on new horizons

A world-leading marine energy testing facility is to become a fully integrated part of the University of Edinburgh - ensuring its continuation as a global centre of excellence in wave and tidal technologies.

Peter Higgs receives Royal Commission Medal

Professor Emeritus Peter Ware Higgs, Nobel Laureate in Physics 2013, has received the Royal Commission for the 1851 Exhibition Medal for his outstanding contribution to physics.

School of Physics team wins 3rd prize in employability competition

A University of Edinburgh team of physicists came third in the final of the IBM Universities Business Challenge (UBC) Worldwide competition, beating a number of business teams from universities across the UK. 

Insight into cause of brain disorders may aid quest for treatments

Fresh discoveries about a range of neurological disorders may inform the development of new therapies.

Prototype engine being developed to power life on Mars

A prototype engine is being developed by the School of Engineering, in collaboration with Northumbria University, which could be used to harvest energy on the surface of Mars.

Low-carbon business initiative comes to ECCI

The University is to host the Scottish arm of Europe’s largest climate entrepreneurship programme.

New musical theatre show about antimicrobial resistance

A researcher at the University of Edinburgh is to develop a brand new musical for primary schools charting the story of antibiotics and the rise of antimicrobial resistance. 

Edinburgh chemist wins Parliament prize

A University scientist has won a prize in recognition of the excellence of his chemistry research.

Astronauts touch down for science training

European astronauts have arrived in Edinburgh to have training from scientists at the University.

Milestone in bid to build complex organism

Scientists have made significant progress towards recreating a functioning synthetic organism from scratch.

Starter’s guide to supercomputing unveiled

The workings of the world’s most powerful computers are being made clearer for non-experts in a free online course.

Maths workshops add up to a lot of fun

Maths challenges come in all shapes and sizes ... as several hands-on events at Edinburgh have been demonstrating.

New Head of College of Science & Engineering appointed

The University of Edinburgh’s Chair of Applied Logic, Professor Dave Robertson, has been appointed as Head of the College of Science & Engineering.

£100m centre seeks global tech solutions

Scientists at Edinburgh are to help develop cutting edge technologies at a new £100m research centre.

Fifth of food lost to over-eating and waste

Almost 20 per cent of the food made available to consumers is lost through over-eating or waste, a study suggests.

Informatics researchers recognised at International Symposiums

Researchers from the Institute for Computing Systems Architecture at the School of Informatics were recognised at the prestigious co-located International Symposiums on Code Generation and Optimization (CGO) and High-Performance Computer Architecture (HPCA) in Austin, Texas in early February.

Bluebells may fail to flourish as climates warm

Carpets of bluebells have long been a feature of spring woodlands – but the flowers may not be at their best in years to come, research suggests.

Satellite sheds light on Antarctic glaciers

A novel use of satellite data is giving scientists insight into what is going on beneath the surface of ice in West Antarctica.

Dust that formed planets is traced to stars

Scientists have identified the origin of key stardust grains present in the dust cloud from which the planets in our Solar System formed, a study suggests.

Inaugural Lecture - Professor Jonathan Silvertown

On Wednesday 22nd February the School of Biological Sciences extend an invitation to a lecture by Professor Jonathan Silvertown, Chair in Technology Enhanced Science Education.