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A series of images including an otter, bee and sunflower, children interacting with a puffin, wind turbine, and helium

This week marks Earth Day (22 April), an awareness day which focuses the world to consider its impact on the Earth and encourage further investment in our planet.

At Durham we take our duties as a centre for learning, neighbour and employer seriously, and strive to make a positive impact in the world. As we approach Earth Day 2023, here’s how we’re striving to make Earth Day every day at Durham.

Research to empower and inspire

We are a globally outstanding centre of education and research excellence, undertaking research to empower and inspire. From sustainable energy solutions to challenging understanding of the world as we know it, Durham research is helping shape a better future for people and our planet. 

Here are a few recent examples:

  •  A £7.7 million partnership between the universities of Durham, Sheffield, and Hull and energy companies Ørsted and Siemens Gamesa is shaping the future of renewable energy, helping offshore wind turbines become more efficient, reliable, lighter and cheaper.
  • A leading scientist from our Department of Computer Science, Dr Farshad Arvin, is collaborating with researchers from University of Graz, Czech Technical University and Middle East Technical University to build robotic bee replicants that will affect the whole ecosystem.
  • Durham Energy Institute researchers are part of an international team that has identified hidden natural helium gas fields. Their research could avert a global helium supply crisis.

Inspiring the next generation

As a local and global university, our duties as a centre for learning extend way beyond our campus buildings to inspiring the next generation in communities across the world.

This year, we’re proud to have helped more than 5,000 schoolchildren connect with nature. Our MammalWeb project has worked with the British Ecological Society (BES) on its Connecting Schools to Nature project. The project has seen 72 schools across North East England introduced to nature within their own school grounds.

To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023 we invited girls from local schools to visit our Physics Department, to take part in a range of activities and to raise awareness about the important role female scientists play in Physics research.

Enhancing biodiversity

We’ve been ranked 53rd out of 700 universities in the QS World University Rankings for Sustainability and this year we launched our new Biodiversity Strategy.

We are delighted to have been awarded a prestigious Gold Award from the Hedgehog Preservation Society 2022/23, as a Hedgehog Friendly Campus.

A carbon reduction project is also underpinning our development of Boldon House. We’ve been awarded £1.13m to install a range of carbon-reducing measures as part of the refurbishment of this landmark building at Pity Me in Durham City.

Find out more