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A collage of three images; students performing a show on stage, a student graduating and a researcher using a microscope

We’re a global university and make a major contribution to the economic, cultural and social vibrancy of North East England. This is the second part of a two-part series on ways we’re helping our region to thrive.

1 - Raising aspirations 

We want to ensure more students from the North of England have the aspiration, potential and support to apply to Durham University and succeed with us.    

We spend around £14 million a year on supporting less advantaged students access and thrive at university. One quarter of our UK students come to Durham through one of our widening access schemes.  

We work with 63 secondary schools and further education colleges in the region; run a Foundation programme enabling wider access to university study; and are committed to opening a Durham Mathematics School, a partnership with Durham Sixth Form Centre to offer state-funded A-level courses to Year 12 and Year 13 students who would not otherwise have access to post-16 mathematics education. 

2 - Research 

We conduct innovative and impactful research to transform lives and make a difference, globally and locally.  

Among our scientists, social scientists, business, arts and humanities scholars, we have world-leading authorities in their field. 

Our scientists are working with local authorities and communities to unlock the energy potential of heat in abandoned coal mines.  

Our educationalists are developing ever better teaching methods and supporting local schools and teachers.  

3 - Health and wellbeing    

We believe in the power of sport and activity to bring people and communities together.  

Through our community sport programme, 200 of our students deliver sports activities in local schools and communities and we offer 16,000 hours of practical volunteer support each year.

Our Maiden Castle Sports and Wellbeing Park is open to all and home to many local clubs and teams. Nearly 3,000 visitors use the facility every week. 

4 – Supporting schools  

Our researchers and students love to share their passion with schools and young people.  

A great example is Celebrate Science, our annual three-day science festival. Since the festival began in 2020, over 70,000 people have enjoyed hands-on science fun.  

This year we’re also helping to roll-out a pioneering tutoring model across the region that will see our students tutor pupils in participating schools. 

5 – Visitor and cultural attractions  

We stage many shows and events that help make up Durham’s vibrant cultural scene, which are open to local residents. 

Our students stage over 80 musical shows every year, and we have over 30 theatre companies. At our Sir Thomas Allen Assembly Rooms, we host performances that are open for all to enjoy. 

We also run great visitor attractions that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. 

These include the Oriental Museum, Botanic Garden, Palace Green Library, Durham Castle and Museum of Archaeology.  

A range of events and exhibitions means there’s something for everyone to enjoy throughout the year.  

Find out more  

  • Check out What’s On pages to see upcoming events hosted or supported by the University