The University of Birmingham has always had a central role in the life of the West Midlands. We were founded with the purpose of training the city’s – and the world’s – future business leaders, as well as undertaking research that improves lives, societies and industries. Our wealth of global expertise puts us at the forefront of technological, medical and social innovation today.
Key research from the past year
Cancer Research UK launch national Children's Cancer Trials Team in Birmingham
Birmingham will be at the forefront of developments in childhood cancer research thanks to the launch of a new centre, which will co-ordinate clinical trials across the UK. The Cancer Research UK Children’s Clinical Trials Team at the University of Birmingham will play a major role in the development of new treatments for childhood cancers. Clinical trials are essential to develop new treatments for cancer by testing the latest drugs and discovering the best ways to use both new and existing treatments. Currently around 60% of children with cancer are on a trial in the UK and this high level of participation in clinical research has had a major impact on the development of successful treatment strategies. A combination of research and clinical trials has made a huge difference to the number of children surviving cancer. Today, three quarters of children are successfully treated, compared with just a quarter in the 1960s.
Medical research to improve quality of life for
University of Birmingham scientists are carrying out pioneering research that aims to improve care for diabetes patients in south Birmingham where more than 14% of all deaths are related to the condition. Consultants are working with people diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes to evaluate education and support packages, and discover better ways of reaching the community’s diverse social and ethnic groups. The study will measure the benefits for those taking part, determine why others are not taking up the care on offer, and identify how barriers can be overcome to improve patients’ quality of life.
Birmingham Archaeology uncovers the largest hoard of Anglo Saxon gold ever found
Thursday 24 September 2009 marked the announcement of the largest ever discovery of Anglo Saxon gold. The discovery was investigated by Birmingham Archaeology, part of Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity in the College of Arts and Law. The hoard was discovered by Terry Herbert, who was detecting on private farmland with the written consent of the landowner. Following the initial find, Staffordshire County Council invited Alex Jones, Director of Birmingham Archaeology and colleagues to excavate the site. The hoard comprises in excess of 1,500 individual items, consisting mostly of gold, many decorated with precious stones. The find is set to alter our perceptions of Anglo Saxon England and is the equivalent of discovering a new Book of Kells or the Lindisfarne Gospels.
Scientists celebrate first physics results from the Large Hadron Collider
Birmingham physicists played a key role in producing the first results from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is a 27km underground tunnel near Geneva, where scientists are colliding particles to discover what happened a millionth of a second after the Big Bang.
Initially, protons were collided in the LHC at relatively low energies. Physicists from the University of Birmingham were instrumental in analysing these collisions and producing the first results. ‘I’m immensely proud of the team who have worked so hard’, said Dr David Evans, head of the University's ALICE group at the School of Physics and Astronomy. ‘They have been working around the clock at CERN in order to get these results out so quickly.’
The Birmingham group have also designed and built the vital ALICE trigger electronics, which instruct the detector to record data after a collision, making decisions in less than a tenth of a millionth of a second.