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On Wednesday 10 January 2024, hundreds of staff, students and members of the public joined us at the University of York for a day of inspirational short talks about the world-leading research happening at York.

Given just 15 minutes each, 16 members of our research community introduced their work to create an engaging exploration of just some of the fascinating research taking place at the University.

Throughout the day we looked at the impact of York research on our lives - daily lives, healthy lives, global lives and future lives. Catch up on these fascinating insights into music and spirituality, vertical farming, Chaucer, artificial intelligence, the future of the pub and much more. Each session included a Q&A panel with the speakers.

Session one - our daily lives

The first session of the day looked at the impact of York research on our daily lives. Our researchers looked at how we can stop the County Lines criminal drug networks destroying more lives. We heard how the University’s Administrative Fairness Lab is reshaping frontline public services provision. A look at music from contemporary artists helped us explore how they're fusing spirituality into their music and how gigs and streaming services have become new sites for spiritual experience. And finally we talked food with a look at how vertical farming can revolutionise our food system.

The session was chaired by Suresh Weerasinghe - Head of Levelling Up and Investments, Aviva.

Session two - our healthy lives

Session two, ‘our healthy lives’, was a look at healthcare, social care, wellbeing and mental health. We looked at how the University's new Centre for Blood Research will improve outcomes for patients with blood cancer. We considered the experience of international students in the UK and the impact on their wellbeing and academic performance. Then we moved to social care and how research from the University of York and the Curiosity Partnership will support better services. And by putting the human centre stage, we explored the often misunderstood condition of schizophrenia.

The session was chaired by James Coe - Senior Partner and Head of Higher Education, Counterculture Partnership LLP.

Session three - our global lives

In session three we explored our global lives. We discovered what we can learn from Chaucer about literary and cultural heritages in the past and now. We considered approaches to controlling mosquito-borne disease including biotechnologies that can re-programme parts of the mosquito’s DNA code to reduce its ability to transmit disease. Our researchers gave us a glimpse into how health economists are enabling high-impact health policies across the world. Then we looked back at the fascinating interplay between samurai warriors, the British Boy Scout movement and campaigns for women’s suffrage at the turn of the 20th century.

This session was chaired by Dr Zeinab Badawi - President of SOAS, University of London.

Session four - our future lives

The final session at YorkTalks 2024 gave us a chance to glimpse into the future and consider what lies ahead. We learnt about co-creating architectural developments with neighbourhood communities - empowering them to come and join in building rather than leading with "build it and they will come". Artificial intelligence is a major topic of discussion and our second talk in this session helped us understand how research at the University is helping to ensure that AI is integrated into healthcare contexts in ways that are positively transformative. The creative industries is a sector where the UK has a globally competitive advantage according to government and we learnt how the University's XR Stories is catalysing that growth. Our final talk of YorkTalks 2024 looked at the British pub and how it is evolving to ensure it not only survives, but flourishes. 

This session was chaired by Sophia Parker - Director of Emerging Futures, Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

PhD Research Spotlight competition

This competition is an opportunity for postgraduate researchers from all disciplines at York to demonstrate the value of their research to non-specialist audiences. This year's winners are:

  • First prize - Sarah Veale, Department of Health Sciences ("It is cheaper to be fat, but what does it cost you?)
  • Second prize - Andrew Sage, School for Business and Society ("Cancelled!)
  • Third prize - Francisca D'Rozario, School of Physics, Engineering and Technology ("DNA: A new strand of data storage")
  • People's choice award - Francisca D'Rozario, School of Physics, Engineering and Technology ("DNA: A new strand of data storage")

Find out more about their research

PhD Spotlight winners (L to R): Andrew Sage, Francisca D'Rozario, Sarah Veale